On Seminarians (FYI - the young men in the pic are some of our Aggies who are discerning the priesthood)
By the way, friends, just coming from Houston and seeing -- were some of you here last night? Did you see all those seminarians coming down? I said to myself, "I just want 10% of them for Houston, just give me -- I'm not going to be picky, ten percent!" We need vital, active witnesses for Christ among our young people in a multitude of vocations, a multitude of professions, and we need an apostolic witness among our young people in priesthood and consecrated life. God be praised -- I hope that this pro-life rally will, indeed, internalize in many of you a more distinctive sense of calling.On young people and hope in the future:
I can see it in the faces of the young people. In fact, in the ten years that I have been a bishop, one of the things that has struck me most is a line from the opening of the Gospel of St Luke that I see continuously manifest in so many of our young people, particularly those who give themselves over to witnessing for life. The line in St Luke is: "Theophilus, I'm writing what I'm writing so that you will know the kind of assurance you have in believing in Jesus." The Greek word for it -- paresia -- means conviction, assurance, truth!On how to change the culture (emphasis mine):
It does not mean arrogance, by the way. It means a conviction.
Sisters and brothers, I see growing -- particularly within our young people, even in the midst sometimes of a desert culture here -- this wondrous paresia. I am impressed -- at times, whether in confirmations, or in meetings of young people, I am even overwhelmed. Don't get a big head, but stick with it. Because the paresia, the conviction, is not something you constructed, the paresia is not something we make -- its the gift that comes as hearts melt and as the Lord Jesus is the centerpiece: the one who is the son of the Virgin Mary, whose energetic acceptance of running from Nazareth to Galilee to greet Elizabeth and sing her Magnificat, her energetic acceptance of which takes her all through the life of her Son among us.
Now, you put those things together, friends -- you've got genuine power. But it's not a power of this world -- that's why Jesus announces the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God. what is it? The beatitudes begin to unpack it, but by the end of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke you no longer ask "what" is the kingdom of God, you ask "WHO" is the kingdom of God? And you know who that is -- it's the Lord Jesus who has given us the Beatitudes.
Sisters and brothers, you're going to rally today -- on behalf of life, on behalf of unborn children, on behalf of born children, on behalf of the elderly, on behalf of everyone who suffers from injustice, for this is indeed a justice issue we are rallying for today. But as you do it, make sure -- in the joy of the Beatitudes -- that you let the Lord Jesus shine through you in purity of heart. The more obedient you become to the Lord Jesus' face, who's looking on you, and letting it change you, the freer you are -- and the freer you are, your witness in culture becomes infectious. You'll become the Beatitudes -- the best virus that could ever be let loose in our culture.We have to get him back to Aggieland soon.
We have some bad viruses around -- let's let loose a good virus, the virus of a purity of heart filled with the Beatitudes that lets God work in us and doesn't make us say, "God, if you're not gonna do it my way then I'm gonna find a better way than you."
That's generally our prayer: "Jesus, hear me! Jesus, you know I know best! Jesus, follow me!" Friends, we've got it all wrong -- even in the pro-life movement! "Jesus, you know best. the Beatitudes. You'reYou're purity of heart. In my desert heart, let the orchard grow -- that will be freedom, then I will know you and love you."
Sisters and brothers, do you realize if we get more and more people doing that what that does to the culture? It changes the culture towards one that grows in holiness -- that's what we need.
Sisters and brothers, Elizabeth and the Virgin Mary met and the joy that was unleashed of two unseen beings -- John the Baptist and Jesus, both in the wombs of their mothers -- that's power. There is much, much unseen in our own witness today. Let the unseen power of the Lord Jesus through the gift of the Holy Spirit touch you as you rally, make you joyful -- we may be fasting and abstaining today, but no, no bad looks today! Today is a day of joyful sadness or sad joy -- this is a day of remembrance of sadness, but it is joy at the Lord because we have been gathered by Jesus: first for this action of Eucharist, but then to rally, all on behalf of God's human beings -- born and unborn.
May the Lord bless you all, give you strength -- give you paresia, as they say -- that with conviction, you may wake the Lord alive in this culture.