Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sights Sights and sounds this morning at Tinicum Wildlife Refuge included a pair of cardinals calling out to one another from opposite sides of the stream, the kingfisher swooping along the water surface, a couple of elusive warblers including a wing-barred one with yellow chin and the olive blue back, perhaps a yellow. And also a small bird with a speckled face that I could not see very well.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

You will see the University Hawk elsewhere in these pages. This is the Prep hawk holding on to a boy from the class of 2022. The picture taken on an ideal sunny day, the last of summer at the Prep-LaSalle game. Our cheering fans were less happy at the conclusion of the game. Some true football afficionados let me know that we played poorly. But for a fan like me..well I enjoyed watching our team execute at least some good plays.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Michael Magree and Bruce Maivelett join me on the Prep steps for an opening day photo.
My nephew Matthew joined in dodgeball but I kept my distance. He is in the middle.
And a couple of unnamed freshmen arrive having been greeted by upperclassmen.
Young Brothers of the Prep
(Welcomed at Mass in Church of the Gesu at SJP, September 4, 2008)

“Do not be afraid; I will make you fishers of people.” Luke 5: 10

Young Brothers of the Prep: Today your past life is over. Today you begin a new adventure. You are a Prepper. You have been called with the many who considered the Prep and you have been chosen with the few who begin this adventure with you today.

The one who chooses you has known you from your birth. He is the Lord Jesus and, make no mistake, he knows you today and he is offering you a challenge.

He offers you a challenge as he challenged men 2000 years ago, especially his new friend Simon Peter on the shores of the Lake Galilee.

Picture this from our reading today: two fishing boats along the shore. To anyone except Jesus the two boats look exactly the same. But one belongs to Peter and it is this one boat and not the other that Jesus chooses for his purposes. From this boat Jesus preaches to the crowds along the seaside. In this boat he sends Peter out for the miraculous catch of fish.

Young Brothers. Today the Lord Jesus chooses you and your boat, you and your gifts , for his purposes just as on that day long ago when he chose Peter and his boat, Peter and his gifts for the purposes of the kingdom of God.

Jesus chooses you for his work and he chooses the Prep to be a place of learning and growth focused on his future with you.

Over the next four years as you get to know better this Lord Jesus who has chosen you, he will present you with life lessons about courage, and loyalty and integrity, just as he did with Peter and his other followers.

Courage: It will take courage to admire in others the talents that you wished you had and courage to step forward and use the talents that you do have. It will take courage to stand up for what is right day in and day out sometimes in front of people, even perhaps other Preppers, who will challenge you and try to lure you into dishonesty or prejudice, or to a false comfort with drugs or sex or to a half-hearted attitude about your studies and school activities. It will take courage to admit your mistakes or to seek help when you need it.

Loyalty: It will take loyalty to support your friends when they are in trouble or when others ridicule them or tear them down. It will take loyalty to continue to be a worthy son to your parents and a good brother to your siblings. It will take loyalty to continue to be faithful to the practice of your religion when you are filled with questions and doubts.

Integrity: Finally it will take integrity to be a person worthy of trust at home and at the Prep. It will take integrity to stand up and even to speak out against cheating and lying even when you know that you can get away with it. It will take integrity to speak honest answers to your parents and to your teachers when you face some tough questioning.

These challenges are now a part of your life just as they were for the Simon Peter introduced in today’s story. He was not so good at meeting these challenges. He failed to be courageous when Jesus invited him to walk across the water. He failed to be loyal when Jesus talked about the suffering to come. He lied about his friendship with Jesus when he feared going to prison with him. But he came to know his faults and place them within the framework of Jesus’ love for him. It is that love, win or lose, success or failure, that will sustain you. It will sustain you when you can walk proudly as a man for others and it will sustain you when you must admit your sins.

At the Prep each morning we will be praying together in thanksgiving and for a blessing on that day. And during the day I may see you in the corridor; I will not so much want to know your name. But I may ask you how you are stepping forward and challenging yourself to greater courage, loyalty and integrity. I hope that you will have a ready example, some action that has helped you measure yourself against the ideals that we set for you.

I hope to be here on your last day in 2012 to shake your hand and present you with your diploma. It will be a sign that you have succeeded not only academically but a sign that you are well on your way to becoming men up to the challenge that Jesus presents to you today. Nothing, I assure, young brothers, will make you happier than to become men like Peter who offered his boat and then his talents in the service of the Lord Jesus and his brothers and sisters.