BY ERIC CROSS
Hundreds of students, officials, faculty, staff and alumni crowded into a packed Byron Center for the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Sept. 5.
This special Mass is celebrated each year at The University and at other Jesuit universities to mark the beginning of the school year, but this year’s celebration was particularly important and different for two reasons.
First, it marked the beginning of the celebrations for the University’s 125th Anniversary. This yearlong celebration will commemorate the University’s founding as St. Thomas College in August 1888. The second reason this Mass was different was that the principal celebrant and homilist was the Most Rev. Bishop C. Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton.
Through words of wisdom and short stories, Bambera singled out a crucial and quintessential aspect of our Catholic faith that we should better understand: what it means to be an authentic disciple of Christ.
The bishop began the exploration of this message by re-examining the Gospel, saying “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me’” (Matthew 16:24). As Bambera said, all people have crosses in their lives that they must carry. Some appear minute; some appear to be as vast as the ocean. Certain ones seem to last a lifetime, while some last a day, an hour, a minute. It could be as routine as having to study for a test, or as serious as an addiction. An individual’s cross is just that, individual to him or her. Jesus asks each person to take up his or her cross in order to follow Him. Bambera touched on this during his sermon.
“The challenge of the cross is rooted at the heart of authentic discipleship,” Bambera said. We face the challenge of our own crosses on a daily basis and we have the option of taking them up or simply allowing them to lie there, hoping and thinking that someone else will take them up for us. To truly embrace the mission of authentic discipleship in our 21st-century world, we must choose not only to accept these crosses, but to embrace them. It is through these crosses that we most often encounter our great need for faith. If there is one thing to be taken away from the Mass of the Holy Spirit, surely it is this.
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