Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Homily - "Think as God thinks"

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Father Greg, the chaplain of the GW Newman Center which is the Catholic student center on campus.  We do a lot of fun stuff like the Opening BBQ tomorrow (Sept. 1), tons of free food, retreats, etc.  Obviously, we do some serious stuff, too.  One of our main objectives comes from the language of Jesus in the Gospel: "think as God thinks".  He admonishes Peter for thinking as human beings think, not as God thinks.  St Paul encourages us similarly to "not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind".  Many GW Catholics have experienced a renewal of their minds because they start to think as God thinks.

One example would be in the area of self-worth or value.  To think as human beings do would mean to think that your worth is in what you do; you have to prove your worth. College students at every campus prove their worth, but it's especially true at GW.  I've never seen such busy people with all of your classes, internships, jobs, etc.  Then, worth is based on success in career with salary, status, awards, etc.  Success is good, of course, and hard work, too.  But, the mindset of this age is that our worth is based on what we do.

To think as God thinks means to think that your worth is in who you are.  You are a child of God! You are his son or daughter.  That is awesome! And, because He created you, you are good, cuz "God don't make junk".  You reflect His image - His beauty, intellect, etc.  You have tremendous worth because of who you are.  And, you are unique.  At the Newman Center, we celebrate your uniqueness! You are uniquely you( there is no one else in the world like you.  There is one thing that makes you you.  That doesn't always show up on a resume or grade report.

We know all of this, but tend to lose sight of it.  I know this because I've seen it play out at almost every funeral I've celebrated as a priest.  During eulogies, what's said is not what the person did in his or her life.  It's who he or she was.  Even with some very successful people who have died, the focus is always on who they were.

So, when St Paul refers to the "renewal of your mind", he means get back to the way you know is right. It's like being in the ocean and getting pulled by the undercurrent.  You don't realize how much you're getting pulled until you stand up, and then try to get back to where you were.  The college culture is the undercurrent and can take you away from who you are.  We are here to bring you back to who you are if you get pulled away.  We will remind you of your identity and worth as a child of God, and that He and we love you for who you are, not what you do.

Finally, the biggest source of renewal among GW Catholics in the past five years has been with the Eucharist.  We talk about the Real Presence all the time, that it really is the Body and Blood of Christ.  It's really Him! Students have responded: Sunday Mass attendance has quadrupled in the past five years, thanks be to God.  Also, more students are coming to daily Mass and Adoration than ever before.  They come to "put on the mind of Christ" and to think as God thinks.  When we ask God what He thinks of us, He often sums it up in one phrase: "you are good and you are loved".

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