Bishop William C. Newman – Retirement Homily

Mass Celebrating Retirement of Bishop William C. Newman, September 21, 2003

My sisters and brothers in Christ!

Let it be known that when a priest or bishop retires from the active priestly ministry, he enters into another phase of his priestly life – highlighted by “administrative downsizing.” He gives up his administrative tasks but retains, as long as he can, his pastoral works.

The retired priests of the Archdiocese of Baltimore offer proud testimony to that fact and I am proud to join them. Recently, in his typical Irish humor (a few generations removed) Bishop Fran Malooly called the retired priests the glue that holds all the scheduled weekend Masses in the Archdiocese together. A bit of a tacky compliment, I would say. (Couldn’t resist.)

Initially I stated that a priest’s retirement is defined partially by “administrative downsizing.” Please note I stressed “administrative downsizing” not “homily downsizing.” Only kidding!

Unfortunately, it seems as though our human nature has a penchant to seek the first place at table. It seems it wants to the “Top Gun,” to be number 1, numero uno. We even manufacture Styrofoam hands with the index finger pointing up signaling we are number one waving it in the face of our competitors. Raven fans do it. Bucs fans to it. Forty-niner fans do it and even the Redskin fans to it boasting about their first two victories of the season.

All this boasting by human nature is what Jesus had to put up with in the gospel today. Jesus must have been completely exasperated with his team of apostles. He could not have been more blunt or forceful in predicting His passion, death and resurrection as He was on this occasion. “The Son of Man,” he said, “is to be handed over to men and they will kill h