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Bishop Burbidge's homily at Mass of the Holy Spirit 2016


Mass - Cardinal Gibbons High School
September 1, 2016

What an exciting time it has been and will be in the life of the Church and our diocese: In July, Pope Francis met in Poland with millions of people your age at World Youth Day; this Sunday Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be canonized a saint; and next July our diocese will dedicate the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, in which the Class of 2018 will be the first in history to celebrate the Baccalaureate Mass! I believe all these events speak a message to us at the beginning of this academic year.

The major theme Pope Francis emphasized at World Youth Day is the same message Jesus spoke in today’s Gospel, and one we sometimes take casually or may even doubt. Listen again to what Jesus said: “I love you, you are my friends.” In order to love God and one another, you must first realized you are loved. Here is what Pope Francis said at WYD: “God loves us the way we are and no sin or fault of ours makes him change his mind, so bring your sins and struggles to him in confession, and he will surprise you with his forgiveness and peace. For we are always his beloved sons and daughters.” If we are convinced of that truth, we find every reason “to rejoice always.”

Upon recalling the great love God has for us, I would like to suggest two practical ways we love God and one another. As mentioned, Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral will be dedicated in July. It is my hope and prayer that the Cathedral reminds us that a powerful way to demonstrate our love for God, is to show reverence for the name of His Son in faithfulness to the commandment: “Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Therefore, I am asking that all of us here at CGHS make a commitment never to use God’s name in the context of profanity; nor even use it as part of phrases, even habitual ones that are frequently and casually spoken, that have nothing to do with prayer or giving honor to God. May we hold each other accountable so that here at CGHS, the Holy Name of Jesus will always be honored, revered and praised.

Love of one another: What a tremendous example we have in Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who will be canonized a saint this Sunday. It is my hope that you will be reflecting upon her life in your theology classes this semester. She has so much to teach us. She was also very practical. Listen to this advice: “If you wish to promote world peace, go home and love your family. It is true. When you are loving, respectful and thoughtful sons and daughters in your homes, you bring peace. Besides your homes, this school is a family. Continue to love one another; making sure no one is excluded, labeled or dismissed. Forgive one another. Be patient with one another. As St. Paul says today: “ Let your kindness known by all.”

At this Eucharist, we ask for God’s blessings upon all of us through this academic year and pray for the grace: to rejoice in the love God has for us; to give praise and honor to the Holy Name of Jesus; and to love one another, united always as God’s holy family and as brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.