So here come the holidays and before you know it, they're gone. This is a time for giving and a time to reflect and a time to renew. Yes-all the cliche's we grew up knowing and loving and taking to heart.
Oftentimes we hear something so often it becomes noise, then something happens that causes us to pause and we actually listen. Like Christmas carols, those catchy tunes are playing everywhere-the radio, the malls, the supermarket. Geez, even I find myself whistling a tune here and there. But I don't pay attention to the words or the meaning. Then something happens and I listen. In this year's case, the Sandy Hook incident granted me a pause from the holiday hustle and listening to those kids sing Silent Night on SNL made me think and shed a tear.
As I reflect upon this year, I keep being reminded of my 30th high school reunion and the homily given by Bishop Bennett. This is something I've been wanting to share with my friends and my brethren because Bishop Bennett's words hit home and ring so true. So my dear friends, take pause and read on. Hopefully, this homily hits a nerve and causes you to reflect and think.
...Seeing everything in life as a miracle and with allowing ourselves grateful for all of it.Hopefully, you have been allowing yourself to see your life as a mission–not an intermission.Falling in love, vowing your love and fidelity, striving for something that transcends you and your own interests and needs, all of these have become possible because, somewhere in your life, and hopefully here at Loyola, you learned that being vulnerable doesn’t mean being weak and that being generous and generative, surrendering to the call to sacrifice,brings indescribable interior joy and peace.
Hopefully, in these 30 years and contrary to most of contemporary culture, you have learned that the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart; that, in the end, virtue triumphs over power, wealth, possessions, youth, and beauty. I hope that you are beginning to notice that love, your love,is the only legacy worth leaving.
Again, I hope that Loyola was helpful to you in cultivating the habit of love, love for everyone without exception.And hopefully, in these 30years, you are learning life’s most important mystery and yet its most urgent challenge: that is,that you have absolutely no control over the length of your life but that you have ultimate control over the depth of your life. And,hopefully,you are able to resist the globalization of superficiality which lures and lulls our culture even as it diminishes and dehumanizes it. Hopefully you are finding yourself striving to live the life you admire and not the one you envy, and that you are modeling that striving for your children and for all the young and for all succeeding generations.
It strikes me that these reunions in middle age (which, if you weren’t aware of it, you all now are) are not characterized any more by their exercise of the memory–the good old days, the pranks, the discipline cases, how many times you got JUG and for what. You probably don’t think any more about your teachers, those you loved or those you didn’t particularly care for.You don’t remember any more the scores of the games, or the plays you were in.These days, when you get together, I think you are more conscious of our human fragility and of our human connectedness,more willing to marvel at and share in the variety of each individual journey,and more grateful that we still have one another as companions and brothers.