Introduction: Good Character, Leadership, and Service
It is a pleasure for me to be here at Archbishop Curley High School to offer this Mass and to take part in the National Honor Society induction. I want to thank your President, Father Don Grzymski for inviting me, and to greet Father Matthew Foley and Father Peter Tremblay who are concelebrating this Mass. My warmest greetings your interim principal, Mr. Brian Kohler, as well as to all of the parents and family members of the Inductees. Last but certainly not least, I greet all of you, the students of Archbishop Curley, on this day when we celebrate the excellence of this great high school.
Membership in the National Honor Society is a great distinction. Not only does this honor demand high academic achievement, but it also requires one to possess the specific qualities of good character, leadership, and service. In fact, those qualities are even more important than getting good grades, because they make you a person of integrity and help you to be Christ’s co-workers. This honor also throws a spotlight on the whole student body here at Curley, revealing this school to be a place of formation, growth, and achievement. Every student here shares in the honor which you, our inductees, receive today.
The Apostles Possessed these Qualities
In today’s Gospel, Jesus sends his chosen Twelve on mission. He chose these specific men to be His Apostles because He saw in them special qualities He wanted in His closest co-workers. The apostles were ordinary men like you and me, but Jesus saw them as who they were capable of becoming. And great men they did become: men of good character, leadership, and service.
In today’s Gospel, it is no longer Jesus alone who brings healing, freedom, and new life to His people; now His Apostles begin to share in that mission also. It is, in a way, the debut of the mission of the Church. His Apostles went out two by two and ministered to the people by driving out unclean spirits, preaching repentance, and curing the sick. Jesus used their humanity, their good character, as his instruments by which he asserted divine authority over unclean spirits and all the forces of evil. Because the Apostles had a share in Jesus’ authority, they were able to lead others in the ways of truth and righteousness. In all of this, they served God’s people by going forth into the community and giving of themselves joyfully and completely, without holding anything back. In the words of Pope Francis, they were “Missionary Disciples”.
You are Called to Share in Missionary Discipleship
And so you too are called to become Missionary Disciples. Induction into the National Honor Society includes serving your fellow students at school events and representing Archbishop Curley High School in the wider community. Like the Apostles, you are chosen by your President & faculty from among your peers to represent them and to serve among them. Perhaps you will not be sent out to command authority over unclean spirits (that’s another homily for another time), but you are called upon to exemplify the virtues and values of this high school and, by example, to lead others to Christ and the active practice of the Faith.
However, using these qualities isn’t limited to your time at Curley. You will need these qualities as co-workers with the Lord for the rest of your lives: among your friends, within you families, and in the workplace. Pope Francis once said: “Christ has confidence in young people and entrusts them with the very future of His mission, ‘Go and make disciples’. Go beyond the confines of what is humanly possible and create a world of brothers and sisters!” Let me add that I hope some of you will do this one day as priests or as religious. I am confident that the Lord is calling some of you to be His closest co-workers in carrying forward His mission of preaching the Gospel, celebrating the Sacraments, assisting the poor and leading many to the joy of knowing and following Christ.
So at this Mass when we welcome into the National Honor Society these young men who have demonstrated the qualities of good character, leadership, and service, let us pray that all of us will use our God-given abilities to be at the service of others. Then we will fulfill what Jesus is calling us to: being co-workers with the Lord as Missionary Disciples. May God bless us and keep us always in His love.