Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mt 5:13 Class of 2014

Ursuline Academy's Baccalaureate Homily for the Class of 2014

Jesus said to his disciples:  "You are the salt of the earth."

In his Confessions, St. Augustine wrote about an experience he had while attending a function honoring the emperor.  As each guest got up and said a few words of praise, he understood the foolishness of the event.  Everyone knew that everyone was lying:  the guests knew the speakers were lying.  The speakers knew they were lying.  Even the emperor himself knew they were all lying.  

Well, what I am about to tell you is no lie.  Only once a year do I find myself surrounded by a spectacular show of elegance and intelligence, and it is right here, right now and on this very special occasion. 

You are the best of the best, but only if you allow yourself to be the salt of the earth.

Difference Maker.  Our Lord is a romantic and a poet.  He said so much in so few words. "You are the salt of the earth" means "You are a difference maker", which means Christians make life surprising, enjoyable, exciting, thrilling, challenging, tangy, etc...

Of course we all know that Jesus is the true "salt of the earth," that He took our lives and added a little bit of himself to it, not to smother us or overwhelm us, but to enhance us.  He added just the right amount of himself to us and in all the right places - not on our wounds, but in all our thoughts, words and actions. 

Now the Lord is telling His disciples: "You are the salt of the earth."

You are the salt of the earth.  My dear graduates:  You are the salt of the earth.  You are the difference maker.  And today - especially today - to be a difference maker means to show honest-to-God gratitude.  Please show your gratitude to the people who have done so much for you.  Dear Class of 2014, please stand up right now and add some of your salt to those around you.  Give a round of applause to your loved ones! 

Do you know what you just did?  You added flavor to their lives.  You made their life worth living and their blood, sweat and tears worth shedding.  You put a smile on their faces.  You just changed their appearance.   

Do you realize the power of gratitude?  How it can bring people back to life?  There is nothing more thrilling or exciting than someone coming up to you and saying:  "I can't tell you enough how important you are in my life" or "I can't thank you enough for all that you have done for me.  You've made a huge difference in my life" or "I just want you to know that everything I am is because of you."

Gratitude is the salt that brings out the best in us and in others. 

Your family deserves a round of applause and so much more.  It's about time.  For the past twelve years it's been all about you, and for the past four years they have put up with all your phobias (I will never accomplish anything in my life!), dramas (I just made the biggest mistake of my life!), meltdowns (My life is ruined!), arrogance (You don't know anything!), threats (I'll never speak to you again!) and sassy attitudes (When I am rich and famous you'll wish you encouraged me!).

Now there is a lot to be said about grateful people.  By default they are humble and honest and through reflection they are understanding and responsible.  They know who they are and what they have received, and they don't take it any of it for granted.

This year, the Class of 2014 received over 25 million dollars in scholarships!  Do you know how many poor people could have been fed with this money?  A lot!  But people - honest working people - were willing to give it to you.  Why?  Because they trust you.  They see hope in the future because of you.  Don't let them down.

Which brings me to my next point.

Salt Serves.    Just like a number, graduation is meaningless unless it is attached to something.  For example, the number "1" means nothing unless it refers to something, like "First Place" or "Lone Survivor."  Likewise, the number "3" means nothing unless it is attached to something, like "Third Place" or "The Holy Trinity."

Again, just like salt, graduation is useless unless it is attached to something.  Salt is used over food; otherwise, it simply collects moisture.  The same holds true for graduation.  It must be attached to something, and that something is SERVICE.

Graduation without service would be like graduating without an education:  a disappointment for oneself and totally useless for others.

As you are well aware, from the scholarships collected this year, people and institutions are more than willing to give you everything they have.  Don't let them down.  Serve.  Serve others. 

Service is the secret to health, happiness and holiness - a healthy mind, a happy state of being, a holy life.

Now attach yourself to a worthy cause, a cause that Christ would choose for you! 

This is the year of the woman!  Can't you tell?  I don't know about you, but I read a lot of articles regarding women this year. 

Not too long ago, I read a story about Deborah Peter's, a brave 15-year-old young lady from Chibok, Nigeria, who witnessed the killing of her father and brother at the hands of the Islamic inspired terrorist organization "Boko Haram," which translated means "Western education is sinful."

On May 21st, she testified before a special House committee and told them why she was in Washington.  She said, "I want the world to understand what happened to me.  I hope the kidnapped Chibok girls will take courage from my story, and know more of what God says, and know what it means to stand strong in the face of bad people."

Graduation is the fruit of an education and the root to a lifelong commitment to meaningful service. 

Congratulations to the outstanding Class of 2014.  May God bless you now and forever.  May He continue to inspire you in all your thoughts, words and actions.  Count on our prayers.  Please pray for us.  Stay attached to the Lord.  Do not forget the Lord, for He never forgets us.


  1. I always liked that episode in the Confessions. I often feel like meetings at work play out the same way, with everyone putting on a ridiculous deceitful show for the sake of convention. Later, Augustine envies the simple joy that a beggar feels as he offers prayers for money while Augustine offers dishonest panegyrics for honor.

    Hopefully, those students will take your advice and do something substantial with their talents and accomplishments. The false praise and false honors will always remain; they have to see past those and consider what God praises and what He honors.

  2. Father;

    Secular Humanism? Good thoughts Father for these young ladies. I recall the same "service" homily at my own UA Baccalaureate Mass in 1985. When I went to college in Boston, I found that many good hearted people were saying the same thing -- well almost the same thing. They weren't Christians. They were secular humanists.

    The whole movement of secular humanism is draped in political correctness. It's the old "be nice", "be tolerant" and of course "serve others." It's a good fit for many of our politicians, CEOs, moms and dad's today. While service is a great goal, what and whom are we serving? Is it up to each of us to decide? This is what many young people are missing.

    The 64 dollar question. Many of my law school cronies thought that service meant promoting gay rights, abortion rights, etc. They did their internship at BLGT organizations, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, etc. So how then can these young ladies discern who and what to serve. That is the 64 dollar question.

    The man - Pontius Pilate. The thing that I think graduates today need to hear is that there is Objective Truth. Recall Pilate's famous words, "Quid est veritas?" Moral relativism yields to service that is misguided. I have my god you have yours and as long as I am promoting the things that my god believes in (pick from the panoply of modern social issues) I am serving, am I not? We know that Objective Truth is found in Jesus Christ himself. These ladies must use these next critical years to acknowledge: (1) that there is Objective Truth; and (2) by keeping his Commandments and by keeping close to the sacraments, we can know Truth. We can know Jesus. The service that then flows is then rooted in the Objective Truth and has meaning and purpose. It is a means to an end - to know, love and serve Christ in this life and the next.

    I can honestly say that even after being raised in a very religious home and graduating from UA, I bought into the lie. The lie that I have my god and you have yours. As long you didn't try to impose your values on me and I on you, we were all good. You aptly refer to this as the "simmering pot" not the "melting pot." It wasn't unitl I started reading the Church's encyclicals after college and started reading Catholic apologetics, that I understood the who, what and why. Being such an amazing priest, I hope you can help our young people to avoid what I fell into. I hope you will continue to bring them to the Objective Truth- Jesus Christ.


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