Monday, September 15, 2014

The Cross and the Triathlon Witness

This evening before the 10pm Mass I was standing on the stairs at the front door of the Boston University Marsh Chapel and welcoming students as they arrived for Mass.  I asked one young man how his day was and he said, "I did a triathlon today in New Jersey.  I just got back an hour ago."  And there it was.  God had just sent a witness to help me.

I often tell people at Mass that we never know how our witness helps others.  If we're ever thinking about skipping Mass because, "I don't feel like going," we're not only hurting ourselves, but we are hurting others.  We are depriving them of our witness.  And when I say, "others," I mean, "me!"  I am encouraged when I see other people at Mass.  It builds up my Faith when I witness the example of others worshipping God.

Today we celebrated the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  When we look at Christ Crucified, we see that God so loved the world--that He so loved me--that He gave His Only-Begotten Son so that I might have eternal life.  Catholics begin everything and end everything with the sign of the Cross.  Why?  Because everything begins and ends with God's love.  The Cross is the sign of God's love.  While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  This is love.  The more we contemplate and exalt the Cross, the more we live our life as a response to that love.

When we are loved by another, rarely does any of us say, "Well naturally this person loves me.  I mean, I'm so awesome they'd be stupid not to love me."  No, we feel humbled by their love.  And, we seek to return that love.  We seek to respond to that love.  The Cross reminds us that we are loved by God and the more we are convinced of that love, the more we want to pour ourselves out in loving Him and our neighbor in return.

One college student did a triathlon today, then drove hundreds of miles home, and went to Mass at 10pm.  This example really touched me.  It built me up in my own Faith and encouraged me.  God so loved this young man that He gave His Only-Begotten Son for him.  And having been loved by God--as revealed by Christ's sacrifice on the Cross--this young man (undoubtedly exhausted) opted to love God in return by coming to Mass.  

And now, I'm telling you about it and maybe some of you will be encouraged and strengthened as well.  This is the power of witness.  This is the power of the Cross.  When we are convinced of God's love and respond to that love, something truly beautiful happens.  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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