On Saturday, December 3, the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, our new Archbishop of Newark, gave his farewell homily to the people of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Here are some highlights of his homily:
- The last line of St. Mark’s Gospel doesn’t say, “If you have some spare time, would you mind going out to preach the Good News?” . . . . St. Francis Xavier wrote, “many, many people here are not becoming Christians for one reason only, there’s nobody to make them Christians.” . . . . St. Paul says “woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.” It doesn’t sound to me like Francis Xavier and Paul made a cool calculation about how their lives should go. The word “volunteers” does not quite describe them. What would we call them? Witnesses.
- We are God's witnesses.” We are not meant to be God's volunteers or God's teachers. We are meant to be God's witnesses.
- Jesus came to draw people together and to form a new community no longer based solely on bloodlines, race or nation, but on discipleship. Jesus came to form a family of faith.
- I believe that modern men and women are very skeptical of the truth. And even more skeptical of those who preach the truth and do not live it out. But they will listen to Christians who practice what they preach.
- We cannot simply teach the truth boldly and expect that everyone will flock to the Church. We must live it out first and foremost before we can become believable and change the hearts of those seduced by the world.
- In this moment of celebration, of sadness, of saying goodbye and faith, we know where we stand and we know who we belong to. Beyond all of the history of confusion and betrayal that surrounds a lot of the church's history, beyond the power games that we still can play in the churches, beyond all the terrible scandals that have lacerated the body of Christ, this one rock-like conviction remains - the conviction that drove the writing of the New Testament. It had nothing to do with conspiracies, opinion polls or the agendas of the powerful. It has everything to do with how the powerless brave risking their lives for the sake of Christ and his peace and who understand the Word of God. They are witnesses.. . . To be a witness for the Church to the world is to choose life and to choose to belong to the Life Giver, Jesus Christ. To Him be glory now and forever. Let the Church say, “Amen.”
Click here to watch and listen to the full homily.
Click here to read about Cardinal Tobin's farewell to the people of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and their farewell to him.