Saturday, February 3, 2018

How excellent is he?

It has been three weeks since our new bishop has been installed. One of the first things we were told was that he wanted to return to the traditional form of address His/Your Excellency. Frankly, I have been shocked at the immediate,visceral and negative reaction of some people, often voiced as ,”Who does he think he is?”  It caused me to stop and reflected on all of our titles. 

I realized that our forms of address in the Church are as much statements of hope as they are statements of fact. They remind us of who we are striving to be. Every time someone says “Good Morning, Father,”  I am reminded of all the things I am called to be, regardless of how I may feel at that moment. I am reminded of relationship. 

Yes, we could just say “bishop”, but that word describes a function. Bishop is the Greek word for overseer. “Excellency” reminds the bishop that there is an even greater expectation. Some says, “Does he think he’s better than the rest of us?” My response would be:”I hope so.”  

Think for a minute about how the average Christian or even the so-called “Good Christian” behaves. I pray he strives to be better than that. I pray that he strive for excellence in living the Christian life. 

Yes, he is called to oversee the diocese but, that is only one aspect of being Bishop in the fullest sense of the word. May Excellency describe all bishops in title and in fact.