Notes for the Homily of the ordination of
Deacon Eric Reynolds to the Priesthood
with The Ontario Old Roman Catholic Church.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
St. Saviours Anglican Church
43 Kimberly Ave.
There are many gifts and callings to be found among the people in this room—there are musicians, carpenters, community workers, therapists, labourers, baristas…there is work that we individually are called to do in the world to make a living, to give something back to our community, to fulfil a dream. In our faith community there are also many callings, many opportunities to serve. The most important is one that every member of the Christian community shares in—the priesthood of all believers—all Christians are called to share the word, to join in acts of radical compassion, to seek out ways of building up the new Jerusalem, the shalom kingdom, in the current moment. We might be a teacher or a carpenter or a poet, but if we are a Christian we are also priests in our own right with responsibilities for our faith and for all within creation. In the priesthood of all believers there are no distinctions of class or gender or race or sexual orientation or nationality or denomination or ability—the work is shared, the responsibility shared, the access to the presence of the divine shared equally and fully.
We are asked to share in the sacrament of ordination to the priesthood today, a formal ministry.
It is a celebration of a call to ordered servanthood—to serve the church and its members. Priests enact the life of the faith in celebration of the Eucharist (Christ’s service; trial; death and resurrection); they are called to specific sacramental duties. Their essential priesthood is that one offered at Pentecost when God pushed aside all human barriers to fill with the burning spirit the lives of all those present and inspired the priesthood of all believers.
The distinct priesthood is that of word and sacrament, but it is no greater than than any ministry and its most important value is to enable the ministry of others. Deacon Eric Reynolds, whose ordination to the priesthood we will be celebrating in a few moments, has responded to a call to service of the faith. It is a persistent call, one that he has not been able to put aside. It is a call to move closer to God, to explore what service to the people of God means, to experiment with finding out the most meaningful way of bringing the good news to life in ever challenging times.
Eric Reynolds, like all of us in ordered ministry, will continue to be imperfect. Eric will not cease to be human. In our sacramental theology, though, Eric will undergo a fundamental change in his being, an ontological change that will forever set him apart. How he will experience this is something only he will comprehend. It likely won’t be a massive transformation in his way of being in the world, but a slow revelation of how he can best be in the world in the presence of, and as witness to, God’s love. It involves the accepting of a burden unique to him, of how he can become more open to God’s use of his skills and talents, of how he can ensure the sacraments of the Church have power and meaning, of how he can learn to be a witness of God’s grace in his life and in the world.
Eric will leave here a newly ordained priest, but he will leave here in the company of a community of priests who share the responsibility to feed hungry, encourage the hopeless, comfort the ill and share the good news. Eric will have taken on the task of sacramental ministry, of ordered ministry, but he will not be the only priest with the commission to serve God and one another leaving St. Saviour’s this afternoon. Today we celebrate his ordination; at all times we will share in his work.