Those are the words of Bishop W. Francis Malooly, in his homily at the ordination of deacons last week in the Diocese of Wilmington.
From his homily:
From the call of Jeremiah, we hear, “I knew you, I dedicated you, I appointed you but we must listen, the Lord surprises us at times.” We must always strive to discern faithfully. The diaconate especially is not about each of you, but about those you serve.
The original deacons allowed the Apostles to more seriously focus on the Word, witness and conversion. This is once again much needed in our own time.
As the reading concludes, Jeremiah is reminded to not be afraid, a constant theme of Blessed John Paul II. Don’t worry either about your inexperience. The Lord will provide and the ministry will be his.
In our second reading from Romans, we hear that Paul tells us so often that there are different gifts, meant for the common good, influenced by the same Spirit — different gifts, common good, same spirit. You bring your own gifts to the Lord’s call and ministry. Use them well. Sacramentally, they will be influenced by the Holy Spirit and they help you to better serve in this special ministry.
In the Gospel are the familiar images of salt and light. You are the salt of the earth. In your ministry as deacons, you will best serve in your interaction and involvement with others. This past week, we celebrated Father Roberto Balducelli’s life, a priest of almost 100 years. He always invited. He asked, he enabled and worked side by side with the parishioners to build the community at St. Anthony, including all the buildings. Work with those you serve.
You are also called to be a light for the world. You are to witness, to be seen, to be recognized as a disciple of Jesus, as one who is committed to continue his work and ministry.
Archbishop [Diarmuid] Martin of Dublin, and primate of Ireland, in an ordination of deacons last May, said, “The deacons we ordain here this morning are called to a particular mission within the church; they are called to witness to Jesus who serves. This is not a mission which is separated from the life of the church.
“Deacons are called, rather, to witness to one of the essential characteristics of the mission of Jesus, to serve. Anyone who is called to ministry in the church is not to be served but to serve. A self-serving church is not the church of Jesus Christ.”