venerdì, gennaio 24, 2014

 

Mar Louis Sako: Homily for the ordination of the three new Bishops of the Chaldean Church

By Baghdadhope*

The ordination ceremony of three new bishops of the Chaldean church is taking place in these moments in St. Joseph's cathedral in Baghdad.
The names of the  Bishops are:

Monsignor Saad Sirop Hanna, auxiliary bishop of Baghdad
Monsignor Yousif Toma, Archbishop of Kirkuk
Monsignor
Habib Alnaufali, Archbishop of Basra

The ceremony is celebrated by Mar Louis
Raphael I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans. Baghdadhope publishes the full text of his homily:


Homily of  Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael I Sako for the consecration of the new Bishops

1. We thank God for the grace bestowed on our church today through the consecration of three new Bishops: Joseph, Habib and Saad. They are a sign of hope and strength. Let us pray for them.

2. A bishop is like John the Baptist in serving Christ and his brothers. The Bible placed on his back as he lies on the ground is a clear sign of his emptying himself (Ph. 2/7) to be filled with the Word of God and to carry it to others. This kenosis will transfer his features day after day to the image of Christ.

3. A bishop is called to offer a special and generous care to his flock even if it could cost him his own life as Jesus the Good Shepherd!  Being Bishop is a call not a career or a privilege. A deep faith and hard work are required to let people see through him "the Salvation of God" (Luke 3/6).

4. The dignity of the bishop is in his service and dedication, not in his authority. Jesus the Good Shepherd says:" let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant(Luke 22 / 26), and "the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve" (Matthew 20/28) , it's a Paschal mystery – a mystical experience that he  should live with joy.

5. The Bishop life after the consecration is not more his, it is for his flock. His ring symbolizes his engagement, such as in marriage. So he has to stay with the faithful, to serve them with enthusiasm and generosity. He has to look after his diocese’s members, and listen to them as a father, a brother, a pastor and an educator. To open his heart to all without exception especially the poor, the needy and the oppressed, to welcome them and give hope to them especially in this difficult time. His ministry will shine when he practices it in deeds every day.

6. The Bishop in the Eastern Church tradition is called Hassia, which means carrying forgiveness and compassion, not holding the stick. He has to overcome any difficulties and tensions through his meekness, humility, outstretching his hand and welcoming.

 7. Dear brothers: Joseph, Habib and Saad, the Holy Spirit chose you to serve the Church - the communities assigned to you in Kirkuk, Basra and Baghdad.  Your consecration occurred in commemoration of the four Evangelists according to the Chaldean liturgical calendar. So read it like the sign of times and constantly proclaim the Word of God without fears. Be near to your faithful through prayer, education, and ensure their follow-up. You are the successors of the apostles. This is a big responsibility!

8. Be transparent in everything to let your faces show what is in your hearts. Transparency is an Evangelical feature.  Saint Paul says: "for everything that becomes visible is light" (Eph 5/13). You should not forget that you are members of the Episcopal Synod where each of you should work to grow the church’s unity and communion.

9. Do not use your position  for your interest or for the benefit of your family or your friends. Love all, especially in your dioceses: priests, deacons, monks, nuns and consecrated men and women. Respect them and take care of them because they are precious, follow and direct them as a father does with his children. Through your example and dealing you can easily attract new vocations for the church. Encourage the faithful to commit themselves to the Apostolic work and to cooperate with their fellow citizens in spreading the culture of dialogue, reconciliation, justice and peace.

10. We all realize that the bishop's path is not scattered of flowers, but with the grace of God and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit we do what is possible as St John the Baptist "to prepare a  people  fit  for  the Lord" ( Luke 1/17).

11. Sisters and Brothers, this week we pray for the Christian unity. In this ecumenical celebration where are present the representatives of all the churches, let us pray and work together in order to achieve this goal for which Jesus prayed. I also invite everyone to pray for peace in our country and in Syria. It's time to meet for a courageous dialogue and for reconciliation.

12. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks and gratitude to His Holiness Pope Francis, who approved the decisions of the Synod, the first in my Patriarchate. Many thanks to His eminence Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, to his collaborators and to His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Giorgio Lingua. I am thankful for their encouragement and support. Many thanks to the Bishops present at the consecration, to all the ambassadors and the government representatives, to you dear brothers and sisters and to the delegations from Kirkuk and Basra Dioceses.
May Lord bless you all.
 

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