I read this morning about an engaging young lady who will graduate from Notre Dame University today. She’s Brennan Bollman, and she’s this year’s Valedictorian. She’s got a 4.0 and more than that she’s focused like a laser beam on Catholic Social Teaching and the Gospel. I first learned of her earlier today from an editorial piece on HuffingtonPost.com. I did some research and found out that she’s not only headed to medical school, but that she worked at a Catholic Worker house and like me she’s Irish. What a wonderful combination? The best part of it all is that she gets it. By “it”, I mean the Gospel. The Gospel is not about kissing up to the rich and powerful and subsidizing their failures. The Gospel is about reaching down and out to help those around us and especially the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.
My favorite quote from the Gospels and one that animates my life is taken from Matthew 25.
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Godspeed to Brennan and all of her classmates.