November 11, 2018

Friends,

I had the privilege of celebrating Mass at Boston College high School on All Saints Day. There are 1,600 students (including Grades 7 through 12). This was my first time being present for any of their liturgies. As you may know, B.C. High is in an ideal location beside UMass/Boston, and their facilities are equal to the best. It’s a real challenge to prepare a message that we hope is meaningful to teenagers in 2018. I couldn’t help but think, while I was there, that it is no longer what we are taught that is important, but what we believe. We are taught many things about God as we grow up, but if we don’t believe it, what difference does it make?

There are a lot of things I was taught about God that I no longer believe, and there are a lot of things I believe today about God that no one has taught me. I’ve come to my own conclusions (you may disagree with my conclusions, but you can’t question my passion). If I only believe because I was taught something, and I never do my own investigation and research, then there may be very little passion in my beliefs.  If, on the other hand, I invest the time in deciding what I really believe and why, then my faith life will be vibrant and exciting.  

Jesus knew that if his disciples did not believe what he taught, that his story would die when they died. If they were convinced of the truth of his story, then they would pass that truth on to the next generation. Last week, we honored the Saints who believed so strongly, that they told Jesus’ story over and over. As a result of their passionate storytelling, we are Catholic Christians today. We also remembered all of our own deceased loved ones on All Souls Day (November 2). These are the men and women in our own families who believed so strongly, that they passed the story on to our generation. I am so grateful to my parents and grandparents for their determination and commitment to the Catholic Faith. If they had ceased to pass on the story, I might very well not be in the position I am in today.

As I looked out into the congregation at B.C. High on November 1, I realized that every one of these 1,600 young men are being taught theology in class by women and men who believe. These faculty members are teaching these boys what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Hearing the story is one thing; believing it is another. Every single one of them then becomes responsible for making that story their own in such a way, that they are passionate about being able to speak about it and convince others of its truth. Every one of them has that privilege. Again, it’s not what they taught, but what they believe. If anyone of them ceases to believe, then the story ends with that family, because their children and grandchildren may never hear it. That reality can be heartbreaking for so many of us who never imagined that our loved ones would not be raised in the Church. Each of us is so vital to
all of us.

Enjoy Life!
Fr. Coyne

 

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