Of course, all of you here at Nativity of Mary have been accustomed to having a strong deacon presence among you. For many years this parish has benefited from the ordained service of Deacon Tom Kasbohm and Deacon Jim McLaughlin. Although these two men now both “retired” you never would know it. You still see them around offering their help, with hearts of true servants, however they are needed.
That, in essence, is what a deacon is. Deacons are to minister among us as icons of service. We are to look at them and be reminded that we all are to offer ourselves in service to others in imitation of Christ who came, “not to be served, but to serve” (Mt. 20:28).
I was intrigued recently to hear of a Catholic monastic community in Europe that has found a beautiful way to model our Lord’s call to service. Every two years the monks would appoint from their community one man who would serve as abbot. Then, after his term had expired, that man would return to the ranks of the other monks and another of the monks would be appointed as abbot.
What that must be like! One day you’re head of the community with a prestigious title, sitting in a classy office overlooking the lake, with all power and authority given to you, and the next day you’re relegated to the basement to do laundry and peel potatoes. What a beautiful reminder that God does not measure honor and power as we measure honor and power. God is glorified when, no matter what we are doing, we are doing it in love and in service to others.
Jesus said, “Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant” (Mt. 20:26). We all must strive to be as willing and cheerful as a good deacon. In seminary I often was reminded that before I was ordained a priest I was ordained a deacon – to impress upon my spirit that foremost I must seek to be a servant.
So we pray in thanksgiving for deacons and for the sacred vows that bind us all in love to Christ. We pray for more holy vocations and for all Catholics that they would find joy in a life of service in the Church.
May we open our hearts to the grace that is offered so that Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish can grow strong in love.