I. Called and Chosen
A. At the conclusion of today’s Mass, new officers and board members will be installed and they will receive their emblems of office. Dear brothers, we congratulate you and pray that God will make fruitful your service and leadership of the Knights of Columbus.
B. In making this prayer we turn to Scripture where we find both encouragement and exhortation. In today’s reading from the Letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul speaks about our calling as baptized Christians to follow Christ and to bear witness to Christ by a vocation to charity. Paul says that “in Christ we were chosen” . . . “so that we might exist for the praise of his glory” – that is, the purpose of our life is to give God glory by being a reflection of his love. St. Paul also tells us that they’ve not only been called, we have also responded. And the way we’ve responded is to stake our very lives on the Gospel. This is more than saying that the Gospel is good or true. It’s saying that Christ and his Gospel are the foundation of our lives, and that our dignity & joy are found in belonging to God by belonging to the Church.
C. Thanks to the mercy of God, what Paul said of the all the baptized can be said even more so of those who are called to leadership in our beloved Order. Let us not see your calling and election to leadership solely as a corporate decision; let us see it rather as a way of perfecting your baptismal calling, your calling in Christ to exist for the praise of his glory, to reflect God’s goodness and glory by exemplifying the principles of the Order, charity first of all, for God is love, but also fraternity, for God’s has entered into fellowship with us, and unity, for there is One God in Three Persons. The principles of the Order are the means our holy founder gave us to find and to live the very heart and soul of our Catholic faith. So as we go about fulfilling our responsibilities toward the Order, let us always ask: “Am I doing this to reflect in this broken world, the goodness and glory of God?”
II. Hypocrisy and Dignity
A. In accepting this special calling from the Order, we need to pay attention to the Lord’s exhortation in the Gospel – first a word of condemnation and the second a word of great encouragement. The word of condemnation is reserved for the Pharisees, not because of their knowledge and authority but because they weren’t honest. What they said in private did not reflect the virtuous public appearance they crafted. They carefully crafted their image, their own brand of dignity, and, in doing so, forfeited the authentic dignity with which God endowed them. Just so, in assuming the mantle of leadership in the Order, you are being asked to reembrace your baptismal calling with a pure heart and to fulfill your responsibilities toward the Order with honest and integrity. We can’t be charitable, fraternal, or united, without integrity. Double-dealing destroys not only our earthly aspirations but also our eternal destiny.
B. In the closing words of the Gospel, Jesus greatly encourages us to claim our authentic dignity when he says that ‘the hairs of our head are all numbered.’ I don’t know about you, but these days, God finds it easier to count my hairs. And whether they are many our few, we are precious in God’s sight. If we really believe that all the things of the world are less than one human life, if we really believe that God loves us personally with an everlasting love, then we will not fear to accept these major responsibilities nor we will find it difficult to reject every breech of integrity. Rather, we will find our dignity and our happiness in fulfilling our offices for the praise of God’s glory – the God who loves us more than we could ever ask or imagine. Vivat Jesus!