Saturday, May 30, 2015


Congratulations to the Incarnation Catholic School Class of 2015. May God bless them everywhere they GO.

The following is the transcript of the address at their commencement ceremony from Saturday May 30, 2015:

The final line of the Mass, "Go in peace" has its basis, like many of the Mass parts, in Scripture.

The Deacon / Priest has three scripturally based options:

A Go in the peace of Christ. [Your faith has saved you; go in peace. (Luke 7:50)]
B The Mass is ended, go in peace. [Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. (John 14:27)]
C Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. [Serve now the LORD, your God, and his people Israel. (2 Chronicles 35:3)]

All contain the word "GO". At the end of Mass, we are sent out into the world - in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the Latin rite, the words "Ite, missa est" are used. Literally, these words translate as "Go, she [the Church] has been sent". We derive the term Mass from this concluding rite - from missa comes missio, the root of the English word mission - an important assignment carried out for specific purposes.

So, we may paraphrase this concluding prayer as, "Go, you have been sent on a mission."

Or, more fitting for today, ICS Class of 2015:
"Go. Do what you believe and believe in what you do."
ICS Class of 2015, I want to speak to your hearts today. My message isn't for your parents. It's not for your teachers. It's not for me or Fr. Michael or Twitter feeds or Facebook posts or Snapchat messages.  It's for your hearts.

Because, you see, your hearts know something that no one else in this room knows - the mission that God has in store for you. I don't know it, your parents don't know it, Mrs. Gonzalez doesn't know it, Mrs. Stahl doesn't know it, your friends - despite knowing so much about you - don't know it.

It's in your hearts, placed there by our Creator, and it's longing to explode out into the world to make it a better place, to bring peace, to serve the Him.

If possible, I'd like for you to close your eyes. If possible, I'd like for you to listen with the ears of your heart. If possible, I'd like for you to allow yourself to forget that it is me that is delivering this message. Hear my heart, ICS Class of 2015. It is purer than I am. Truer. Stronger. It is more authentic, more organic, more genuine, more of the me that God created me to be than I am. Listen to my heart.

The first spoken words by Jesus in the Gospel of John are, "What are you looking for?" I believe, graduates, that it is the question He asks you today, "What are you looking for?" The interesting part of this question coming from Jesus is that He is both the question and the answer. If I were to ask it, it would have different meaning for you, as if you had lost something or as if you were in trouble - because if I'm talking to you you must be in trouble, right? But, when Jesus asks it, and when we allow His question to penetrate into our hearts, the answer becomes profoundly simple.

What are we looking for? We are looking for You, Jesus! We are looking for purpose. We are searching for passion. We are longing for clarity. We are craving conviction, to know that we can and will make a difference. When we allow His question into our hearts and we answer from the depths of who we are, we recognize that we seek that which can finally quench our thirst, satisfy our hunger, retire our restless hearts.

What are we looking for? Jesus, we are looking for You!

Fittingly, the disciples respond to Jesus's probing question by asking, "Teacher, where are you staying?" This was the collected way of answering, "We are searching for the Messiah! If you are Him, as John the Baptist says you are, we will leave all behind and follow you unconditionally, unabashedly, courageously."

Jesus, it is you who we seek. Where can we find you?

Jesus's response, "Come, and you will see."

Our hearts know where to find Jesus.

Here. Right here. At this altar. At His Table. In those pews. In His Holy Word. In the Eucharist. In the Sacraments.

You'll find Him in your hearts.

In the Eucharist, we become what we receive. We receive His grace - His life in us - through Holy Communion. We come into union with Him. We are given our "daily bread", our source of strength. We aspire and ascend to this summit, this mountaintop, upon which we come into intimate contact with the Risen Jesus. The Eucharist is how we become who we were born to be.

Jesus has a specific purpose for your lives, Class of 2015. Seek it. Find it. Live it. It's in your hearts. Listen to it. Pray for the courage to follow it. Receive the Eucharist; receive your mission. Then, explode out into the world and do what you believe and believe in what you do.

Go create. Paint. Write. Dance. Build. Innovate. Discover. Design. Make something wild and pure and beautiful and powerful because you are wild and pure and beautiful and powerful because you were made by a God who is wild and pure and beautiful and powerful.

Go learn. Never stop learning because life never stops teaching. Learn for your life and about life and to have more life.

Go awaken. Rouse our sleepwalking world with words of truth, with acts of peace, with deeds of justice. Bring to the light those evils silently suffocating our world and drive them out of our temples, our homes and our hearts.

Go inspire. Let your words speak life. Let your lives spread hope. Let your thoughts lift up and encourage and enliven and light-hearten and excite and elevate and consecrate. Let your light shine.

Go teach. Give to others what you have received. Help. Pass on knowledge, wisdom, perspective, experience, advice, assistance. Feed others for a lifetime, not just a day. Preach; use words if necessary.

Go excel. You were not made for mediocrity. You have a spirit of power and love and self-control. You were made in His image - fearfully, powerfully. You are a child of God, the One, True King, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the Almighty. You have royal blood.

Go change. Don't settle for the way we do things around here, the status quo, the tradition, the stereotype, the pigeonhole. You're royalty! Be the change you wish to see in the world. Don't sit back and complain about your situation. Go and change your situation.

Go serve. Wash some feet. Lower yourself. Humble yourself. The Son of God took on our human flesh and became a slave and died for crimes He didn't commit. You can push a broom, clean a toilet, heal the sick, feed the hungry, free the oppressed, liberate the captives, put Jesus first, others second and yourselves last.

Go love. They will see our resemblance to Jesus not by our status or our fame or our power or our money or our religion or our righteousness but by our love. Love when you don't have to. Love when it's hard to do. Love those who don't love you. Love. Forgive. Love. Spread peace. Love. Unite. Love because you are loved. Love because you are beloved by God who is Love. Love.

Go pray. Often. Always. In all ways. For all of your days. For your daily bread. So that you can be leaven in His stead. To receive His grace. To make the world a better place. For the entire human race. To end up back in His embrace.

ICS Class of 2015, you have a mission to go do what you believe and to believe in what you do.

Go from ICS and out into the world in peace to love and serve the Lord.

You have been sent.

Congratulations, ICS Class of 2015!