Jubilarian Celebration at Wellesley
September 29, 2019
Homily by Sister Judith Park
Our Jubilarians could not have chosen more fitting Scripture for today’s celebration.
Listen again to the words of the prophet Micah: This is what God asks of you: …To act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God. These words have echoed down through the centuries … and have found a home in many a heart. Micah gives us the prescription for a loving, generous, meaningful life. When our acts of justice, our right actions, come from a love engendered and deepened by our walking the path of life with God, we understand the wholeness that can replace brokenness, we see the pain in need of healing, and the lives and situations that require of us attentive listening and effective actions. Micah reminds us that God – our God wants us near … desires that closeness with us so that we in turn can walk with all our brothers and sisters.
Our second reading from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians has two significant messages … keep making progress in your spiritual lives and let Christ strengthen your hearts. It reminds us that a Jubilee marks the sure and steady call to keep moving forward with as much panache, purpose and commitment as ever. It reminds us that we proceed, not on our own strength but with the strength of the One who calls us.
And our Gospel today from John…..here we glimpse the heart of God revealed.
Abide in my love Jesus says … live, dwell, remain in my love …
Jesus says to all of us in this reading – everyone – right here, right now –
…I love you in the same way God loves me. And I want your joy to be full … the same joy that is in me, he says. Jesus was in Heaven before he came to earth … so he was in possession of a joy we can only imagine.
And He wants this same joy to light up our souls … and to be a light for others.
Joy deserves special mention here because as SCH we profess to give joyful witness to God’s love … not bold witness or relentless witness or righteous witness but joyful witness.
Our joy comes from knowing that God will never let go of us … will never stop loving us … will never stop seeking ways to bring us home when we are lost or tired or discouraged. Joy sinks deep roots and anchors our souls. Joy is what allows us to love and laugh and sing even in the midst of great adversity and suffering. Joy comes from experiencing God’s love. It generates breathing space, welcome lightness and fluid courage in the midst of chaos.
In this gospel Jesus call us friends and gives us the command to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Love one another.
As friends of God, Mary Ann, Mary and Esther have been commissioned to touch the wounds of this world, to hold the hopes and pain of people and to walk lovingly in the circles in which they live and minister – and well beyond those circles.
They have been called to be sisters to the world and faithful stewards and advocates of a creation in jeopardy.
They have faithfully lived these 50 years using every gift God has given them … and they each have sterling gifts to give … as we all know.
In this Gospel reading Jesus says … ”You did not choose me … I chose you”
God issued the invitation and they said yes … because that call would not let go of them. Thus began an uncharted journey at a young age.
The American poet Mary Oliver has a wonderful line –
Tell me, what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.
Here you are after many lives in ministry, community, in your families, in Boston, Maine, Peru.
You had some great days and some not so great … all woven in to your lives. All part of the gift you have to offer again this day.
You were the first SCH to go through formation in the U.S. – right here and across the street…at the Academy of the Assumption. Many things have changed – but the essentials have not.
Joan Chittister – the Benedictine sister who has written many books on the spiritual life says this :
To live a religious life
takes all the life we have.
To live a religious life
Takes the heart of a hermit, the soul of a mountain climber,
The eyes of a lover, the mind of a rabbi.
And this has always been so.
When we celebrate Jubilee, we celebrate a love story; it is that simple and that profound.
Perhaps Khalil Gibran the Lebanese author and poet captures that truth the best ….he says….
“when you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
When we walk humbly with a God who asks for our whole hearts for the good of the world, we know from our toes up that we are in THE HEART OF GOD….that we abide in that lavish love.
That is our dwelling place. That is our home.
Esther, Mary, Mary Ann, as you renew your vows of poverty, chastity and obedience today, the same vows Mother Seton, our foundress pronounced and lived, we pray with you that Christ will strengthen your hearts.
We wish you joy for the journey, peace for souls and may you hold fast to that divine love which so graciously flows through you to others.
Judy Park September 29, 2019
1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
John 15: 9-17