By Christopher M. Riggs Bishop Michael O. Jackels said at the Rev. Mr. Ben Green’s ordination to the transitional diaconate that it is easy to see why the first reading is recommended for the occasion. “The call of the tribe of Levi is akin to the call of Ben Green to Holy Orders,” he said during the homily Tuesday evening, Dec. 20, at Holy Cross Church in Hutchinson. The Rev. Mr. Green was ordained at his home parish because the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita is being renovated. “It’s not hard to see the connection: both are called by God and consecrated to assist priests – especially at divine worship,” Bishop Jackels said. The Old Testament also says that the Levite has no other treasure but God, he said. “Like an Old Testament Levite, Ben Green, called to Holy Orders, is consecrated as God’s special possession, committed to live in celibacy as a sign of consecration, to exercise ministry where he is sent as a deacon to benefit the people in his ministry of preaching, assisting at Holy Mass, carrying out works of charity, and praying the Liturgy of Hours.”
Bishop Jackels added that, unfortunately, as result of original sin, being set apart, being placed before others in church and in other activities, and being supported by the tithes of others, can all go to a man’s head, inspire a sense of entitlement, and maybe even lead him to lord over others. “In fact, the Old Testament prophets at times railed against priests and Levites,” he said, “And there is also, you will remember, the Parable of the Good Samaritan: the Levite was expected to be a model of a good neighbor, but instead he avoided the man left for dead at the side of the road.” As a result, Bishop Jackels said, anyone who errs in that manner is in need of correction by Jesus and the church. “For this reason, in the Collect for the ordination of a deacon, we hear the deacon – and by extension priests and bishops as well – being exhorted to be effective in action, gentle in ministry, and constant in prayer,” he said. The Collect is a short prayer before the Epistle in the Mass. Bishop Jackels said, “In the Prayer over the Offerings, the new deacon – and by extension, priests and bishops as well, is reminded of Jesus’ example of service, when he washed the feet of his disciples, praying that, after offering ourselves as a spiritual sacrifice, we may be filled with a spirit of humility and zeal.” He closed by saying that in the gospel Jesus tells his disciples that if they are placed in spiritual authority over others, they should exercise it, not like the priests and Levites exercised their authority, but like Jesus did, “as if a servant, even a slave to others.” The Rev. Mr. Green is the son of Catherine and John Green of Hutchinson and the grandson of William F. and Marian Schmidt of Wichita, and Jack and Betty Green of Leawood. He graduated from Holy Cross School and Trinity Catholic High School in Hutchinson. He has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Benedictine College, Atchison, and is now in his fourth year of theology studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md. Mrs. Green said, “There has been wonderful support from Holy Cross parish for Benjamin’s discernment of his vocation.” She added that her son and his family are grateful for all the prayers and help, especially from the Knights of Columbus, the Reno County Serra Club, and the Altar Society.