1184 Bishop St, Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: (808) 585-3300 Fax: (808) 521-8428
Roman Catholics

Roman Catholic Church in the state of hawaii

Diocese of Honolulu

Witness to Jesus

About us

About us

Help me find...

Bishop's Homily for the Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Lowering ourselves before the Lord will bring us the highest exaltation.

By Bishop Larry Silva
August 28, 2022

[St. Joseph Church, Hilo (Consecration of Diocesan Hermits: Sister Ursula Kuiee and Sister Avia Montoya)]

Today, Avia and Ursula, you are the center of attention.  This liturgy of consecration we are celebrating here has you as the protagonists, the focal points, the stars.  Of course, we rejoice with you and congratulate you on this day of the fulfillment of your long-awaited dream.  But we know you are here precisely because the Lord has called you, not to be the center of attention from this day forward, but to live a life that is hidden away, obscure, out of sight, and perhaps a bit mysterious to your neighbors and others who know you.  You who have loving families and many friends are today responding to the Lord’s call to humble yourselves before him and witness in a quiet way that nothing in life is more important than building our relationship with the Lord.

You, in a sense, are taking the lowest place at the table of the Lord.  You both have talents and gifts you have used in the past that led you to give public witness to Jesus by being catechists and by reaching out to the poor and the needy.  From today on, you pledge yourselves to continue to use these gifts, but in a very different way, that will probably bring much less glory and honor to yourselves.  Your call to scurry yourselves away from public sight for most of your time seems like such a waste.  But by humbling yourselves in this way as hermits, the Lord himself will exalt you for witnessing to all of us that nothing is more important than knowing, loving and serving the Lord.

We live in a culture that is full of activities, ideas, talking points, blogs, and media posts, in which people even think sharing a photo of what their dinner looks like will bring great edification to their friends.  We have become so accustomed to such discordant discourse, that it is obvious that one group wants a higher place at the table than another.  We live in a world that sometimes believes the only truth is what I want to believe.  In the midst of this world, you silence yourselves, retreat to a cloister, and hide away, not because you are afraid of the world, but because you know that only love of the Lord Jesus can truly transform this world.  Though you will lives as hermits, your witness as such will be powerful.  When we see you at Mass, shopping for groceries, going to doctors’ appointments, or doing the other errands necessary even for hermits, we will remember your witness that lowering ourselves before the Lord will bring us and others the highest exaltation.  Your call to be hermits is, of course, for your own salvation as daughters of God, but never underestimate the power you will have on the outside world through your prayers and your witness of dependence on the Lord.

You will humble yourselves by taking the vow of poverty in a world where we are taught to accumulate as much as we can; and your poverty will be a witness that we really do not need to frenzily acquire everything we want.  You will take a vow of chastity in a world that often thinks one simply cannot live without sexual encounters; and though you have both known the joys and sorrows of married love, you will witness that true happiness is in self-giving.  You will take the vow of obedience in a world that thinks such a concept is demeaning; and you will witness to the fact that if we are truly obedient to God, who speaks to us in the Body of Christ, the Church, we will find true freedom.

In almost every liturgical act of consecration or ordination, the candidate lies prostrate on the floor as we call on the saints of heaven to pray for us.  This is a way of taking the lowest place at the table, but always with an eye toward that highly exalted place we all long for but cannot see, the heavenly kingdom.  This is foolishness in the eyes of much of the world, but it is great wisdom in God’s economy.

Very few people are called to this vocation of hermit that you embrace today, but make no mistake that by freely impoverishing yourselves, you can inspire a much richer life in busy parents, exhausted workers, and anxious worriers.  Your humbling yourselves can exalt others to turn to the Lord, who alone can satisfy all our needs.  And this Lord, who inspires “angels in festal gathering, the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and the spirits of the just made perfect” will inspire many through you as he sprinkles his saving blood upon them.