FULL TEXT Homily of Pope Francis "...through prayer and the offering of sacrifice for your people, draw from the fullness of Christ's holiness the multiform richness of divine grace." at Episcopal Ordination Mass



St. Peter's Basilica
Sunday, October 17, 2021

 Dear brothers and children,

let us carefully reflect to what high ecclesial responsibility these brothers of ours are promoted.   

Our Lord Jesus Christ sent by the Father to redeem mankind sent in his turn the twelve Apostles, so that, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, they would proclaim the Gospel to all peoples and gathering them under one Shepherd, sanctify them and guide them to salvation. 

(FULL Mass Video below)

In order to perpetuate this apostolic ministry from generation to generation, the Twelve joined collaborators, passing on to them with the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit received from Christ, which conferred the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders. Thus, through the uninterrupted succession of bishops in the living tradition of the Church, this living ministry has been preserved, this primary ministry and the work of the Savior continues and develops up to our times. In the bishop surrounded by his presbyters, our Lord Jesus Christ himself, high priest for ever, is present in your midst.

It is Christ, in fact, who in the ministry of the bishop continues to preach the Gospel of salvation and to sanctify believers, through the sacraments of faith. It is Christ who in the paternity of the bishop increases his body, which is the Church, with new members. It is Christ who in the wisdom and prudence of the bishop guides the people of God on their earthly pilgrimage to eternal happiness.

Therefore, welcome these brothers of ours with joy and gratitude, whom we bishops today associate with the episcopal college with the laying on of hands.

As for you, elected by the Lord, reflect that you have been chosen among men and for men, you have been constituted - not for you, for others - in the things that concern God. "Episcopate" in fact is the name of a service - it is not true episcopate without service -, not of an honor, as the disciples wanted, one to the right, one to the left, since the bishop is more to serve than to dominate, according to the commandment of the Master: "Who is the greatest among you, become like the least. And whoever governs, like one who serves "( Lk 22,26). Serve. And with this service you will safeguard your vocation and you will be authentic shepherds in serving, not in honors, in authority, in power. No, to serve, always to serve.

Proclaim the Word on every occasion: opportune and not opportune. Admonish, rebuke, exhort with magnanimity and doctrine, keep studying. And through prayer and the offering of sacrifice for your people, draw from the fullness of Christ's holiness the multiform richness of divine grace. You will be the guardians of faith, service, charity in the Church and for this we must be close . Think about the closeness it is the most typical trace of God. He himself says it to his people in Deuteronomy: "Which people has their gods as close as you have me?" (cf 4.7). Closeness, with two traces that accompany it: a closeness that is compassion and tenderness. Please, do not leave this closeness, always approach the people, always approach God, approach the brother bishops, approach the priests. These are the four neighborhoods of the bishop. The bishop is a man close to God in prayer. Many times someone can say: “I have so much to do that I cannot pray”. Stop. When the Apostles "invented" deacons, what does Peter say? "And we - the bishops - the prayer and the proclamation of the Word" (cf. Acts6.4). The bishop's first task is to pray - not like a parrot - to pray with the heart, to pray. "I have no time". No! Take away the other things, but praying is the bishop's first task. Closeness to God in prayer. Then, second closeness, closeness to the other bishops. "No, because those are from that party, I am from this party ...". Be bishops! There will be discussions among you, but as brothers, neighbors. Never speak badly of the brother bishops, never. Proximity to the bishops: second closeness, to the episcopal body. Third closeness, closeness to priests. Please do not forget that priests are your closest neighbors. How often do you hear complaints that a priest says: "I called the bishop but the secretary told me that she has a full agenda, that perhaps within thirty days she could receive me ...". This is not good. If you learn that a priest has called you, call him the same day or the day after. And with this he will know that he has a father. Proximity to the priests, and if they don't come, he goes to visit them: close. And fourth closeness, closeness to the holy faithful people of God. What Paul said to Timothy: "Remember your mother, your grandmother ..." (cf.2 Tm 1.5). Do not forget that you have been "taken from the flock", not by an elite who has studied, has many qualifications and has to be a bishop. No, from the flock. Please do not forget these four neighborhoods: closeness to God in prayer, closeness to bishops in the episcopal body, closeness to priests and closeness to the flock. May the Lord make you grow on this path of closeness, in this way you will better imitate the Lord, because he has always been close and is always close to us, and with his closeness which is a compassionate and tender closeness he carries us forward. And may Our Lady keep you.

FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - unofficial Translation - Image Screenshot same