My dear parents and friends of the graduates,
The Gospel this evening presents us with a self-portrait of Jesus. In it we see the details of a solid Catholic life, through it we find our Way to heaven. The attributes represented here are poverty of spirit, compassion, meekness, righteousness, mercy, chastity, and making peace. These characteristics of Jesus are given to us within the context of their consequences: you may be persecuted for the sake of righteousness; people may insult you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely). Nevertheless, the Gospel says, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
We have re-built a Catholic School for the purpose of re-enforcing young Catholic families who want to lives these virtues in the workplaces, in their homes, and in their communities. Our success does not depend on grades or national averages. Our success is measured by the discipleship laid out for us in the Beatitudes, which we teach, by word and action. A Catholic School means nothing in the end if we have not learned together how to reflect the face of Jesus to others.
This Catholic School is graduating its first class. We are indeed proud of this moment when as members of different parish communities, we can finally realize the good ends for which we worked and sacrificed. And so, it is time to send our students forth to other schools so they can continue, with God’s help and our own, to mature in faith. It is an important moment in the life of your family, in the life of our parishes and in the life of the Church. We are indeed proud of the work we together have accomplished.
My dear graduates,
You will receive much deserved awards today and we are all proud of your accomplishments. But, we cannot deny for a moment that ‘the why’ you are here, is to learn to be Catholic and that the ultimate reward is given you here at the Altar. While these awards will honor a part of your life and serve as a building block for years to come, the Eucharist will always be the center and core of your eternal life.
The future can be scary, the unknown always is, but it can also be exciting! You can be confident in the future if you continue to grow in your faith and ‘do everything for the love of Jesus.’
After the Beatitudes, there is a little more Jesus has to say to us. What to do when we have worked hard to imitate the life Jesus. “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world. Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
I was reading my Haiku last night and came upon this one, which I would like to share with you:
“Where has time gone?
You will be missed, but you are off
to do great things.”
Goodbye, then friends, dream well, work hard to model your life after Jesus’ and be at peace with your destiny, to be for God a light that will lead others to Christ.