Admonitory Lecture for Ordination Rite of Salesian Priests
March 1, 2003 At Shimoigusa Catholic Church
Isaiah 61:1-3, 10-11
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13
Yoshiki Peter Sekiya,
Hiroshi Maksymilian Kolbe Tamura,
As a Bishop I would like to make a speech for this rite of Ordination.
In today’s reading, Jesus declares, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12)” Jesus is also saying “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-16)”
I will say to you all that the mission of our church is Evangelization. Evangelization is the mission for all the Christians, but particularly important for Bishops and Priests.
The meaning of Evangelization is, I will say, to spread the love of God. To spread and live out the love of god is the very action of Evangelization.
If our community isn’t living out the love of God, no matter how our preaching is eloquent, all the words won’t reach to anyone’s heart and will vanish in the air, but also be punished with resistance and contempt.
Important is how we live out this words of Christ.
The church shall be the network that shares the sign of Christ’s love, consolation, relief, consideration, encouragement, and cooperation. To a certain degree, we are already achieving our purpose of working as the network, but are still on our way. Will people find salvation seeing us? Will they feel like joining our community?
Our church is holy, and at the same time it is “the pilgrim church” and “the church of sinners”. We all have to admit that we are none other than the one who need to be forgiven and relieved.
This fact is particularly important to bishops and priests. We must keep the fact in our mind that we are the one, who spread and declare God’s salvation and relief, but also the one that always need to be save and relieved as long as we live.
Mr. Sekiya, Mr. Tamura,
You are now being ordained as a Salesian Priest and will be assigned to the mission by your Superior. The long road of Religious Life is waiting for you. Sometimes you might confront with difficulties. In that case, above everything, it will be important to trust and consult your superior. It is also good to speak out your matters frankly to your reliable friend. Especially, I ask the two of you who are ordaining as a priest today to help and support each other as your lifelong friend.
Please don’t forget that God sends his grace to the one who suffers with his human weakness.
I am performing this rite of Ordination now, but I don’t know which diocese you are going to work for. Wherever you may go, as priests you will always be the cooperator of the bishop. I ask you to achieve your duty of priesthood by mutual understanding and good contact with the bishop of the diocese you are sent.