Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated Mass in each of our Deaneries in the early part of 2017. The following is the printed version of the homily he shared with congregants.
Tonight, I wish to speak with you about my new ministry in the Diocese of Arlington by referencing briefly my episcopal motto and two major points I made in my homily at the recent Installation Mass.
When one is named a bishop, he is asked to select a phrase from Sacred Scripture as a motto. I selected one of my favorites from the prophet Micah: Walk humbly with your God.”
As we move forward as a diocese, we must acknowledge that God is God, we are not. We are privileged to be his servants and must rely totally on his grace and strength. Only then can we be sustained in the work entrusted to us. May we renew that commitment this evening.
As we move forward as a diocese, it is also important that we do not run, but walk serenely, trying our best each day to offer God our very best. Remember, we walk in the company of one another and are called to help each other carry our burdens and to encourage one another. I will be depending, dear friends, on your support and prayers.
In my Installation Mass homily, I emphasized two major points for us to embrace as we seek to build upon the great work done that has been accomplished in our diocese: be grateful; be faithful.
There is a famous saying: A grateful heart silences a complaining voice. How easy it is to think about what is lacking in life; what is wrong in life instead of focusing on God’s many gifts and blessings that surround us each day including the gift of life itself, the gift of faith, and the many special people the Lord has placed in our lives. Please know how grateful I am that the Lord has sent me to serve in this faithful and vibrant diocese with you, my dear brother priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful. How blessed we are to be the ones at this moment in time to work together in building up this local church here in the Diocese of Arlington. May we be grateful for this privilege and express thanks daily for the blessings that are ours.
In addition to being grateful, we are called to be faithful. In my installation homily, I referred to the witness of our patron, St. Thomas More, whose example we are called to imitate now and forevermore. He knew that he was God’s Servant first and would not compromise the truth nor the faith he professed. In this day and age in such a secular world, our faithfulness to the Gospel is needed more than ever, especially as we protect the sacredness of all human life and the dignity of each person; uphold the sanctity of marriage as Jesus taught and the gift of family life; and remain steadfast to the moral convictions and beliefs that are dear to us. It will not always be easy. Yet, it is always possible with the strength that comes from God. That is why it is so important that we stay close to him as men and women who pray fervently; who allow his Word to enlighten us and His Sacraments especially the Holy Eucharist to sustain us.
Strengthened tonight with the Body and Blood of Christ, may we go forth with renewed commitments to be grateful for the Lord’s many blessing; to be faithful to his Gospel and to walk together as brothers and sisters in Christ and always humbly with our God.