Bishop’s Letter: Consecrate Us

Feb 3, 2021

Your word, O Lord, is truth:
consecrate us in the truth.

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

After the inauguration of President Biden, I received an email asking my stance on offering Communion to President Biden. The question was not one of true inquiry. The question was couched within a warning: “Depending upon your answer, I may or may not give to your appeal.” Shortly following this email, I received another with a different warning, “Depending upon your answer, I may or may not continue to participate in my parish.” Another email came through, “The people in this parish are not doing what they are supposed to do. I have already left that parish. What are you going to do about this?”

My first response to these emails was to get down on my knees and pray. My prayer was this:
Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name
Thy Kingdom come
Thy Will be done
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us
and lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
I emphasized the words particularly as I prayed.

In the Collect of the Mass for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we pray, “Keep your family safe, O Lord, with unfailing care, that relying solely on the hope of heavenly grace, they may be defended always by your protection.”

I tell you, my sisters and brothers in Christ, that there is nothing in either of these prayers which qualifies those who are called. There is nothing which states, ‘if you do this, then maybe I will do that.’ There is nothing within these prayers which distinguishes who can pray them or who cannot.

God is our shepherd. Each one of us, myself included, are His. “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for” (CCC 27). There is no distinguishing to which person God is speaking or seeking.

It is how we respond to God’s call, “Only in God…” that we find the truth. What does this mean for each one of us? It means that we have Christ within us to share with each other. It means that we are always on call, 24, 7, 365 to deliver God’s presence on earth as it is in heaven. It means that we must look within ourselves and drive out our own demons to draw near to God. Jesus said, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone” (John 8:7).

Jesus spends His public ministry showing us that love does not qualify. Love is unitive with God and is different from what any human being can offer on his or her own. The love Jesus shared on earth showed us the meaning of ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’ Jesus did not qualify His love for us as He gave up His breath on the Cross. He offered us divine love. His qualifier is the Eucharist – to be His body.

I know some of you are still asking, “But what is the answer?” I close with the Prayer after Communion on the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Please pray with me:
O God, who have willed that we be partakers
in the one Bread and the one Chalice,
grant us, we pray, so to live
that, made one in Christ,
we may joyfully bear fruit
for the salvation of the world.
Through Christ our Lord.

Consecrate us in Your truth, O Lord!