Baccalaureate Mass – May 23, 2016

Bishop John Noonan Homily
Baccalaureate Mass
Bishop Moore Catholic High School
May 23, 2016

We gather together this morning to pray and to thank the Lord for your lives, for the gift that you are to your families and for the gift that you are to the world. We hear in the Gospel today, a man asks Jesus, ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Even in our world today, we all have opinions. Everybody has a right to their opinion. But sometimes we can become too opinionated. We think we are right and the other person is wrong. We become entrenched in our opinions. That is the gospel story today. The young man was so filled with his own opinion and his own possessions that he couldn’t think and even realize that there was another way.

In our world today, we have become very polarized. People are still very entrenched in their ways. Yet we know the value of the Gospel, which constantly reminds us to seek what is the Truth, what is Good, and what is Beautiful. They are defining values to us. But even in our world today, we are held to compromising. There is always sin in life and we are wondering where is the Truth and where is the Good, where is the Beautiful?

Where do we find it? Just like the young man in the Gospel, how do we find it? How do we intend to look for it? Who will inspire us? It is hard sometimes to find someone who will inspire us. There is one person who inspires me. Of course, Jesus Christ, but also the Holy Vicar, Pope Francis. He inspires me with his simplicity and his humility. He not only talks the talk, but he walks the walk. He is not afraid. He challenges people. He doesn’t keep people at a distance. Leaders look to him and ask questions about their leadership and what they need to do.

He inspires people in the joy of the Gospel. Do we see joy in our faith or do we something negative? Oscar Romero said that there is something we need to believe. It is not that we are to obey laws. It not that we are to believe in truths, but there is one thing we must hold on to…and that is somebody loves each and every one of you a great deal. And that person is asking for your love in return. And that person is Jesus Christ. That is the simple story of the Gospel today – Jesus asking for the young man’s love.

Pope Francis, in his second letter to the world, Laudato si’, talks about the environment, creation. It is not about global warming. In a simple conversation, he offers a whole dialog on the world today. He speaks about spirituality, about our relationship with God, the Creator of our world, and what we are essentially to be for the rest of the generations. What will we do with this world which He has bestowed upon us? And how do we treat this world? But it is not just about this world, the physical earth. It is also about our brothers and sisters. How do we treat one another? How is our relationship with them? And how do we above all, treat our relationship with God?

Recently he released a document about the family, a beautiful document, Amoris laetitia. It talks about what it means to have a family and what a family means to us. It is our first school where we learn to say please, to say thank you, to say I am sorry.

Pope Francis is an inspiration to all of us. I saw him when he came to the United States recently. When he addressed Congress, he picked out four Americans who he felt were important to us, who should inspire us. The first one was Abraham Lincoln, the defender, the safeguard of liberty, who in his life struggled to make sure that under God, freedom existed for all people.

He talked about Martin Luther King, the man who had a dream that one day we could all live together in peace and justice. And he spoke about a lady, Dorothy Day, about whom most of you are not familiar.
Dorothy Day was a young lady who grew up in the early 1900s. She was a newspaper reporter. She had a conversion experience. She was the founder of the Catholic Workers Movement. She was a social activist who had a passion for justice and above all was always there for the oppressed. During the Great Depression, she was among those who started a food kitchen in New York to make sure those who were out of work received a decent meal.

And finally he gave us the example of Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O. You may not know who Thomas Merton is. He was a Trappist monk, a wonderful, inspiring man, a light of Christ, a guide who wrote about spirituality and social justice.

Today, I say to you, the graduates of the class of 2016, as you go through life, be inspired, be inspired by greatness. And realize that you all seek the Truth, the Good and the Beautiful. For it is in that inspiration you seek and in those graces you bring, above all, Christ to others.