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Let's pray for every human being's life to be respected and defended

Archbishop Wenski's homily at St. Brendan High School

Archbishop Wenski's homily at St. Brendan High School for its 40th anniversary. January 22, 2015. 

Today, we celebrate with joy the 40th anniversary of St. Brendan's High School – and "homecoming"; but also since today is January 22nd we observe with great sadness another tragic anniversary. 43 years ago the US Supreme Court made a very wrong decision when with

Roe v. Wade it legalize elective abortion at any time before birth. Supreme Court justices are human beings - and they do make mistakes. In the 19th century they made a mistake with the Dred Scot decision which basically said that a black man had no rights that had to be respected. Today, maybe some 400,000 people - including Catholic High School students from South Florida - will participate in the March for Life that will end at the steps of the US Supreme Court.

Let's pray for all the marchers (I was in Washington yesterday for meetings - and I came home to be here with you - and I'm glad because when I left Washington it was snowing). So, let's pray for the marchers, but more importantly let's pray for our country and ask God to touch the hearts and change the minds of our fellow Americans so that one day every human being's life will be respected and defended from the moment of conception till nature death.  Let us pray that each of us be committed to creating a culture of life in our nation – a culture of life where no longer are “wrongs” called “rights”.

Catholic schools -like St. Brendan's - have a twofold mission: We want to get you the students into college and into heaven. That's why your teachers demand excellence from you. When I was a student, one of our teachers (and he must have been trained by the Jesuits) had us write on the top of all papers the letters AMDG. The letters stood for the Latin phrase, Ad majorem Dei Gloria - which was the motto of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits. Now, Ad majorem Dei Gloria means "for the greater glory of God. Our teacher wanted that we do everything in such a way that it gives credit or glory to God. You don't give God much glory if you don't give it your very best. And doing your best is the key - not only for getting into college and having a successful life, it is the key for getting into heaven. 

To get into heaven we have to be "holy" - and, I think "holiness" is becoming the best possible version of ourselves - the man or woman that God meant us to be. That won't happen if we settle for mediocrity - in our studies or in our spiritual lives. St. Brendan's wants you to become that best possible version of yourself - so that you can realize all your God-given potential - God-given because he expects great things for each one of you. To help you, St. Brendan's seek to provide an environment where that potential can be identified and where it can grow. That's why, your teachers demand excellence - AMDG – for the greater glory of God.  As one ancient father of the Church said, the glory of God is man fully alive.  We give God glory when we are fully alive – living up to our potential and doing what God intended us to do with our lives.

St. Brendan’s as a Catholic school proposes Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life.  In the gospel today, we see how the multitudes sought out Jesus – sure some of them were attracted by curiosity.  They were impressed by those miracles.  But, many too sought out Jesus out of conviction.  Just like last Sunday more than three million people stood in the rain to attend Mass with the Pope in the Philippines.  But the Pope who is the Vicar of Christ on earth would probably say that they didn’t come for him – they came for Jesus.

What is keeping you from Jesus?  To follow him is to lose nothing that makes life truly fulfilling or satisfying.  In following Jesus – even when that takes us along the Way of the Cross – we lose nothing but we gain everything.