Villa Duchesne / City House Alumnae Mass 2015

Acts 5:34 – 42 / PS 27: 1,4, 13-14 / Jn 6:1-15

     A few weeks ago I was at a cocktail reception talking with a couple about how to decide where to send their kids to high school. Like any good Catholic parent they simply wanted their children to grow up to be healthy, happy and holy, so I suggested they look at a school who has a track record of forming the whole human person, by encouraging them to look for a school whose alumni have a track record of giving completely of themselves.

     St. Madeline Sophie Barat, understood the sacred work of education, which is still carried on by the network of Sacred Heart Schools, is essentially tied to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As Catholics we profess Jesus to be both fully God and fully Man. He is the fullness of humanity revealing the fullness of divinity. While none of us profess to be God, all of us are human and so if we want to be more holy, if we want to be more like God (the best definition I know of holiness), we will strive to be as authentically human as we possibly can. After all anything that helps us to become more perfectly human makes us more like God, who in the person of Jesus is both perfectly human and perfectly divine. I believe this is why St. Madeline Sophie Barat considered education to be such a sacred work, for in teaching not only theology, but math, history, the sciences, the fine arts, athletics, extracurricular, etc. we help people become more perfectly human and in so doing we help them to be more like God, to grow in holiness.

     When we look at the Gospels we see that Jesus lives His life to give it away. In fact while all of us come into this world to live, Jesus was the one human person who came into this world to die. The Sacred Heart of Jesus teaches us that to be fully human requires us to hand over our life by serving others “for whoever wishes to save his life will loose it, but whoever looses his life for my sake will find it.”[1] The education we have received is a gift given to us. Like the loaves and fishes in today’s Gospel, Jesus wants to take the education He gave us and through the witness of our lives multiply it so we can share it with those who are less fortunate. You see, in sharing the gifts and talents God has blessed us with and which were honed through our education, we can help others become more human, thus leading them to greater holiness and in giving we so often receive more than we can give, and thus become more human, leading us to greater holiness.

     The measure of the success of your education is the measure to which you share the principles of your Sacred Heart education with those who never had the privilege to attend a Sacred Heart School. Your education enables you to give something to someone else and in so doing you truly own your Sacred Heart Education. So today as we gather here around the altar where our Lord shares Himself with us, we give thanks to God for the gift of a Sacred Heart education, we give thanks for those who have labored after the example of St. Madeline Sophie Barat to pass that education on to others and we ask God to conform us more closely to His Sacred Heart, so that in becoming more authentically human, we can become more like Him and offer our lives in service to Him and the world.

[1] Mt 16:25

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