Homily given by Bishop Anthony Randazzo
Bishop of Broken Bay
Homily for the Ordination to the Priesthood
Deacons Rogelio Delmonte, Aldrin Valdehueza, Samuel French
Feast of Saint Luke
Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral
18 October 2021
Watch Bishop Anthony's Homily video here
In the Christian Tradition it is agreed that the third Gospel account was written by Saint Luke, whose feast we commemorate today. Tradition also ascribes Antioch in Syria as the birthplace of this physician, come missionary, come evangelist. A follower of Saint Paul, Luke accompanied the great Apostle on his missionary journeys to Philippi, Jerusalem, as well as being Paul’s companion during his second imprisonment in Rome.
Luke did not know Jesus in the flesh, nor was he an eyewitness to the preaching of Christ. His encounter was with the Risen Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit and the testimony of women and men in the early Christian community. Inspired by these witnesses, he penned the Gospel and recorded the Acts of the Apostles.
Saint Luke’s purpose in writing was that we might know the “truth” concerning the faith: the Good News of Jesus Christ, and the movement of the Holy Spirit working in and through the living members of Christ’s Body, the Church (cf. Dei Verbum, 19).
The Roman Martyrology recalls Luke as one “who suffered much for the name of Christ and died filled with the Holy Spirit” (RM 18 October, p.227).
Rogelio, Aldrin and Samuel, the life and work of Saint Luke provides for you a marvellous inspiration for your life and ministry as priests. He sums up the priestly vocation most eloquently in the words of Jesus, “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). By placing the cross of Christ at the centre of your life, you will be sure to begin and end each day with the Lord Jesus, who is the Alpha and Omega, our beginning and our end (cf Rev 1:8).
The prophet Isaiah, whom we have heard this morning, recalls for us the words that Jesus would claim as his own at the beginning of his public ministry, “The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me” (cf Isaiah 61: 1; Luke 4:18). I invite you to make these words your own today as the mark of your priesthood. The Spirit animates you for mission, which will draw you to the heart of the community and urge you to go to the periphery. The Good News that you will proclaim is for the poor and the broken hearted.
Your ministry will be one of joyful proclamation of freedom from sin and all that diminishes the dignity of the human person. As priests you are commissioned in the Spirit to liberate women and men who are incarcerated because of crimes against society and sins against God.
Most importantly, as disciples of the Lord and priests of God the Most High, you will comfort God’s Holy People by accompanying them in the faith, by nourishing them with the sacraments, by preaching and teaching with integrity and fidelity, and by praying for them without ceasing.
Do not be discouraged by the prophets of doom who have no hope in the Good News of Jesus Christ, who reject faith and reason, who propose the culture of death, who abandon the vulnerable, the sick, and the poor.
Your priestly ministry will be to take the lead through dialogue with the world. The community of the Church in the 21st century must have humble, faithful, dedicated priests to share in the mission of proclaiming God’s Kingdom – the Truth that God reigns.
The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council remind us that the common vocation for the Christian people is the universal call to holiness (cf Lumen gentium, 40). The holiness of the people must be your criterion of life and pastoral action. In the words of Saint John Paul II, “This means proposing a high standard of ordinary Christian life without giving in to mediocrity” (JPII, Novo Millennio Inuente, 31).
Pastoral action requires renewed efforts, creativity, and joy to be more effective and proactive in meeting people in the Spirit of Christ. Engaging the world in this space will be your life’s work as priests. It must be undertaken carefully with compassion; you must engage this work intelligently and humbly. Never allow your enthusiasm for the Truth of the Gospel to become a burden for others on the journey of faith. My sons, in the words of the Gospel, “let your first words be, ‘Peace to this house’”(Luke 10:5).
Remember too, that this work does not belong to you or me. It is God’s work. As priests, you are ordained to be co-workers – but the work always belongs to God.
Finally, Roger, Aldrin, and Sam, as you enter the Order of the Priesthood, I offer you Saint Luke as your heavenly patron. Saint Paul provides a wonderful insight into the character of the holy Evangelist. When all had abandoned him, he declares, “only Luke is with me”(2Tim 4:11). Luke is steadfast and he is faithful. When the chips are down, he does not run away, or abandon his co-worker, or neglect the community of believers. Instead, he unites himself more closely to the life and mission of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. Let this be your model of priestly life and service. And let the fidelity and mercy of God accompany you.
As you now put on the Priesthood of Christ, may Mary, the Mother of God, intercede for you as you declare yourself ready to follow Jesus her Son through Calvary to glory.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon you. May God keep you strong in faith and generous in love, for the glory of God and for the sake of God’s holy people. Amen