Saturday, August 23, 2008

Freshman Orientation Mass 2008 Homily Notes

May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts.
You will learn so many things here at Catholic.

You will learn to sing, to heal, to teach, to design.
And to build

You will learn to, to counsel, to inspire.
You will learn about love
and you will learn firsthand
about adult friendships and relationships.

Hopefully you will learn how to be generous people

You will study the wonders of nature
and you will come to understand that
there is indeed a happy harmony of faith and reason.

You don’t have to check your brain at the door
when you come into a church or live your faith
Our faith is indeed reasonable….and reasonable people have faith.

And As you study the wonders of the nature seriously
You will see that your reason, your study, can bring you to faith.

When you will leave here many of you will raise families
And some of you will become priests and religious
and your family will be the church.

In the last 10 years
almost 94 young men and women from CUA
have heard God’s call to religious life or diocesan priesthood and chosen to follow it. Who knows…

Yes, you will have to attend class after class,
read book after book,
write paper after paper,
(don’t copy your papers if you do and we catch you fail the course)

And at the same time you are doing all of this…
Because you are young and can still sleep until 4:00 PM on Sundays
You will explore Washington and all the best it has to offer.

You will laugh until it hurts
and there will be moments during these next four years
when you will say to yourself what could be better than this.

There will also be moments when you would wish you
were any other place on the face of the earth
Especially when you are studying for your dreaded class.

And I will pass you by and say
don’t worry you don’t need statistics
or whatever to get into heaven
and you will laugh

And then you will study again because while you don’t need it for heaven
you do need it to graduate.

Yes you have sooo much to learn here

And that said I want you to understand
that you have already had the most important lesson
of your time here at CUA.

I believe I am convinced that You have already heard the most important lecture of your university experience

If you missed it I’ll repeat it.

““You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

That’s it…
Yep that’s it
That’s the most important lesson a person can learn in life

In those simple words we learn why we were created
and in those words we find the real meaning of our lives.

In those simple words We learn our purpose
Our vocation…. what we are supposed to do with our lives.

In those two simples sentences we learn that we are in a relationship
with everyone around us even if we don’t know them

Those simple words teach us the profound truth that
That God longs for a relationship with us
we learn that we share the same family

Your neighbor is indeed your brother and sisters

That’s it, every book and every class and every paper somehow touches on those two simple sentences.

Everything we do here at Catholic should help you love God and Love your neighbor more.

It is so important holy ones that we ponder those simple words.
There are so many people, good people who just never get it.

There can never be God free moments, in our lives…

The Gospel today challenges us to ask ourselves everyday
Have I loved God today
Have I followed his will

Am I a better person because I had 24 more hours….

Have I given God His rightful place in my heart
Have I loved my neighbor as myself ?

Was I respectful of the kids in my Residence Hall
Was I respectful of the faculty and staff

Did I pick up the pizza boxes in the Residence Hall Lounge
Or even more heroic did I pick up the junk that some dumb kid through all over the hall so that so that the cleaning lady would not have to do it in additional to all her other work.

Was I respectful and loving to her ?

Have I loved….

Pray God the answer is yes

In the first reading we heard about a field of dry bones
Can you imagine a field of dry bones.
Can you imagine a plain covered with just dry bones

I don’t know if there could ever be a place or an image more devoid of hope
Then a field of dry, dead bones

And yet that’s what a life can be without God
Don’t live your life without God

Last year when our Holy Father came to Campus
(He was right in this Church)
He went to the Pryz to give his talk

He didn’t enjoy our fine cuisine there
But gave an inspirational talk there …

His message was simple and direct
Christ is our hope

There were banners all over the place proclaiming this profound truth

Christ can radically transform our world
Christ with our help can transform the world
Christ is our only real hope…

It is very fitting and providential that your very first lesson
At CUA was from this Gospel and at our first mass

I hope We will pray together often over these four years
I hope all of us have listened well and learned

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.

And now the part I cut and paste from year to year….

For those of you who have been given the gift of faith
For those of you who have had an experience of prayer
An experience of God's Presence...

You are welcome here.
We are happy your are here
I am in awe at how our students pray...
At 9:00 PM Mass or the Praise and Worship Adoration

Please share your faith with your friends
But share it humbly.... gently

Never let your faith be tainted by pride or arrogance.
You will never bring a person to Christ by yelling at them or condemning them...

Remember the Church is for sinners that’s why we all get to sit here.
Humility, loving service, prayer are how we can become saints.

Those of you who have been going through the motions.
You know Your Dad get's you up.. for church
No donuts if you don’t go etc.

It's time for you to stand on your own two feet..
Inform yourself and decide...
Decide whether you believe or not

If our faith is real
it is worth 100% not 50 or 20 or 10...
Live it.

Those of you who aren't Cathollic...
You are welcome here...
We can't provide the 12% of our undergraduates who aren't Catholic with worship space or campus ministers in your denomination

However, We will be happy to help you find a place to worship off campus in your faith tradition...

We respect your religious preference and there is no organized plan to
"Convert you"

And if you identify your religious preference to us….
I (We) will gladly Harrange you about to going to your Synagogue...
or your Mosch or your church
just like I (We) do to our Catholics... We are an equal opportunity Harrangers..

If you are non Catholic we are happy you came to Mass...
My advice
Don’t’ sit in the first row
Sit someplace else and simply watch the people in
front of you
Stand when we stand sit when we sit...

When it looks like everyone is getting up for a walk that's when we receive communion. Should you wish you can get into line too

Simply put your arms like this
When you come up to the Extra Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

It will be our privilege to say a brief prayer for you...

Those of you who don't believe in God.
You are welcome here.

Obviously we have some pretty significant differences in the way we look at our lives.... and our world

All of us here in Campus Ministry and Student Life consider ourselves Student Advocates...
and we never check the religious preference or lack there of when a person makes an appointment.

Find us if you need us for anything
If you come to see us we will listen to you and enter into dialog with you

And even if we are still in disagreement when you leave...
It is our hope that we will part friends.

Class of 2012

You can and will do incredible things…

Always Remember your first class at CUA

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Remember It’s going to be on the final Final exam…
I guarantee it.


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