Monday, October 13, 2014
Homily - "You are precious, and I love you"
Please take out your phones...not to go into your email or text messages, but to go into the App Store. Please download an app called, "Laudate". It's a great Catholic app that contains the Bible, among other things. We wanted to give you pocket Gospels this year, just like Pope Francis handed out at World Youth Day in Rio last year. Unfortunately, they really can't be purchased..guess it was a special deal for the Pope. With this app, though, you have the Bible with you wherever you and your phone go. You should be reading the Bible every day. The saying is, "ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ". Get to know Christ better through the Word.
Speaking of Scripture, we have cards for you that have a verse from Isaiah 43: "you are precious, and I love you" (v. 4). Our campus minister, Julie, and our FOCUS missionaries, SJ, Becca, and Jim, are handing out a card to each of you now. If you're thinking, 'I got this, I know it... Fr Greg is always saying, "you are good and you are loved"', then listen to a story about Fr Larry Richards who is a well-known priest, author, and speaker in the Church. He went on a retreat one time, looking forward to going deep with Scripture. The nun directing his retreat told him to meditate on Isaiah 43:1-5 which says God loves you. He responded by saying, "Sister, I got that. Can you give me something deeper and more advanced?" She insisted on those lines, and he finally agreed. He then spent 4-5 days meditating on God's love for him, and it changed his life. He went to the depths of his heart which rejoiced in being loved by God...who made his heart. So, even if you think you know that God loves you, have this card in clear sight - on your desk or somewhere you will see it - and meditate on the verse this week.
Now, our crew will pass out envelopes which have five of these cards in them. A couple of weeks ago, I spoke about starting a campaign on campus as a result of the “hate preachers’” visit to Kogan plaza. That motivated us to do this. And then, we had yet another tragedy on our campus with the student jumping from Shenkman Hall on Thursday. It’s a miracle that she survived, and we are praying for her recovery. On Friday, we printed out 5,000 of these cards; tonight we launch this campaign of love through you. Please give these cards to five people you know who need to hear the message from God that, “you are precious, and I love you”.
You are essentially sending out invitations. Tonight’s Gospel is a parable of a king who sends out his servants to invite guests to his banquet. It really tells the story between God us over the course of time. God has invited his guests to a banquet which is his kingdom. He has sent out prophets, apostles, and disciples to invite his sons and daughters. You are modern-day apostles. The word “apostle” means “one who is sent”. God is calling you to invite people to receive his love through this campaign.
Please don’t be afraid to give this card to five people who need to read it and think about it. You could save a life. You could save a heart. You could save a soul. The message on this card is real. It is really good. We need to get it our real quick. Many people on this campus – maybe even some of you here tonight – are hearing a different message in their heads every day, maybe even every hour. It’s a message that says, “you are not precious. You are a piece of trash. God doesn’t love you, he is not even there. No one loves you. You are all alone”. These thoughts are garbage. They are not true. They are not real. “You are precious” is real! An “I love you” from God is really good. We need to get this our really quick.
Today, I preached at a couple of different parishes about invitations. I spoke about you, and how effective you have been at inviting other students to good events. Through your invitations, almost twenty students came out yesterday morning in the cold and rain to serve coffee and breakfast to homeless men and women. Through the attractive invitation of a student leader to Wednesday Adoration one week, we had several students every hour come to adore our Lord. The best example, of course, has been narrated many times by Cardinal Wuerl: you have invited other students to Sunday Mass, and our Mass attendance has quadrupled in the past five years. A Pew Research poll found that the number one reason students go to Mass during college is because they were invited by other students. So, your personal invitation is powerful indeed. Please don’t be afraid to invite others on our campus to receive God’s love.
Finally, if this initial invitation leads to another conversation, then great. They might ask where these cards came from, and you can say that you received them at Mass from the GW Catholics. You can invite them to the feast of “rich food and choice wines” that is Holy Mass. You can invite to go to Confession or prayer or Bible study. Invite them through your witness which means tell them of your experiences there, and the peace and joy you have experienced. It is powerful indeed! But, for now, I send you out tonight to give these invitations of God’s love. This the message of Jesus Christ that is real, is really good, and needs to get out real quick: “you are precious, and I love you”.