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Homily for Mass of the Holy Spirit
Mass of the Holy Spirit
Let me repeat my welcome to all groups present and, in
particular, to our colleagues from the Jesuit School of Theology. Welcome to the Silicon Valley, once known as
Having heard the Word of God, I wish to reflect with you on three other words -- a noun and two adjectives: university, Catholic, and Jesuit.
The Noun. This
Mass of the Holy Spirit reminds us of the meaning of what we do as a
university. We have assembled as
students, staff, faculty, and friends of the academic community of
We also desire to solve problems and improve life on our planet. We want to contribute to the solutions to the problems humanity faces: green house emissions and global warming; poverty and economic underdevelopment; autism and AIDs; unemployment and environmental ruin. To do this, we study on campus and off, in campus labs and in community-based locations; we learn from professors and from the poor. With motivated hearts, with powerful curiosity, we train our minds and use our intelligence to explore, to learn, to create solutions.
Our gathering in this church reminds us of more. Yes, we are
a university, but we are a Catholic university. We do something in addition to the actions of
most other institutions of higher learning, something we share only with other
schools with a living religious heritage.
This liturgy signals that, at
We remind ourselves that we have created a space where people can explore all things - all subjects, all questions (as a university does) - and also seek the transcendent dimension of these subjects (as a Catholic university does). We make room for discussions of God and the meaning of our work through consideration of God as Intellect, Truth, and Beauty. Creating knowledge is a holy activity.
The Jesuit School of Theology, now part of
These rabble-rousing theologians stimulate us to ask again the
first question most every one of us ever asked as children: Why?
Why am I here? Why is the
individual significant? Why is life
And there is a final word to add. We are a
Ignatius of Loyola discovered insights that aid us further. In his Spiritual Exercises, [#236] Ignatius wrote that God "works and labors" for us in and through all creation. God attends to us through a world created for our benefit and enjoyment; through family and friends who love and support us. God has dreams for our happiness and our fulfillment. And God goes a step further. While working and laboring for each individual, God invites us to work alongside God, to share in this mighty enterprise of ongoing creation for the good of all.
As a Jesuit university, we believe God is at work through the pursuit of knowledge; through learning; through music, theater, and the arts; in athletics; and in our professional schools.
Let me conclude.
I imagine God working in and through us – whether we are aware of God or
not. God invites us into these acts of
creation as a co-laborer in building up our world, serving the poor, and
studying hard during our university experience.
We create with God wherever we are involved in the university
community. All of us contribute –
faculty, students, and staff at all levels in all offices. We rely on the promise of Jesus that God's
Spirit will stir us to seek and recognize the deeper meaning of what we do, the
holiness of our actions. We join God in
this ongoing work of creation for the good of all people. May God bless us all as we work alongside God
this year at