Another academic year dawns as freshmen arrive to begin a new
chapter in their life adventures. It is an exciting and energetic
time as the new and returning students ready themselves for yet
another year of learning and living.
During Creighton University’s Welcome Week orientation, Call
to Community is an event which introduces the new class to
the Jesuit mission and charisms. Students, faculty and staff give
personal witness to Jesuit charisms through brief presentations
which clarify our mission: Our Jesuit vision commits us to form
women and men of competence, conscience and compassion who have
learned from reflecting upon their experiences of being for and
with others. We do this in service of a faith that does justice.
Though the message may be potentially overwhelming in the first
days on campus, it is the hope of the Creighton community that every
new student (and faculty/staff) will grow to understand and make
real the mission in their day to day lives.
As I read today’s scriptures, I realize that the same hope
was held by the early disciples and preachers for the newly formed
Christian communities - that they would not only hear God’s
word, but would make it alive in their own lives.
In the first reading, Paul, Silvannus and Timothy rejoice in the
Thessalonians community because, “…your faith flourishes
ever more, and the love of every one of you for one another grows
ever greater.” The people not only have heard the word
of God, but have grown in the life of God and witness the Christian
faith in the day to day trials and their lives with one another.
However, in today’s Gospel, Jesus warns the scribes and Pharisees
that they are hypocrites. Instead of guiding the people to God,
Jesus accuses the leaders of creating obstacles, misleading the
people to honor false values rather than the core value of honoring
As we welcome students to our academic community the scriptures
remind us that we are entrusted with the lives of these young people,
not only to companion them in their intellectual pursuits, but to
also witness to them the living reality of our mission, rooted in
the Judeo-Christian values and beliefs. We cannot only talk the
talk, but must also walk the walk if we are to be true to our call
as a community of higher learning.
Today, we celebrate the St. Augustine of Hippo, bishop and doctor
of the Church. His writings evidence a person who struggled with
the strong temptations of a worldly life. His early adult life was
anything but a Christian model, and as a young professional, he
was taken up with the pride and elitist attitudes as a scholarly
individual. However, his mother, St. Monica continued to pray for
him, include him in her life and challenge him to examine the values
of his Christian upbringing against his present day life. It was
the loving support of his mother and others in the Christian community,
and Augustine’s own gradual openness to the Spirit’s
work that finally brought Augustine to embrace the call of the Christian
Perhaps our vocation as a Christian community is to reexamine for
ourselves what the real message of God’s calling is in each
of our lives, strive to walk the walk as well as talk the talk,
so that we can truly live into the Baptismal call to make God’s
presence real in our day to day lives and thus invite others into
this community through our witnessing lives.