Below is the text of the second part of my Farewell Letter Homily, preached at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church the weekend of January 12/13, 2013.

Dear brothers and sisters
Of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church:
In the first part of my farewell letter to you,
I recalled that we have all been given a great gift:
The gift of faith. And I prayed that you might use that gift
To become the light of Christ in the world.
To be that light, we must become holy –
As the Lord says in Scripture: “Be holy because I am holy.”
Holiness must be the goal of our lives
As followers of Christ: It means being whole in everything we are,
So that there is no division
Between what we say and what we do;
So that the faith we profess
Is put into action through the lives we lead;
So that the love we have received from God
Is returned in the love we show to both God and neighbor.
This, then, is my final charge to you:
Be holy, just as the Lord our God is holy.
 
Be holy in the way you show hospitality,
When you welcome fellow human beings as you welcome Christ,
When you show as much love to strangers as you do to friends;
for in doing so, some have unknowingly entertained angels.
So be holy in showing hospitality.
 
Be holy through your life of prayer,
Seek out times of silence
When the noises of this world can give way
To the tiny whispering sound
That is the voice of God.
For it is in silence that we can hear
The plans God has in store for us.
Be holy in prayer and silence.
 
Be holy in the way you proclaim God’s word,
Whether it is convenient or inconvenient.
Learn the truth through Scripture and the Church,
And lovingly share that truth with everyone you encounter.
Because the love of God, and the truth of the Gospel,
Is not just for us – it is for the whole world.
But who can call on the name of the Lord unless they believe;
And who can believe unless they have heard;
And who can hear unless there is someone to preach?
So you must proclaim the gospel yourselves,
In words and in actions,
And also work to call forth ministers of the Church,
Priests and deacons and religious,
To guide and shepherd God’s people
And to help us all listen to God’s word.
Be holy in proclaiming the gospel.
 
Be holy, brothers and sisters, in the way you live,
So that every action is done with love,
A self-less love, a God-like love,
Which strives to make others happy,
Which puts the needs of others before your own,
Which replaces pride with humility
And envy with generosity.
Let your love be sincere;
Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good;
Love one another with mutual affection;
Anticipate one another in showing honor.
If possible, live at peace with all.
Our world today is often filled with hatred and fear,
With self-centeredness and isolation.
But faith and fear cannot occupy the same space.
And, in the end, love always wins.
Be holy in showing love.
 
Be holy in your celebration of the sacraments,
Especially the Holy Eucharist.
For I have continued to hand on to you what I have received,
That on the night before he died, Jesus took bread,
Gave thanks, broke it, and said: “This is my body.” In the same way, he took the chalice and said: “This is my blood;
Do this in remembrance of me.”
As often as you receive the Body and Blood of Christ,
You proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
There is nothing we do as a community of faith
That is more important than the celebration of the Eucharist.
If you continue to make the Eucharist the center of your lives
As individuals and as a parish,
Then the love of God will transform this community
In ways that we cannot imagine.
Be holy in your celebration of the sacraments.
 
Finally, brothers and sisters,
be holy in welcoming your new pastor.
Archbishop Tobin is sending you a good priest, a holy priest,
In Fr. Eric Johnson, a co-worker of mine in the Church.
He will continue the work of the Lord,
Just as I hope that I have done here.
Open your hearts to him, as you have opened them to me;
Love him, as you have loved me;
Nurture him, as you have nurtured me;
And pray for us both,
That the name of the Lord may be glorified
In our lives and in our ministry.
 
“Be holy,” says the Lord, “because I am holy.”
May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy
and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that the peace of God which surpasses all understanding
may keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
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