Baccalaureate Mass 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time C

St. Paul                 speaks about freedom in the second reading and that is a word that is I am sure on a lot of your minds for at this crossroads of life, you are about to come into more freedom.  You will have your own way space and your time to manage.  You will be free of curfews and easily enforced rules.  You are given more responsibility then you ever had before.  And even as your smile grows in excitement at the prospect, so your parents eyes grow wider in concern.

Yet, I imagine no one grows without freedom. We use that newly created space to stretch ourselves, to challenge ourselves and even to make the mistakes we all need to make.  Use this freedom to edge your mind to new horizons.   Learn from the sciences how intricately and carefully God created everything.  Be dazzled at the arts as in word and in the visual arts we dare to fly so close to the beauty of God.  Have your faith challenged – and that will only help it to grow.

You are entering a privileged time of self-discovery. Don’t waste that freedom by copying the foolish behaviors of others just because you can.  It is just another kin of slavery.  Instead, understand what Paul meant when he said, “For freedom Christ set us free.”  Only in freedom, when we can consciously reject all that would distract us, can we finally embark on the mission that was and is always before us – to become whom God made us to be.  Deep in our DNA , God planted within us something of unrepeatable beauty.  Each of us is a unique gift to the world.  No one can love, befriend and care in precisely the way that you do.  Find exactly what makes you you, the power you have within you, that original beauty that is only yours and share it.  Then you will truly be free for you will truly be as God made you to “serve one another through love.”

Use all the tools that are available to you. Pray, for God is constantly whispering a word of confidence and hope.  Go to mass, get involved in campus ministry, and, as I say each year, meet your second favorite priest of all time.  Find your vocation.  There is a difference between ambition, an internal engine that moves you forward and a vocation, the external voice of God leading to where you are needed.  Choose mission over ambition and you will not regret it.  And trust that God who has begun this good work in you will bring it to completion.

You might have noticed that Jesus seemed a little cranky in the Gospel. It is because he has come to an important moment as you have.  He has “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.”  From here on in Luke’s Gospel literally every step takes him closer to his destiny.  He is ready to fulfill his mission.  In order to do so, you cannot stay where you were before.  Missions always move forward.  But you don’t leave home behind for there is too much of value.  You bring it with you.  You bring the love of your family, the support of your friends, the prayers of your faith community and a priest who has grown quite fond of you over the years.  This is how you will find beauty.  This is how you will spread the love of God.  This is how you will show the face of Christ.