Daily Reflection
August 28th, 2006

Cathy Weiss Pedersen

Campus Ministry
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Memorial of St. Augustine
2 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 11-12
Psalm 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 4-5
Matthew 23:13-22

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 God alone.

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 life.

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.

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