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“I am MC…We Are MC, Always”

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You made it! You made it to the last All School Mass of the year! Well done! Actually, though, maybe it is more appropriate to say that we made it, together. It is more appropriate because that is the theme we set before us all the way back in August: “I am MC…We are MC!

We started as individuals, called to commit ourselves to the vision and mission of Marian Central. By doing so, each of us could, if we wanted, declare loudly, “I am MC!” When we did, we saw that our solitary “I”s became a mighty “we…”We are MC!” That “we,” that unity, was not based on anything superficial but on something deeper: our faith. Out faith made us children of God—a family—and this school became our home.

As part of this family, each of us was called to develop virtues like humility, gentleness, patience, and peace. To say “I am MC!” also was to say, “I am humble,” “I am patient” and the like. Our grandparents showed us that these virtues were possible for us to achieve. The saints, whose example encouraged us to pray for each other and be merciful to each other, also inspired us. We learned that being “MC” meant being a family of prayer.

Then, we noted that saying “I am MC…We are MC!” takes a total investment of ourselves, and most especially an investment of our hearts. Therefore, to help us make that investment, we consecrated our hearts, our school, and ourselves to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. In the Sacred Hearts, our family—our “we”—moved to another level: something beyond this world and the “now, and into the infinite.I am MC…We are MC! meant that we are united as a family, forever.

As we entered Lent, our Lord reminded us not to get too wrapped up in ourselves, our individual “Is, or our individual Lenten practices, but to renew our focus on God, others, and each other. As we ended Lent, we realized how true and necessary that reminder was, as we lost one of our own, who was “MC,” too. But now, here we are, at the end of our reflection and our time together. What a journey it has been!

Incredibly, St. Paul summarizes our journey for us in his own way through our first reading. “My brothers, “ he wrote, “children of the family of Abraham…to us the word of salvation has been sent.” He declared that God called many to join Him through faith, and many in that time responded. In other words, they added their “I”s to the “we” of God’s family. Jesus, then, set to work in the hearts of those believers, appearing to them after his resurrection. As a consequence, St. Paul continued, “His witnesses before the people” went out to proclaim “the good news” to the world—to invite others to become part of the family. Finally, he ended, “As it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.’” Jesus, the Chosen Son, is the One who brings unity out of many; and the many find life only through him.

Dear family, this is us! That was our journey these past nine months. We each heard the invitation at the beginning of the year, an invitation to join this pilgrimage toward God. Many of us heard that invitation and responded positively in faith. After that, Jesus went to work in our hearts, filling us with his new life and virtues. Through all of these steps, he began to unite us as a family. The many of us became one—One in the Son. Now, at the end of the year, he sends us out to proclaim the “good news” of what he has done for us.

Before we do that, though, let us first consider how far each of us—our “I’s—has come on that journey this year. Each of us began the year in one place—physically, mentally, spiritually, chronologically, maybe even geographically! Now, we are each someplace else in those same areas. So, ask yourself: how are you different? How have you grown? Has the year gone as you planned? Would the “you” in August recognize the “you” in May? Would the “you” in August be surprised by the “you” in May? Why? These are great questions worth pondering to summarize our own individual years.

But, let us also think about how our family—our “we”—has changed this year. Have you noticed how we have changed? I know that I have. I have seen freshmen go from isolated individuals on that first day Mass to becoming a class of peers. I have seen the sophomores grow and become integral parts of our family in theater, sports, and so much more. I have seen the juniors rally together to support each other in a truly dark time. I have seen the seniors step up to lead the school in the classroom, on retreats, and the fields and courts. In short, I have seen our “I”s become a powerful “we.”

Taking all of this in, as we finish our year and reflect on the highs and lows of the past nine months, we may have mixed emotions. We may be sad to leave our friends for the summer, but happy to set aside studying for a short time. We may be disappointed to leave some things unfinished, but hopeful for the opportunities to come in the future. We may be glad to finish high school—right, seniors?—but fearful of college. All of these mixed feelings are normal.

But into these emotions, Jesus speaks powerfully to us today: “Do not let your hearts be troubled…have faith in God.” No matter what lies ahead for us, our union in Jesus keeps us strong and together. In him there are “many dwellings places” for all of us, places of warmth and welcome with each other. He further promises, “I will take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” So long as we stay close to him, we will never be alone or simply a single “I.”

It is like a religious sister that I know says. She always ends her letters to me by writing, “I will see you in the Eucharist.” She gets it. No matter where our journeys take us, we are together wherever Jesus is. Thus, my dear family, wherever our paths ahead may go, through Jesus we can forever remain united and together. We are MC. Always.

I know this to be true, and to prove it allow me to end with a story. When I was assigned to Marian Central eight years ago, I did not know anyone and no one knew me. For almost the first month, I spent a lot of time in my office…alone. Just me, myself, and I. A solitary “I.” Yet, somehow, this place brought about a change. Somehow, over the course of eight years, my “I” became a “we. I became something more, and today find myself no longer alone. Even though I am leaving, I know that, wherever the future takes me (or any of us), that this “we” will persist. This family will endure. Thanks be to God.

So, for one final time this year, let us say together loudly and proudly: “I am MC…We are MC!” Yes, we are…always.

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“I am MC…We Are MC, Always”