TWENTY SEVENTH ORDINARY SUNDAY 2016
Today in the Church calendar we celebrate and honor our Guardian angels. We each have one who watches over us and helps us. Last night my guardian angel appeared to me. I asked him to help me know HOW A HIGH SCHOOL SHOULD BE? He told me: it should have a mission statement and a philosophy which guides the life of the school as a Catholic institution to “provide a nurturing educational environment that transforms lives in Christ, integrating spiritual formation, academic excellence, artistic sensibility and athletic achievement”. In that way the High School will be “a community of faith, hope and love that will witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and prepares the students “for future educational opportunities and service to the Church and to the world”. I said to him: OH! WE HAVE ONE OF THOSE. ITS NAMES IS HOLY TRINITY DIOCESAN HIGH SCHOOL. He said to me: “How right you are. Continue to encourage and support this great Catholic high school that has done so much for so many these past fifty years. Make sure you help them continue on into the future.”
Since I always listen to my guardian angel, I am here today to tell you all: This Bishop and whoever succeeds him commit ourselves to do all we can to encourage all of you to be the best you can be for the sake of the students and for the sake of the future of our Church and our world! And this Bishop asks you today to agree that you will work hard and support one another to keep this school what it is today as well as for future generations as well. DO WE ALL AGREE THAT WE KNOW HOW A HIGH SCHOOL SHOULD BE? WILL YOU ALL COMMIT YOURSELVES WITH ME TO DO ALL WE CAN TO GUARANTEE ITS FUTURE AND THUS COMMIT OURSELVES TO THE FUTURE OF THE NEXT GENERATIONS?
My guardian angel reminded me of something else we all must acknowledge. He said: You know you cannot do it alone; not even with all those good folks here at HT. You do it only if you place God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, at the center of the school, at the center of your lives and live according to the Gospel.
Here is where we turn to the readings of today to make them our own. If we are truly men and women of faith, we know that the last fifty years has had its ups and downs but those who went before us never lost hope. They worked hard. They prayed harder. And they knew the truth of the Prophet today. We live by faith. Faith gives us courage. It gives us hope. It shows us how to love one another. Never abandon the faith we have been given in Jesus Christ. He is the one redeemer of the world. He is the savior of all humankind. His death and resurrection changed and transformed our lives as he poured forth the Holy Spirit to make us into His Church. Here we all belong to Him, to His Church and to one another!
Did you notice what the apostles ask of Jesus in the Gospel:? Increase our faith. That is the right thing to ask from Him, today and every day. And never forget his answer. It’s a promise Jesus makes to you and me: if you have faith the size of a mustard seed…” Faith and trust in God made those who went before us the builders of this school. Your faith is nurtured in this school You then must never let it escape from your hearts but let it always guide your lives. From the moment of your baptism you belonged to the Lord. You became an integral part of his Church, this community of communion. This school is an integral part of the life of this Church on Long Island. Cherish what this school has offered you. Live the faith this school proclaims and pass it on with confidence that believing in Christ and in His Church is the best way anyone can life a full and happy life.
St Paul spent his life preaching the Gospel and founding churches across the Mediterranean. He ordained bishops to lead those Churches. Of them all his favorite was Timothy. Timothy’s mother was Jewish and his father a heathen. Paul baptized Timothy and sent him to Thessaloniki and Corinth to confirm the Christians there in their faith. He did a great job of it. He became the first Bishop of Ephesus. Truth to tell, many say he was not the most competent bishop but he did his best.
So what did Paul do? He wrote at least two letters to him to bolster him up and help him be the good bishop he wanted so much to be. Listen again to what Paul wrote to him. And since I confirmed many of you younger graduates and students, I want to make Paul’s words my words to you:
Stir into flame the gift of God you have through the imposition of my hands. God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power, of love and self control. Do not be ashamed to give testimony to the Lord…Bear your share of the hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God…Take as your norm the sound words you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are ours in Christ Jesus. Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us!
And never forget all that you have been given. Give back to God the homage of your worship and devotion. And he will shower you with his merciful love. His Son will nourish you with His Body and Blood. And the Holy Spirit will dwell in our hearts forever. Your guardian angel will tell you just what mine told me. So today and every day, with all the angels and saints, may we raise a hymn of thanksgiving for this wonderful High School’s past fifty years and look forward to a future that will find Holy Trinity a shining beacon of God’s life and love: TO HIM WHO IS ABLE TO DO FAR MORE THAN WE CAN DREAM OR IMAGINE: TO GOD BE THE GLORY IN CHRIST JESUS AND THE HOLY SPIRIT NOW AND FOREVER. AMEN!