Thursday, June 09, 2011

8th Grade Graduation Homily….

Dear Graduates of St. Paul School,

Today is a special day.  Today is a day many of you have waited for with expectation; a day you have been ready for and a big step forward in your lives. When many of you came to St. Paul’s years ago, it seemed so big; and now for some of you, it seems so
very small indeed.  That’s OK… Your desire to move and explore new horizons, your desire to try something different and raise the bar a little, all of these things mean that St. Paul School has served you well.

Everyone has been telling you that High School is really different and it is.  However, we know that you are ready. You’ve done well here and you have the ability to do well wherever you go. I was so proud of you when the Office of Catholic Schools told me that the Science scores in our Middle School were in the 90% percentile.  Let me tell you, I was never that smart in Middle School. In addition to preparing yourselves intellectually in the classroom and physically in the playground, the parking lot and the basketball court, it is my fervent hope that we have helped you understand that you are special in God’s eyes. God’s love is not dependent on what you say, or how you act, or what you accomplish.  God’s love is unconditional.. He loves you now and He will love you forever, even if in the end you choose not to love Him.

You chose the 1st reading wisely… because it speaks of light, God’s Light.  Let me teach you a little phrase which is very special to me.  Deus lux mea est (God is my light). Let me assure you God’s light will never grow dim; it will be a light which will always be visible somewhere in the distance no matter how far you wander away.  Deus lux mea est. I know people who have been lost for years and years and years, people who have been lost for decades even,
and have finally chosen to look up and follow the light of Christ. If you ever get lost, and I hope you don’t, look up and you will find the light of God’s love in the distance.  I promise.  Follow it home.  Deus lux Mea est.

In the Gospel you chose, we hear the call of the disciples.  They were just normal people; hard working men trying to make ends meet. They were not theologians or scholars of the law; they probably weren’t even as smart as you, yet God chose them to found the Church.  He entrusted them with the power of the Gospel and the salvation of the world. And once they got it, once they understood who Jesus really was and what God needed them to do, (and let me tell you it took them awhile to figure it out), they were so brave.
They were so courageous that they willingly gave their lives for Jesus and the Gospel and for love.  They willingly gave their lives for love. Think about it…Deus lux mea est.

Dear 8th Graders, God has a plan. God has a plan for you.  Each and every one of you is a very important part, an indispensable part in the wonderful puzzle of God’s loving providence. There is nothing more disappointing to spend tons of time putting together a huge puzzle and finding a piece missing. When that happens, everyone who looks at the puzzle and your hard work notices the piece that is missing.

In the next four years of High School, begin to dream, but remember. . . .Deus lux mea est. Find what you like to do.  Try lots of things… make sure that they are all legal, age appropriate, and exciting.  Maybe God will begin to show you where you fit into the puzzle of his divine providence.  Maybe God will show you where he needs you.  Listen carefully when Jesus says come follow me.  He may lead you to be a teacher, a computer programmer, a financial guru, a priest or friar, a religious sister, a doctor or lawyer, a social worker, a counselor or, whatever…..Yes, high school is a time when God begins to let you understand the dreams he has had for you from the beginning of time.

Well Holy ones, it has been a privilege for us to be a part of your lives.  I wish I could have had the chance to get to know you more… the first year in any new assignment is always hard. You have to figure out where all the light switches are.

Dear 8th Graders,  Say your prayers, follow the light, dream your dreams, find your place in God’s plan and
remember to keep us posted on where your dreams take you.  And never forget. . .

Deus lux mea est.
Yes, He is and may He always be.   Amen.

1 comment:

Brian Keaney said...

I don't know why, but just this morning I was thinking about the lsat homily you gave at CUA before graduation. I don't remember many specicfics of what you said, but I do know that the entire thing was about love. That's always stuck with me.

Funny, then, that I should log on this morning and see another graduation homily from you... and one with CUA's motto worked in there. I hope the homily you gave to those 8th graders sticks with them for as long as ours has stuck with me.