GAUDEAMUS IGITUR – LET US REJOICE: IT IS GRADUATION DAY!

Once upon a time, (1954) the above song was made famous by Mario Lanza in a movie – THE STUDENT PRINCE Without going into the whole story, this particular song celebrated the closure of a meaningful experience by a prince who was being called back to assume the throne. This was a bittersweet experience – filled with great joy while life as he knew it was coming to an end.

Pentecost is in a very real way, Graduation Day for the Disciples of Jesus. Pentecost is the culmination of a journey of faith – a time of learning about life. Pentecost actually begins in Advent – the anticipation of God entering the world. We read the story of Mary and Joseph, and Jesus born of God and human flesh. The story tells of Jesus coming out of Egypt, following in the steps of Moses. The story continues, showing Jesus, growing in age and wisdom as a student, contemplating the words of the Scriptures; aware of the prophets and teachers and their place in the journey of his people. We hear the stories of his sharing his wisdom in the synagogue, and proclaiming the day of God as present in the moment.Jesus was prepared to accept his role as a teacher and prophet.

As Jesus gathered his disciples (students) around him, he deliberately chose a diverse group – a motley group if you will. As they walked the journey with Jesus, they struggled to grasp what he was getting at. He used parables and stories to explain his actions and lessons. As prophets in past times, he challenged those in authority; those who held offices of power. He challenged them to understand their call to service of all; that they were all children of the one God; that they were connected and needed each other. He talked with the unclean – those who were public sinners in the eyes of the law. He talked with women, something totally against the cultural norms of the time, as it is even today in so many ways. In that patriarchal world, women were (are) not accepted as the equals of men. Jesus, walked and talked as a prophet, an he was well aware of the reception of anger and violence that had been inflicted on the prophets of their history. Those in power react very negatively when their positions are threatened. He could see that he would indeed be killed but he had faith – he trusted in the Spirit of Life.

The Disciples followed Jesus, watching him heal the sick, the disenfranchised and discarded. He spoke and ate with gentiles and those who were excluded. He demonstrated that God’s mercy and love was not constrained. He reminded his students that God created them, male and female, in God’s image they were created and God saw them as VERY GOOD. God was love and creation was and is an act of love – of intimacy. Jesus taught them by washing their feet, against their objections. He taught by sharing the passover meal with them and declaring that no matter what happened to him, he would be with them always. As they would gather in the future to share the meal and to remember, He would be alive within their memories and their hearts; giving them life. He then instructed them to do the same for others; that they were not called to be masters, but servants – even to the point of dying for others as a shepherd would die for his flock.

Jesus, the teacher – the Rabbi – used words, stories and parables. At the same time, he used actions – he lived what he taught – and this above all challenged those addicted to power and wealth. He had to be eliminated because he was a major threat to the accepted way of doing things. He was turning the world upside down and inside out. He was a friend to the mentally ill, the poorest of the poor, the immigrants, those who were scorned by polite society.  He was finally brought to trial and executed. His students went into hiding, afraid and not yet realizing what they had learned along their journey together. This was time for their Final Exams. As the story goes, within three days, they experienced Jesus come alive within their midst. These students, men and women alike, pondered and reached out in trust and found Jesus alive in their midst. He was with them, teaching them that death had no dominion over life; life conquers death and the light conquers the darkness. The light dawned on them and they experienced that reality of Jesus in their midst, calling them out into the world to proclaim God the faithful lover.

We read of the story of the disciples watching Jesus disappear from their midst and two men standing there, asking the question; why are you looking up to heaven? Jesus is here – where you walk and live. This is your world; get busy and proclaim Jesus as the living word come alive by your actions. It is one thing to study the books and listen to the lectures. How do you put into action what you have learned? How do you demonstrate love for the strangers – the immigrants – those feared and despised by those in power – and polite society?  What price are you willing to pay? Anything at all? Or are you hiding in the upper room, watching the soap operas? Pentecost is the day of Graduation – the day when it all comes together an finally we begin to understand – and then to put what we have learned into practice. A Doctor or Lawyer, a Football Player or Cook, a Parent or Classroom Instructor studies for years in order to accomplish great goals. To be a husband or wife; a parent is to understand that we are both students and teachers throughout our lifetimes. We never learn it all, but we have to understand just that: When we think that we finally have all of the answers, we discover that they change the questions.

Let us therefore rejoice,

While we are young;

After our youth,

After aa troublesome old age,

The ground will hold us.

Our life is brief,

It wil shortly end;

Death comes quick,

Cruelly snatches us;

No one is spared. 

Long live our fellowship,

Long live the studious!

May truth and honesty thrive,

Flourish with our fraternity,

And our homeland be prosperous

May our alma mater thrive

that which educated us;

Dear ones and comrades, W

Who we let scatter afar,

Let us assemble.

Gaudeamus Igitur – Let us rejoice: The Spirit of the Lord is with us and gives us life, drawing all together as one, united in Jesus who recognized His unity with God the creator and that we are called to share all that we have. Love God with all of your being and love one another as yourselves.

 

 

 

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