Monday, April 29, 2013

Homily - "Christ can make us new!"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily by Fr. Mark Ivany, the guest celebrant at the 7:30 student Mass.  Below is the text from my homily.
“Behold, I make all things new”. I want to talk with you about this tonight in two senses.  The first sense is that Christ makes all things new for us communally.  He is taking us to a new level.  It is unbelievable.  We are on the verge on a capital campaign in which we will have to raise millions of dollars.  The centerpiece of the campaign will be a new Catholic center.  We are about to begin discussions with a Church on campus that would be a perfect Catholic center!  It’s a big property in a highly visible location. We will be asking students to help a good amount with the campaign; it will take a lot of work from all of us!  But, if God wills this, then He will provide.  We have been pursuing this for a long time, and just recently some doors have opened.  We believe that God is opening these doors for us, and will continue to do so.  This will all be for His glory, not ours, as we hear about in tonight’s Gospel.
So, last Tuesday, we had a big crowd at Tuesday dinner (Chick Fil A will do that!), and filmed the first part of the video for the capital campaign.  It was a blast!  Then, we went into discussion after dinner.  Usually, we get 20-30 students for the discussions, sometimes more.  Last week, 50 students packed the place to listen to our panelists.  Four of our men are applying to seminary, so we asked them to tell their stories.  The scene in the discussion was like something out of the Gospel: standing-room-only, people hanging on the every word of each speaker, laughing, crying, etc.  For most of the students there, these are first men they have known to enter seminary.  It was just an incredible night…the greatest night at the Newman Center in my four years.  Someone asked me later that night, ‘what was that tonight?’ I replied, “that was the Holy Spirit”.

The second sense in which Christ makes all things new for us is personally.  One of our young ladies came to talk to me the day after the Tuesday discussion.  She said that she connected with one of the guys who spoke about being an intellectual and knowing about God and the Church, but didn’t know Christ.  Things turned around in his faith life when he came to know Christ.  She said that’s where she is at; she knows about Christ, but she doesn’t know Him.  I told her that’s my specialty; I’m not an intellectual, but I can help you to know Christ.  When we come to know Him, …, everything does become new.
I remember when I first came to know Christ; I was a junior in college.  It was the happiest time in my life.  Last Tuesday was incredible, especially for me as a priest.  But, the happiest time I’ve ever known was at 21.  I remember talking with my buddy in a Church parking lot and just being blown away about how awesome it is to know Christ.  I had gone after many other sources of happiness…many “buzzes”.  The buzz Christ gave me was new.  It lasted!  I call it the “eternal buzz”.  It was new and different.  It was joy!  Joy lasts, pleasure doesn’t.  It was peace.  It was healing.  My father had died four years ago, and Christ began to heal that wound.  I wasn’t look for it, but it came nonetheless.  It was all so new.  It was happiness!

We had “Theology on Tap” the other night (for 21 and over).  On the heels of last week’s Healing Mass, we talked about miracles and healing.  It was another fruitful discussion that people really enjoyed over a couple of beers.  Two students came up to me after the talk and asked to meet about healing.  Each one of us has wounds; Christ can heal them.  He can make us new!
Finally, the common denominator with each of the four men is love for the Eucharist.  Their relationship with Christ took off when they spent more time with Him in daily Mass or in Adoration.  When we get to know Christ, especially in the Eucharist, we are made new.  May we be open to centering our lives on Christ so that we will experience what He says in our own loves, “Behold, I make all things new!”        

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