One of the first things you notice when you enter the gymnasium at De Smet Jesuit High School are the championship banners. There are literally dozens of them lining the walls, hailing the stellar seasons of bygone teams in basketball, soccer and many other sports.
Now, you won’t find the names of my sons — both De Smet alums — listed on any of the banners. They had the misfortune of inheriting their father’s athletic genes. (Ahem!) Even so, I experienced a triumphant homecoming of sorts on Christmas Eve, when our eldest son packed ’em in for another venerable school tradition.
That would be the De Smet Alumni Christmas Eve Mass, with Fr. Chris Schroeder, S.J. presiding. But while the gym really WAS full, I guess it’s stretching the truth a bit to say they were coming to see my boy light up the scoreboard.
As his Dad, though, it did my heart good to see the place filled to near-capacity…with Chris helping us all celebrate a homecoming victory far more significant than any of those for which banners have been hung in the gym over the years.
The Word Made Flesh…knocking on the door of our hearts…not just at a point in time 2,000+ years ago…but even now, today.
In his homily, Chris reminded his fellow alums and their families how important it is that we extend Christ an invitation to enter in. ‘If Jesus isn’t born again tonight, in each and every one of our hearts, we’re missing the whole point of the celebration,’ he said.
Then Chris quoted St. Iranaeus, a 2nd century theologian, who noted that ‘God became what we are…so that we might become what God is.’
It’s a startling gift, if you take time to ponder it.
As Chris said:
‘We have an opportunity in Jesus, not just to be grateful for a savior, not just to seek forgiveness for our sins…but an opportunity to change…to grow…to be something different…something even more glorious than we were before. If we allow Jesus to be born in us, we will become the crowning glory of God – no longer desolate or forsaken, but a light to those around us, shining with joy.’
I think I felt a bit of that light being born in me on Christmas Eve 2014. The gymnasium at De Smet Jesuit High School never felt more like home.
Merry Christmas to all!
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.