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Baccalaureate Mass Homily

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Since Easter, in the Liturgy we have been making our way through St. John's Gospel and we are now in the section of Jesus' last discourse to his apostles at the Last Supper:

  • John the Evangelist is not telling the details of how the Supper went-Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, etc.
  • But, if you will, he is giving a final summary, a final talk to his Apostles before his Passion/Death/Resurrection and Ascension.

The discourse starts with the words: Do not let your hearts be troubled have faith in God and faith in me, and ends with Jesus' prayer to the Father for the Apostles and all who will come after them: "I have revealed your name [Father] and I will continue to reveal it so that your love for me may live in them, and I may live in them."

I would imagine certain sadness that Jesus in physically leaving pervaded the room but there is a promise that Jesus will continue to live in them and in us and we will live in him and a promise to send us the Holy Spirit as our advocate and guide.

Just as there was certain sadness at Jesus' physical leaving, I would hope that on a different level there is a certain sadness that you are leaving.

I would imagine some of the professors had a little talk with you graduates during your last classes together. Perhaps sharing their hopes and dreams for you or challenging you for the future. With those talks, this homily and this afternoon the President's charge to the graduates and the commencement address there is a final summary, a last talk with you much as Jesus did with his disciples.

Over these past years no matter how long you have been here and whether it was an undergraduate program or a graduate program, you have been on a journey here at SAU in which you have not just been informed, but hopefully formed as well.

  • Think of what you knew intellectually when you came on campus and what you know now
  • Think of the maturity with which you first came on campus and where you are now
  • Think of where you were spiritually and hopefully where you are now.

It happened consciously and unconsciously:

  • In Classes and assignments
  • Through interpersonal relationships and friendships
  • During events and experiences both sad and joyful
  • And in service to others

Consciously or unconsciously:

  • You have also experienced the Father's unconditional love
  • The Spirits guidance
  • And the life of Jesus within you.

No doubt there have been some graces and opportunities missed, but many more that you have accepted.

Jesus' discourse began: Do not let your hearts be troubled, have faith in God and faith in me." They were wonderful words to give us strength and courage. Similarly, you are now prepared for the next chapter in your journey wherever that might take you.

Today we heard: ". . . the Father himself loves you." As any parent, God wants the best for you, and the response to that love is to be the best you can be.

So as you continue your journey of faith, it is certainly our hope and prayer that whatever your encounter with Christ has been, it will be part of an ongoing journey and continuing encounter with Him.

  • That you will ask the Father for the things you need
  • That you will listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit
  • Ask you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

Just as Jesus said in his farewell address that he would remain in them and they in He. I say to you that you will never leave us and the University never really leaves you either.

My congratulations to you, your parents, and my prayers for all of you.