Feast of St. Matthew, 2009
As we gather tonight to begin our new academic year on the feast of St.Matthew, during this the year of th priest; while for us in Dublin we are also celebrating the year of Evangelization and finally for us Dominicans during this year when we are celebrating St.Dominic preacher of grace. How can I tie all of these things together? Sts.Matthew and Dominic, Priest and evangeliztion, Dominicans and study!
As always it is good to begin with Sacred Scripture. The Gospel of today's feast speaks of the calling of Matthew. Our calling, yours and mine vocation is the very environment in which we have most in common, all of us have been called by Christ, was not given only once, it is the very atmosphere in which we are called to live out our lives. We did not simply receive a vocation, 60,50, 40, 10, or 2 years ago. The very essence of our vocation is that the Lord continues to call us. He is now calling us to listen to his voice, to get up and follow him.
To quote the late Senator Edward Kennedy: "The work goes on, the cause endures, thbe hope still lives and the dream shall never die." This is yours' and my vocation as Dominicans. The Lord is now standing and calling you to listen to his voice and to follow him.
Our Holy Father the Pope when he inaugurated this year for priets he said it was "meant to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal for the sake of a stronger and more incisive witness to the Gospel in today's world."
One of the most important ways that we as Domoinicans listen to the voice of the Lord calling us to an interior renewal is by sacred study. As I have said before and I have said before and I will say it again, we are not simply academics or intellectuals. Our vocation to study is our listening to Christ's call to follow Christ. We are not sitting we are actually getting up to follow Christ. We are not sitting we are actually following. That is the brilliance of St. Dominic's vision for his brethren when he made study to be part of our religious discipline, when in the writing of the early constitutions he removed manual labor and replaced itg with study he was making study part of the very fabric of a Dominicans listening to Christ and following him on the way to slavation.
So study for us is not an added extra to our following of Christ, study is an integral part of the way a Dominican follows Chjrist. It is precisely how we listen to the Lord and from listening it is how then we follow.
Again as we begin another academic year I encourage all of us to listen to the Lord in your life, to be faithful to the vocation that youi have received when by the grace of God you put "O.P." after your name. Be faithful to your desk, your books, and your classes. thsi is the religious discipline that asks us not to waste time (on internet, TV, radio, amusement) but to give yourself the opportunity to listen and listen well to the voice of the Lord in your life.
So no matter what we are called upon to study we must remember that the voice of the Lord is calling you to a renewal of your communion with him and in him.
We cannot stand outside of who we are. Here in St. Savior's we are preparing young men for the priesthood.
Maybe we don't think of think of this too often but this is a year in which maybe we should recommit ourselves to this focus. And just as we are called to be Dominicans, not simply to do Dominican things so in the priesthood we are not simply called to do priestly things but to be priests, to be "other Christs/ alter Christus" , as the tradition would call us. To quote from the Pope's letter to priests for this year: In Jesus, person and mission tend to coincide: all Christ's saving activity was, and is an expression of his will. In a humble yet genuine way, every priest must aim for a similar identification".