Let us remember. We are in the Holy Presence of God.
Welcome Mullen Junior Class to your induction as Seniors. We celebrate this moment with Mass, because there is an important connection between what we expect of you as future leaders of your school and what faith inspires you to do. Faith in the presence of God is one of our core principles, but the secret is that it is the one core value that strengthens and enlightens all our other core values. As Lasallians, we do not simply believe that God exists, we do not believe that in some invisible and transcendent place – detached from our world, separated from our daily lives – there is an impersonal, intangible, and distant entity that simply holds everything in existence. We believe in a God that has broken the silence and spoken to us throughout history, a God who continues to speak to us today through the Holy Scriptures, and the circumstances of our lives. Faith is the power to actually hear the voice of God whenever we hear the words of the Scriptures read. Today, by faith, Jesus teaches his disciples, gathered at the last supper, the divine remedy for fear. He says, “You have faith in God, have faith also in me.” The difference is subtle, but important: “You have faith in God” – Jesus is reminding his disciples of their experience of faith – they are experienced listeners, they hear the Word of God, the words of Moses, and the prophets. They have come to know what God’s voice sounds like and recognize Him whenever they hear the Torah, the Psalms, or Isaiah. They have come to recognize the same voice whenever Jesus speaks to them – but Jesus is more than a prophet, He is more than just another messenger. “You have faith in God, have faith also in me.” The power of faith that connects you to the invisible Father when you listen, that same power of faith, when placed in Jesus, causes you to know that the divinity is right here, in the flesh, present. Faith in the presence of God, is faith in Jesus Christ, God made present in the flesh. This faith is the core value that strengthens us in our Christian and LaSallian mission.
At Mullen, you do not just become a senior because you completed your Junior year. You become a senior because you accept the challenges of leadership many of you learned and discussed at your Kairos. A senior at Mullen is someone who is particularly “checked-in” to living out and handing down our core values. Can you imagine what would have happened if the Apostles had “checked-out” after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? What if Peter had said, “I’m glad to have known Jesus, but now I need to worry about my career goals and personal interests.” It’s no different for us – the LaSallian charism is a particular way of living out the Christian life that has been entrusted to you by your community here, who received it from the Christian Brothers, who received it from St. John Baptist de LaSalle, who received it from Jesus Christ Himself. We are counting on you to hand it on to the next generation. Will this require an extra effort from you? Might it require you to make some sacrifices or suffer? Certainly, but remember that we are in the Holy Presence of God, Jesus Christ Himself is our strength.
We celebrate Our Lady of Fatima today. Her message to the world is also a plea to embrace the power of the Cross, the redemptive power of suffering. Goodness triumphs only through endurance and suffering. “It was necessary that the Christ should suffer, so as to enter into his Glory.” Our Lady encourages you today also, to make those little sacrifices every day so that your freshmen, your sophomores, your juniors, your teachers, your families, everyone you meet, is included, is respected, is treated with justice, is encouraged to pursue excellence, and is reminded of the Holy Presence of God.
Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever.
He shows the power of the Godhead within him, discerning their inward feelings when he says, “Let not your heart be troubled.” “Believe in God, believe also in me.” … Faith, too, in me, and in the Father who begat me, is more powerful than anything that shall come on you. And it will permit no evil thing to prevail against you.1
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA:
Here, Jesus makes an able soldier out of one who recently was a coward. And while the disciples were suffering with the anxieties of fear, he commands them to cling to the intense power of faith.… Faith is a weapon whose blade is stout and broad; it drives away all cowardice that may spring from the expectation of coming suffering and renders the darts of evildoers utterly void of effect and makes their temptations utterly profitless.2
Owing to the fact that our flesh is undergoing dissolution through its sufferings, we shall be provided with a home in heaven.… Because he had called the flesh a house, he wanted to use the same term elegantly in his comparison of the ultimate reward, promising to the very house that undergoes dissolution through suffering a better house through the resurrection, just as the Lord also promises us many mansions like that of a house in his Father’s home.3
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA:
For Christ did not ascend on high in order to present himself before the presence of God the Father. He always was and is and will be continually in the Father, in the sight of him who begat him. For he is the one in whom the Father takes delight. Rather, he who of old was the Word with no part or lot in human nature has now ascended in human form so that he may appear in heaven in a strange and unusual manner. And this he has done on our account and for our sakes in order that he, though “found as a man,” may still in his absolute power as Son—while yet in human form—obey the command, “Sit at my right hand,” and in this way transfer the glory of adoption through himself to the entire human race.4
Let Christ go away then so that he is not seen. Let him remain concealed that faith may be exercised. Then a place is prepared if you live by faith. Let faith desire so that the place desired may itself be possessed. The longing of love is the preparation of the mansion. In this way, Lord, prepare what you are preparing. For you are preparing us for yourself and yourself for us, inasmuch as you are preparing a place both for yourself in us and for us in you. 5
- HOMILIES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 73.1.4 Elowsky, J. C., ed. (2007). John 11–21 (p. 120). InterVarsity Press.
- COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 9.5 Elowsky, J. C., ed. (2007). John 11–21 (p. 120). InterVarsity Press.
- ON THE RESURRECTION OF THE FLESH 41.1, 3. Elowsky, J. C., ed. (2007). John 11–21 (p. 121). InterVarsity Press.
- COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 9. Elowsky, J. C., ed. (2007). John 11–21 (p. 122). InterVarsity Press.
- TRACTATES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 68.3. Elowsky, J. C., ed. (2007). John 11–21 (pp. 122–123). InterVarsity Press.