Soon, very soon, most of you will walk out those doors and return to family, friends, diocese and Parish. Some will be off to the wilds of Omaha and others to the hills of Rome and beyond.
And after the last hot dog has been consumed and the last eschatological bocci ball thrown, the words of today’s Gospel will echo in our hearts: “Remain in my love….keep my commandments…that your joy may be complete.”
That. after all, is what the last year in this holy house has been all about. Just trying to discern his will and love. It’s all the summer will be about. And its all the rest of our lives, each day, each hour each breath is for. Remain in his love.
So, as the year draws to a close, I want to thank you for all the chances we have had to keep his commandments and remain in his love. I give thanks for the graces and all the joys and the laughter and even the tears we have shared. Just as I ask your forgiveness for whatever I may have done or failed to do to lead you closer to God, as your pastor and older brother.
I thank the faculty for their love of you, their example to us all and their patience with me. I thank the staff for their dedication to this holy work. And I thank Dr. Hunt for leading us, morning by evening, in the sung praise of God.
One of the first cop shows on TV, decades ago, was called Hill Street Blues, and it always began with the morning briefing of the police officers before they began their work. This morning I feel a bit like that gristled old Police Captain, who would conclude each briefing with the words, “Be careful out there.”
But, “be careful out there.”
Be careful of your fears, for, believe me, God has made you so much better at this than you could ever dream. Have faith in yourself.
Be careful of the temptations, by which Satan’s siren songs can divert you from a focus on Christ alone, which is the one indispensable thing.
Be careful of the desire to judge your pastor when, deep down, you are afraid to admit he knows so much more than you do.
Be careful, but rejoice! Because God has chosen you to bring his love to people you haven’t even met yet! They are waiting for you. Get out there and teach them, love them and be their shepherd in his name!