On May 16, Archbishop Gomez delivered the homily at the episcopal ordination of Msgr. Alejandro D. Aclan as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The following is adapted from his homily.
The words of the prophet ring in our ears today:
Before I formed you in the womb
I knew you …
I consecrated you
I appointed you.
You are called — we all are called. God has a passionate love and God has a plan for his creation. There is no one here today — not one of us — who does not have a special purpose in God’s providence.
So, my brother Alex, God has called you in this time and place, in this moment in the Church. Today he consecrates you and appoints you to be a bishop — in a time of renewal and reform in the Church.
It is a time, as we know, with shadows and uncertainty. But it is also a time of bright hope and new possibilities.
My brothers and sisters, Jesus is still building his Church, still building the beautiful city of God — on the rock of St. Peter and the 12 foundations of the apostles.
We are witnessing that today in this episcopal ordination.
Today, a living stone is being built upon this great foundation. Christ Jesus is calling to himself a new successor of the apostles. He is building up his body, as St. Paul tells us in the second reading.
My brother, Jesus reminds you today in the Gospel that as a bishop — you are not a “lord,” but a servant. You are not a “master,” but a father.
As a bishop, you need to let Jesus be your only teacher.
Be with him to adore him and gaze on him in the Eucharist. Talk to him, make time every day to study his words and his actions in the Gospel. St. Thomas Aquinas used to say, “Every action of Christ serves as instruction for us.”
This is especially true for a bishop.
My brother, I pray that you will be drawn every day, ever deeper into the heart of Jesus — so that his heart beats in yours. So that you live your life as he did — not for yourself but for others. For the glory of God and the salvation of your brothers and sisters.
You must use the power that Jesus gives you, as Jesus used his own power — in humility and loving service.
“The Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
He speaks those words to you today, my brother.
And today he sends you out, just as he sent out his first apostles. He sends you out to continue his mission — to make this world his kingdom; to call our brothers and sisters to walk in his footsteps.
And Jesus goes with you on this mission. His Spirit is still speaking to the Church. And we have his promise, the gates of hell, the power of death — will never prevail against us.
This time in the Church — this time of renewal — is a call for every one of us to return to Jesus. It is a call to continue the conversion of our hearts.
At another time of reform in the Church, St. Charles Borromeo told his bishops, “This is indeed the task: to seek the things which are of God, not our own. This is the ministry of the pastor.”
This is still the task, still the ministry of the pastor. The Church does not belong to any of us. The Church belongs to God. And his plan is still in play. We need to seek the things of God. His will. Not our will.
Christ can renew us. Christ will renew us. We only need to open our hearts to his mercy. And only when we have opened our hearts to him, can we open our mouths to proclaim him.
So, let us remember the words of the prophet we heard today.
To whomever I send you — go;
whatever I command you — speak;
And do not be afraid — for I am with you to deliver you.
God speaks these words today in a special way to you, Bishop-elect Alex.
But he also speaks these words to us, my brothers and sisters — to everyone in the Church at this moment in time.
Let us bring Jesus into this world — wherever he sends us. And let us speak his words of hope and love. And let us take courage — and know that God goes with us.
And may our Blessed Mother Mary watch over you my dear brother as you start your new ministry among us. And may she be mother to all of us, leading us to her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
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