Document d'actualité

Homélie de Mgr Bruce Myers lors de son intronisation

Mgr Bruce Myers lors de l'homélie, le 22 avril 2017.
Mgr Bruce Myers lors de l'homélie, le 22 avril 2017.   (Présence/Philippe Vaillancourt)
2017-04-25 20:02 || Québec Québec

Voici le texte de l'homélie prononcée par Mgr Bruce Myers lors de la célébration d'intronisation de son ministère épiscopal, le 22 avril 2017, à la cathédrale anglicane de la Sainte-Trinité, à Québec. Le document est reproduit tel quel, en respectant l'alternance entre le français et l'anglais. L'évangile lu avant l'homélie était Marc 16, 9-15.

I used to be a news reporter, so I’ve got some sympathy for those incredulous disciples we hear about in today’s gospel. I can’t help but wonder if I’d have brought the same level of scepticism as they did to reports of Jesus’ resurrection.

Mary Magdalen talked with the risen Christ outside his empty tomb? It’s pretty unreliable to go with a story that only has one source.

Two other disciples allegedly saw him while they were out walking? Could be fake news.

It’s not until Jesus himself turns up—in the risen flesh—and personally chews the disciples out for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe what others had witnessed that they’re convinced enough to run with the story.

And what a story—a story of light pushing back darkness, power perfected in weakness, hope overcoming fear, love surmounting hate, life redeeming death.

It’s a story so good that, as the disciples Peter and John say in our first reading, “We cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

It’s a story that reached its climax on that first Easter Sunday morning two millennia ago, and we’re still telling it, in every corner of this planet. If ever a story has had legs, or gone viral, it’s this one.

It’s the church’s story. It’s our story.

But like any story that we know well, or have heard many times, we risk becoming blasé about it. How many of us can right now honestly say with Peter and John, “We cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard”?

Maybe it’s because, like those other disciples, our scepticism sometimes crosses the line into the stubbornness and lack of faith for which Jesus upbraids them. Or perhaps, also like them, we’re sometimes so overtaken with mourning and weeping over what we’ve lost, that we fail to see, through our tears, the risen Christ in our midst, or refuse to believe those among us who say they’ve encountered him.

Ça ne serait pas honnête de ma part de me présenter devant vous ce matin et de prétendre que nous n’avons pas perdu beaucoup de choses. Il y a cent ans, le nombre de fidèles anglicans dans notre diocèse était cinq fois plus élevé qu’il ne l’est aujourd’hui. Il y a bien des raisons pour cette décroissance – plusieurs d’entre elles étant des éléments hors de notre contrôle – mais il s’agit néanmoins d’une perte.

Et cela correspond à une tendance lourde au Québec. Reconnue auparavant comme la société la plus manifestement chrétienne, un sondage publié la semaine dernière indique que seulement 62 % des Québécois croient en Dieu, et au surcroît, que moins de la moitié des répondants accorde de l’importance aux croyances religieuses.

La diminution du nombre de fidèles a entraîné la fermeture de certaines églises – souvent très belles et toujours imprégnées de l’histoire des villes et des villages où elles se trouvent et de l’histoire des familles qui y ont vécu pendant plusieurs générations. Et ça aussi, c’est une perte.

It’s natural and healthy to grieve a loss, to mourn and weep as Jesus’ disciples did in the immediate aftermath of his death. But a healthy grief eventually leads to acceptance. We don’t minimize the loss, but in the words of one of the prayers we often say at funerals, we pray “that we do not brood over it so that it overwhelms us and isolates us from others.”

As Christians, we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We grieve in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection, of the risen Christ.

I’ve spent much of the past year travelling the length and breadth of our beautiful, vast, 720,000-square-kilometre diocese. So far I’ve travelled by car, pickup, four-wheeler, train, boat, helicopter, hovercraft, and airplanes of all sizes. From its establishment in 1793, this diocese has always been geographically immense, and its bishops had to become accustomed to long journeys.

Some folks seem impressed by how much of the diocese I’ve been able to visit in my year as coadjutor bishop. But you might be less impressed after hearing what episcopal visitations were like for some of my predecessors, such as our first bishop, Jacob Mountain, whose earthly remains lie beneath us in the cathedral’s crypt.

Recounting his travels in the diocese, Bishop Mountain once wrote to a friend about “the great distance, the uncultivated country, and want of all accommodation between settlements, and the mode of travelling between by both land and water—to pass whole nights, either in an open boat on the river, far from any human habitation, or in the woods devoured by mosquitos—to sleep in barns and water mills—to have no food for weeks […] but such as you can carry already prepared—to cross a series of the most tremendous rapids, to be carried by land in uncouth open carriages exposed to the heat of a scorching sun (not to mention the horrid sickness attending the crossing [of] lakes) […].”

(I try to remember this account of Bishop Mountain’s travels any time I’m tempted to complain about the lack of leg room on my flight or to moan about the Wi-Fi cutting in and out on my train car. I’m also heartened by remembering that I’m exactly the same age as Bishop Mountain was when he began his episcopate, although I’m not sure that I’ll last the 32 years as diocesan bishop that he did.)

C’est un fait que mes voyages à travers notre diocèse s’effectuent dans un confort bien supérieur à celui qu’a connu Monseigneur Mountain. Mais ma mission en tant que treizième évêque de Québec ressemble beaucoup à celle de notre évêque-fondateur : être le pasteur de petites, mais ferventes communautés d’anglicans qui vivent éparpillés sur un grand territoire; prêcher, enseigner et célébrer les sacrements dans tous mes déplacements, et tenter d’encourager nos gens, où qu’ils soient, à voir – et à être – Jésus ressuscité.

Et je vous affirme que je l’ai vu. J’ai rencontré le Christ ressuscité presque partout en parcourant notre diocèse. Permettez-moi de vous raconter un peu ce que j’ai vu et entendu au cours des douze derniers mois.

I’ve recognized the risen Christ in every corner of our diocese. Let me share with you a little bit of what I’ve seen and heard over the last 12 months.

I’ve seen the risen Christ in a garden: All Saints’ Garden on Entry Island, where some members of the Parish of the Magdalen Islands have come together to grow potatoes, build a greenhouse, tend beehives and make honey. “Plant a seed, grow a community” is the parish garden’s motto, and the project is bringing some new life and hope to an isolated community where both have been in short supply.

J’ai vu le Christ ressuscité chez les chrétiens anglicans et syriaques orthodoxes des Cantons-de-l’Est qui travaillent ensemble pour parrainer, accompagner et soutenir les réfugiés qui ont tout laissé derrière eux pour survivre.

I’ve heard the risen Christ in strains of music across the diocese: in angelic motets sung by the cathedral choir in four parts with accompaniment, and in a handful of parishioners making a joyful noise a capella because there’s no organist anymore; in classic choral evensong at St. George’s, Lennoxville, and in singin’ along to Johnny Cash at the Country Gospel Hour at St. Augustine’s in Danville.

J’ai entendu le Christ ressuscité dans les trois langues parlées dans notre diocèse : dans l’anglais de nos ancêtres du Book of Common Prayer et dans l’anglais contemporain du Book of Alternative Services; dans le français de notre Québec bien-aimé; et dans le Naskapi, une langue indigène qui est passée bien près de disparaître mais qui sera préservée à travers la traduction de la Bible.

I’ve seen the risen Christ in courageous congregations across this diocese: in the Gaspé, the Lower North Shore, and the Eastern Townships, stepping out in faith and risking new ways of doing ministry and being the church.

J’ai reconnu le Christ ressuscité dans le ministère pratiqué par tous les baptisés de ce diocèse : nos dévoués prêtres et diacres, dont plusieurs travaillent pour presque rien; et les lecteurs laïcs, marguilliers, secrétaires, trésoriers et tous les autres bénévoles qui travaillent sans relâche dans nos paroisses et dont le dévouement est toujours une leçon d’humilité.

I saw the risen Christ at the foot of this cross, in this cathedral, at the conclusion of an ecumenical Good Friday pilgrimage: embracing and praying with a Roman Catholic Cardinal, a United Church pastor, and a Presbyterian minister—and receiving a foretaste of the full, visible unity to which Christ calls his church.

J’ai vu le Christ ressuscité parmi nos frères et sœurs musulmans de cette ville, dans leurs heures les plus sombres, nous aidant à trouver les façons de racheter l’horreur du 29 janvier dernier.

I’ve seen the risen Christ pretty much everywhere I’ve gone in this diocese—if I look for him. He’s often really easy to find, if you know how to recognize him, in the countless ways God’s kingdom of truth, beauty, faith, hope, love, justice and peace break through into our reality—both in small and great ways.

When the resurrected Jesus confronts the disciples to scold them for their stubbornness and lack of faith, they’re gathered around a table, having a meeting. I wonder if Jesus realized how much time the church he would establish would spend in meetings.

There’s a great New Yorker cartoon that depicts the conclusion of a meeting, with the person at the head of the conference table saying, “I know we didn’t accomplish anything, but that’s what meetings are for.”

Meetings aren’t always a waste of time, of course. Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said of the Anglican Communion, “We are because we meet.” He didn’t mean that Anglicans, like the people in that cartoon, just hold meetings for the sake of holding meetings. Rather he means that an important part of our identity and purpose as people of faith is strengthened by the kind of fellowship—or communion—that comes with meeting face to face.

But the meetings always have to have a larger purpose, a greater goal, an overriding mission. When Jesus disrupts the disciples’ meeting, he gives them that purpose, goal, and mission: “Go,” he says. “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.”

After this liturgy is over, I’ll be joining the other members of our Diocesan Executive Council for… a meeting. I hope that this afternoon—and each time we meet to take counsel for the church in this time and place—that we’ll recognize the risen Christ in our midst, or at least be searching for him. Because he’s here. I’ve seen him.

Et le Christ ressuscité pourra même, de temps en temps, se permettre de perturber nos rencontres diocésaines pour nous rappeler la mission qu’il nous a donnée : «  Allez de par le monde entier, proclamez la Bonne Nouvelle à tous les êtres » -  en particulier ceux qui sont près de nous. Allez à travers le Québec, non pas en gémissant et en pleurant parce que les sondages nous disent que nos voisins n’ont pas la foi autant qu’avant, mais plutôt en agissant comme des témoins de Jésus-Christ – parce que, dans cette ère séculaire, l’exemple de nos vies en tant que disciples de Jésus aura plus de poids que bien des paroles que nous pourrions prononcer au nom du Christ.  

            “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation,” Jesus tells his disciples then and now.

            Go and proclaim the good news of the kingdom.

            Go and teach, baptize, and nurture believers.  

            Go and respond to human need in loving service.

            Go and transform unjust structures of society, challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation.

            Go and strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

Yes, we’ll have our share of meetings. The risen Christ will be in the midst of all of them, and all around us, if we learn to recognize him. And when we do, may we also have the ears to hear and the will to answer his call to us: Go!

Bruce Myers
Évêque anglican de Québec
22 avril 2017


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