Homily for the Installation as Archbishop of Tokyo
St. Mary’s Cathedral September 3, 2000
In the book of Isaiah, we read,
“Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles.” (Isaiah 40:31)
It is from here that I took my bishop’s motto “Those who wait on the Lord” and for today’s Gospel I have again chosen a passage that includes these words.
I believe that what I need most is the virtue of “hope”. As I have been called to a new mission, I shall pray that I may have my strength to trust in God renewed.
We have entered the year 2000, the year of the Grand Jubilee. Let us think about the Jubilee as Isaiah described as “the Acceptable Year of the Lord”, which is also quoted in today’s Gospel.
We are sincerely hoping to make this year according to its true meaning ” the Acceptable Year of the Lord”.
Who is the equivalent to what Isaiah called ” the Poor” in present day Japan? Who are the unfree, the blind and the oppressed?
Our Church is originally the network of Jesus’ disciples who themselves were poor, and walked the road with the poor, but what has become of this reality? We have many serious matters to consider. The kingdom has already come but has not been completed yet.
On the 12 of March this year, the First Sunday of Lent, Our Pope, John PaulⅡoffered the mass of Reconciliation and Conversion, in which he confessed the sins of the church and asked the Lord for forgiveness for these sins. The sins the Church had committed included violation of Fundamental Human Rights and against the dignity of women, the use of force in the name of the truth and so on. This confession is indeed a modest and yet courageous deed. We earnestly hope to follow this model of John PaulⅡ.
At the First National Incentive Convention in Kyoto in 1987, the participants modestly reflected on the present state of Church and expressed their resolution in the following Declaration.
The Resolution is as follows; “We must seriously examine ourselves upon our tendency to be closed in on ourselves. We follow Jesus who although he was God became one of our brothers, and so we shall endeavor to make our Church a community of faith open to all people providing comfort, empowerment and hope.”
Today I will renew this resolution.
I will make every possible endeavor for our Church to grow as a wide-open community especially to those who are left in a weak position in society and to the poor living under pressure. A community that provides comfort, encouragement, power, hope and help.
May I ask everyone to extend your helping hand to achieve the fulfillment of this resolution!
God our Father, please bless our resolution. Always lead and support us with your guidance. I deeply pray for you all that God may grant each of us courage to act upon this resolution.
I pray this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen!