18th Sunday OT (A)
August 4, 2017
Called to be a worthy instrument
August 4, 2017

Leadership by example

The ordination of the new Bishop of St George’s is a time of hope and change for Grenada and he must “make himself small” to hear the voice of God.

“This is a time for listening to what the Spirit is saying to the Church.  ‘In order to hear the voice of the Lord’, Pope Francis said on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart in June this year, ‘you need to make yourself small’,” said Metropolitan Archbishop Robert  Rivas of Castries as he gave the homily at the ordination on July 29 in Grenada.

He cited the first Reading from the book of Deuteronomy (7:7–8), Moses said to the people: “The Lord set his heart on you and chose you not because you were the most numerous of all peoples – for indeed you were the smallest of all – but because he loved  you…”.

Archbishop Rivas said Pope Francis has emphasised during his pontificate that being appointed a cardinal in the Church was not an honour but a call to serve; and being called to be a bishop was not a promotion but a call to service.

“This is an awesome call: for it is God who chooses, calls and joins himself to the one called. Today I say to my brother Bishop elect, Clyde, ‘make yourself small’,” Archbishop Rivas said.

The words of the First Reading are also for the entire Church in Grenada as every Catholic Christian was also called to make himself small in the eyes of God, to hear the voice of God. Archbishop Rivas said to become small we must empty ourselves and become humble like Christ who said, ‘learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart’ (Mt 11: 29).

Bishop Harvey’s appointment has evoked “great expectations” among the people.

Identifying some of these Archbishop Rivas said the clergy will be looking to him for support, direction and leadership; the religious, for affirmation and inspiration; and laity, for leadership by example.

The laity anticipate a leadership that will give them confidence in their faith, that is consultative, attentive to their voice and empowering them to act with greater co-responsibility for the growth and progress of the Church. Archbishop Rivas told Bishop Harvey that his kindness and care for priests in the Archdiocese of Port of Spain when he was the Vicar for Clergy, “goes before you”.

The triple role of the bishop in the diocese is to teach, to sanctify and to lead.  To fulfill these roles he listed the qualities which need to be cultivated, including: a listening and attentive ear, exemplified in openness, dialogue and consultation; a gentle and compassionate disposition, exemplified by patience, understanding and affirmation. On the other hand, Archbishop Rivas said the bishop in his ministry must avoid arrogance, being dictatorial or mundane.

While being a bishop is “serious business”, the Archbishop observed Bishop Harvey seems to be “cut out for this a long time ago”. He thanked God that it had come to fruition.

During his homily Archbishop Rivas paused and invited the Bishop-elect to come forward so the congregation could pray for him. “Call down the Holy Spirit to rest on him” he said. “Let his heart be filled with a gift of gladness so his life will be a service of joy so he will be an exemplary bishop”. – LPG