Bishop’s Letter: Carriers of Good News

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation;
announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Who carries the Good News this day?  The local media? Social media?  National news?  My sisters and brothers, the carrier of the Good News is each one of you!  We cannot rely on others to tell our stories of faith.  We must individually and collectively speak the richness of God’s goodness and live so that God’s goodness flourishes upon this earth.  After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the privileges of ancient Israel are now more fully and fittingly applied to the Christian people: “a chosen race” indicating our divine election; “a royal priesthood” to serve and worship God in Christ, so that we continue the priestly functions of Jesus’ life, passion, and resurrection; “a holy nation” reserved for God, a people He claims for His own in virtue of our baptism into His death and resurrection. This transcends all natural and national divisions and unites all of us into one community to glorify the One who led us from the darkness of paganism to the light of faith in Christ. From being “no people” deprived of all mercy, we are the very people of God, the chosen recipients of His mercy.  With such a mighty inheritance, how could we not carry the Good News throughout all our days?

God’s gratuitous love and goodness is available to each one of us since we all have a unique calling.  Yes.  We are imperfect and may falter, but God always calls us back to Him to once again pick up His Cross for the beauty of the earth.  We must remember to prioritize our relationship with God above all things; to take up the Cross and follow Jesus; and to find our life by taking ourselves out of the center of it; out of the center of the world and placing God in our midst.  This is how we live our calling faithfully.  This is how we carry the Good News each day.

Pope Francis has often spoken of the importance of prayer.  Prayer keeps us focused on God and keeps God in the center of our life.  When we think we alone are the good news, then we have faltered.  We need to pray, “Lord, you know me. Change me.”  Pope Francis said when we pray that prayer, “God will give us a new name, which contains the meaning of our entire life, He will change our heart and will offer us the blessing reserved to those who have allowed themselves to be changed by Him.  This is a beautiful invitation to allow ourselves to be changed by God.”

This prayer then becomes our clothing and our clothing shows our faith to the whole world.  Two men, Deacon Adam Marchese and Deacon Thomas Pringle, will be ordained to the priesthood in July.  Because of the COVID19, their Ordination has been delayed.   The Ordination will be held in St. James Cathedral, but the celebration will abide by social distancing and the church will look somewhat empty.  The long list of invitees has been whittled down to a few.  Yet these men are not mourning what their celebration won’t be.  These men are carrying the Good News by the words they speak to the community of faith.  These men are not afraid to live their faith and be the Good News.  They are joyous to be walking in God’s marvelous light.

The other day I was speaking with a friend who was marveling at the world in which we live.  He said that the only way God would be known is if we make Him known to each other by thought, word and deed.  Let us not waste away in our pity for what we do not have or what we have lost.  Instead, let us be the priest, prophet and king for which we are baptized.  May we carry the Good News and create the earth of marvelous light.