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HOMILY DURING THE INAUGURATION MASS OF THE DOMINICAN INSTITUE OF THEOLOGY FOR 2020/2021 ACADEMIC SESSION HELD ON 2ND OCTOBER 2020
- October 12, 2020
- Posted by: Webmaster2019
- Category: Uncategorized
My dear brothers and sisters, we are here to begin a new academic session. As usual, we begin by entrusting ourselves and the work of our hands to God’s care and protection. We call upon the Lord at the beginning of every project we embark on because of our complete awareness that “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain, unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” Our toil and labour amount to nothing if the Lord does not walk with us.
We have gathered at this Holy Mass to ask the Lord to build the house for us and to protect the city for us. Only the Spirit of the Lord can enable us to accomplish the task ahead of us, only through the Spirit of the Lord can we build. It is not by our own power and might but by the Spirit. As much labour, skills and different professionals are involved in building a house, so it is in building the human person through education and in particular Catholic education. God is the chief builder but all of us are collaborators in this work. We cannot do without Him and He does not want to do the work without our full cooperation. We must allow our hearts to become the fitting dwelling places for the Holy Spirit.
Cooperating with God means that we have come to understand the vision of the Church about education. For the Church, it is about the formation of the whole person. The Church’s educational vision is at the service of the achievement of the highest goals of humanity. These goals are the harmonious development of the physical, moral/spiritual, emotional and intellectual abilities. All these are aimed at the gradual maturity of our sense of responsibility and attainment of true freedom. Freedom from ignorance, freedom from stupidity, freedom from superstition, freedom from inordinate pursuit of vanity and destructive tendencies, freedom from paying attention to what is worthless. Our education according to the Church’s vision helps us to pay attention only to what matters, namely, the truth that sets us free, the truth that is a person not just a concept, the truth about ourselves, the truth about our world and the truth about God. This truth is our Lord Jesus Christ. Our education brings us back to God the origin and giver of true wisdom and knowledge, gifts given by the Holy Spirit. This Catholic vision of education teaches us that intellectual life and holy life are not opposed to each other. If each is to be true to its name, it must go with the other. One is not truly intelligent who is morally bankrupt nor is one truly moral who is grossly ignorant, stupid and lazy to think. For us to be true to the vision of the Church about education which is faith and reason working together, we, both students and lecturers must be ready to work hard while we trust in God to bless the work of our hands.
The saying is true: “Trust in God but tie your camel tight.” According to the scholar Al-Timidhi, this saying is attributed to the prophet Mohammed who, when one day he saw a desert nomadic Arab who left his camel to wonder about without tying it on a tree questioned him as why he was doing this. The Arab replied that he was placing his trust in Allah and had no need to tie the camel. The prophet Mohammed then replied, “Tie your camel and place your trust in Allah. My dear friends, God’s grace is very important, He gives us His grace to aid us in every good endeavour we undertake but we must remember that His grace does not destroy our nature. It will not supply what our natural effort ought to supply.
As we call on the Holy Spirit to lead us as he led the Apostles, we pray the good Lord to bless us abundantly this academic session as we work together to achieve success. As students, we must make effort to shun any form of deception, do not deceive yourself, do not deceive others and do not allow yourself to be deceived. Trust in God but tie your camel tight by engaging yourself in serious studies because of your passion for discovering the truth not for passing benefits. Tie your camel tight by being punctual and regular to classes whether it is physical or virtual. Tie your camel tight by being punctual in submitting your assignments and papers. Tie your camel tight by engaging others in discussions for better clarifications and explanations of difficult subjects, a scholar is the one who does not work in isolation but engages others. Tie your camel tight by avoiding any form of examination malpractice and scandal. Tie your camel tight by shunning the distraction, deception and illusion of irresponsible use of internet and social networks. Tie your camel tight by avoiding too much relaxation and pleasure capable of ruining your future. Decide for yourself what you want your future to be like, decide for yourself what you want to do with the gifts the Holy Spirit has given you. There is no merit in having a gift without knowing it and there is no merit in knowing that you have a gift without using it. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit continue to intercede for us so that we may achieve great success, May God help and bless us as we look up to Him through Christ our Lord.