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Ask a typical university student what he considers to be the most important event in all of history. He might offer responses such as “the invention of the printing press,” or “the Industrial Revolution,” or “the civil rights movement.”
It is a real honor to be with all of you here today, and I want to open with saying, congratulations to the class of 2019. I can already tell from that incredible, faith-filled, and articulate salutatorian speech how well educated and deep you are, not only in the ways of the world, but most importantly, in the ways of faith and in the heart of Jesus Christ.
A few years ago, a friend said to me: “At some point, everything becomes a TLA.” I admitted that I didn’t know what he was talking about. “What’s a TLA?” I asked. “Three Letter Acronym.” Although amused, I did not respond with: “LOL.” Of course, LOL had not yet risen to its present prominence, and even now people don’t type LOL, they use an “emoji.”
America is in the midst of what has been called a “transgender moment.” In the space of a year, transgender issues went from something that most Americans had never heard of to a cause claiming the mantle of civil rights.
Most Sundays I celebrate Mass at Saint Raymond of Peñafort Parish in Springfield, Virginia. During the Liturgy of the Word, as the priest is at the chair, I find myself gazing at the enormous, beautiful stained-glass window in the north transept, opposite the priest’s chair.
During his historic visit to Ireland in 1979, Pope St. John Paul II prophetically warned the 300,000 people gathered in Limerick for Mass: “Lay people today are called to a strong Christian commitment: to permeate society with the leaven of the Gospel, for Ireland is at a point of decision in her history.”