Delivered at Notre Dame’s 168th University Commencement Ceremony, held May 19, 2013, in Notre Dame Stadium
I can’t help but feel on this Feast of Pentecost some writings of Karl Rahner, who said that the spirit is manifested and known in the devastation of Jesus’ heart on the cross. That has always fascinated me, the coming together of opposites. And I feel, and I want to accept this wonderful gift, if you will, of recognition not simply to those who flank me here, but on behalf of all the families and the siblings and the volunteer catechists who have made this a reality for so many.
I thank you, Father Jenkins, who represents Notre Dame, for recognizing the reality of this need. I have some six different sentences to say to our graduates, because I’m sure this mystery of presence and absence is in your families and in your friends.
May you be surprised by joy as you undertake your life’s work.
May you go beyond your comfort zone to help those who are needy and weak.
May you be blessed with faithful companions as I have been for your journey, and may you be as happy as we have been in building small parish-based communities of faith, inviting those who have intellectual or developmental disabilities, and may those in need become your friends.
And in the simple theology that we say, whenever we are happy to be together, Jesus is with us. I sense that is a reality today for you. Thank you.