On Monday, April 4, the Regis High School community gathered at the Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola for the Liturgy for the Easter Season. Below is a reprint of Fr. Ian Gibbons, S.J.'s homily delivered at the Mass.
T.S. Eliot wrote in the "Little Gidding" Quartet,
We shall not cease from exploration,
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
The end is a new beginning. We return to school in Eastertide, with Christ arisen. We also celebrate the Annunciation, the very beginning of Christ's mission. The time when Mary first said, Yes! We can aspire to such a Yes.
This is actually my second tenure at a Jesuit high school named Regis. Sixteen year ago, I began working at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado. Part of my job was moderating the student government, and one of my first major tasks was to help plan and operate the Regis Raiders' homecoming. As a newbie at Regis, I wanted to program the biggest and greatest event in Raider history. The theme was Regis Reggae, and the title was taken from Bob Marley’s opus, No Woman No Cry. Picture this: a three level dance floor with an outside tiki torch lounge overlooking the sunset on the Rocky Mountains. As we'd say from my time in in Boston, the dance was wicked tight.
So, I came home from the dance tear-down at about 2 a.m. and had to be back at school for another program the next morning. Then, the next week-end, I was expected to work all day Sunday at the Regis Open House. I told my Jesuit superior that I should get out of this job, as I performed so awesomely the week before. Fr. Burshek didn't agree, so I spent all that Sunday welcoming prospective students.
As you might imagine, I was tired and angry, and I whinged constantly to the other faculty member in the room. Surely, I thought, she would sympathize with me, right? Not so much. Instead, she performed for me one of the greatest acts of kindness in my life. Her challenge caused me to stop complaining and take stock of my attitude.
I don't know if anyone has ever challenged you to the point of giving you serious pause, but this faculty member did so to me. She stated, very simply and clearly, "Yes, Ian, you work hard, but you’'re either a Jesuit or you're not. You're either a Jesuit... OR... you're not."
If I'm a Jesuit, I should act like it. If I claim to fall under the standard of the Magis and the Prayer for Generosity, I should live it. Wicked tight dances don’t make me a good Jesuit; Living for the greater glory of God does. Epic dances are just a fringe benefit.
If you're a Jesuit student, shouldn't you act like it? The Grad at Grad should be your norm, not your ideal. Being a Man for Others should be who you are, both here in Mass and traveling home from school. You're a Jesuit student, regardless of whether it's Monday morning or Friday night.
We faculty, staff, and administrators are all Jesuit educators. Shouldn't we live like this equally and constantly, whether it's Tuesday afternoon or Sunday morning? We're either Jesuit faculty... or... we're not.
If we know who we are, and I am certain that we know this, I challenge myself and each of you to prove our identity in the final two months of the academic year. Eastertide runs through early June, coinciding with our school calendar through final exams. Let's spend this time proving who we are before both God and each other through our actions and our attitudes. I propose the following:
Mary was invited to say yes, and so are we. Our responses come through our words and our actions. As my friend said, we're either Jesuit students and educators,... or we're not. And we most certainly are.