Monday, May 03, 2010

5th Sunday of Easter - homily

“They had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished”. This is true of Paul and Barnabas in the first reading for the incredible work they did in certain areas of the early Church. It is also true of every one of you. I commend you for the work you have done! As you sit on the verge of finals, you’re probably thinking of the school work you’ve done. This is true…you have done stellar work. I see and hear some of the academic work you do and I am regularly impressed by it; but, the work I really commend you on is personal and spiritual. It is really God’s work you do and it is awesome! It truly is the grace of God coming through you and inspiring me, Meg, our guests at Mass and the Newman Center, and other friends. It all starts right here; the fact that you come to Mass every Sunday in college is incredible. I truly believe it is the Eucharist that propels you each week to be the shining examples that you are to those around you. So, in general terms, I commend all of you to the grace of God for the work you have accomplished this year.

Specifically, a small group of GW Catholics has served the poor almost every week this year, led by one of our women. They have served the poor and homeless at Martha’s Table at times when it wasn’t convenient or easy to do. She and her few helpers have done God’s work throughout the year in serving His poor.

One student came to me at the end of last semester and asked if he could start a discussion group with me for several of his friends. So, this semester we started the group at the basement of frat houses and dorms. We’ve met every week and had very good discussions. Many of the students came regularly and seemed to enjoy the group. Almost every one of them had a powerful, individual encounter with Christ in the Eucharist and Confession. It has been powerful stuff! It has not only been me who has commended the guy who started it; the members of the group have. It has really helped them in their faith and how to find happiness in this life. Great job to this man for doing God’s work!

As I understand it, a friend encouraged one of our (now) regulars to become more active at the Newman Center at the beginning of this year. This guy has come on so strongly in his faith, it is unbelievable. He is going to the depths in terms of the Eucharist, prayer, chastity, and living an authentically Catholic life. He is now leading other guys around the Center! Great work for his friend to invite him to be more active in the Newman Center.

A few months ago, we encouraged you all to invite a friend to Mass. Not surprisingly, we have seen a tremendous response. Some of you have brought a full row of friends to Mass. This is so cool and so much fun to watch…you are doing the work of God. You are bringing people to Christ and Christ to people. I am so grateful for your openness to the grace of God this year and hope that it continues next year.

Now, what about this summer? Will you continue to do great work for God? There is a bumper sticker out there that I want you to think about all summer. It says, “If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” I have seen the evidence all year of you all being Christian…of being disciples of Christ. Jesus says in today’s Gospel that the evidence is love: “all will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another”. Will people know this summer that you are Christian? Will they know that you are Catholic? Will you love others this summer? Will you sacrifice for your family members and friends? Will you give yourself to those in need? As Mother Teresa would say, will you do something beautiful for God?

Finally, your love for others and your work for God all starts here with the Eucharist…Sunday Mass…every Sunday, guys. Wherever you go, wherever you vacation, you need to get to Mass every Sunday. You need the Eucharist in order to love one another each week. One suggestion of something beautiful for God: dress nicely to Church. Like, Sunday best. Totally freak out your parents and friends! I know, it will be hot, but it will make it even more beautiful for God. If that’s what you do for God, then it will be something beautiful for Him. You will continue to be commended for the great work you’ve done…for doing something beautiful for God…for loving Him and one another. I love you all and hope that you have a fun, safe, and holy summer. May each and every one of you know that God loves you this day, this week, and every day this summer.

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