The following homily was given by Bishop Michael F.
Burbidge at the Masses he celebrated at each of the seven diocesan deaneries.
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.