13th Sunday in Ordinary Time B (Baccalaureate Mass)

The Gospel speaks of touch and faith.  A man sees his daughter dying and he places all his faith in the hands of Jesus, confident that if Christ places his hands upon her head his daughter might be healed. And there is the still greater faith of the woman who will not even dare to ask Jesus for prayers.  She believes that the suffering of the past twelve years caused by her bleeding might be cured if she were to but touch his cloak.  And of course their faith is rewarded.  The touch of Christ is a powerful thing.

Much of your lives can be defined by touch and faith as well. I am sure your parents can recall the first time you wrapped your infant hands around their finger.  Or way back when you used to joyfully and willingly held hands with your siblings. What about the first time you held your instrument or high fived after having scored?  How important were those touches?  There were times of sacred touch as well – your first communion and holding the body of Christ; many of you felt the touch of the Bishop on your forehead as you were confirmed right here.

There are many more touches to come.  Joining your right hands and promising to love and be together in good times and bad before God’s altar, holding your own child in your arms for the first time, perhaps praying that the Holy Spirit will transform the bread and wine to the body and blood of Christ.  Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?  Your touch has a lifetime of healing and blessing in them.  However and whomever you touch, one thing will remain the same.  Like a desperate man with a dying daughter and a bleeding woman, whenever we touch we are holding Christ for why else would we reach out unless it were for love?

On a day like today, we give thanks to God for the way you have touched us.  We are thankful for how you have grown in wisdom, in confidence and in love. We marvel at the leaders you already are and will surely be.  And we cannot help but think how you have made your school better, your community better and your families complete.  You have never hesitated to serve, to care for another.  You have been the blessing of Christ in our lives; your touch has truly been the touch of the master. I know that I will always be grateful for the ways that you have touched me by our laughter, tears and cheers.  This class has made us a better church.  You have made me a better priest and a better Christian. Thank you.

Blessed by God and buoyed by the Holy Spirit, how will your touch transform?  How will you take all this potential and build the kingdom of God?  Remember, if you never learn anything else for the rest of your life, you will be better educated than almost all people on this earth.

When Jesus reached that dying little girl, he simply said, “Talitha Koun” which means arise. I believe that is what you are called to do.  To the stranger who will soon enter in to your lives as friends, say “Talitha Koun” and come to a new place of strength and wisdom.  To the one who has been forgotten, say “Talitha Koun” and welcome them. To those who are weak and lost, say “Talitha Koun” and show them the way of happiness and peace.  To the poor who follow us always, say “Talitha Koun” and we will stand shoulder to shoulder.  If that is how you use your blessed and powerful hands, than you really be sharing the touch of Christ and light the world ahead for Christ.

And as you go off to your next adventures in life, dive in.  Enrich yourself in knowledge and friendship.  Get involved in campus ministry and as I say every year, meet your second favorite priest of all time and thrive the way God intended you to thrive.  And when you have trouble remembering how beautiful and good and strong you are, come home to this place where we have all remember you, loved and prayed for you.  Come home to that place where God touched you.  Go in peace Class of 2015, “Talitha Koun – Arise.”