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Men fully alive, endowed with a passion for justice, and the skills for development.

“Pick Up Your Mat and Walk”

This is the Homily delivered by Fr. Johnny Go during the Grade School Baccalaureate Mass


It may strike you as strange, but our gospel today reminds me of a funny story that someone told me the other day.  

The joke’s about what happened to a popular teacher on Teachers’ Day.

  Her students loved her and wanted to express how much they appreciated her, so the night before they all worked hard to prepare a special gift for this teacher.

Anyway, that morning, the teacher waited eagerly for her students to arrive.

  She couldn’t wait for the surprises that she was sure her students had in 
store for her.

  The first student to arrive was the son of a florist.

  When the teacher was handed the gift, she shook it, held it over her
head, and said, “I bet I know what this is-—flowers!”

“That’s right!” said the boy.

“How did you guess?”

“Just a wild guess,” she said as she clapped her hands happily.

The next student was the daughter of a candy store owner’s daughter.

  Once again the teacher held the gift gingerly over her head, shook it, and
announced, “I bet I can guess what this is—it’s a box of candy!”

“That’s right! But how did you know?” asked the girl.

“Just a lucky guess,” said the teacher as she danced around the room.

She was really feeling very happy today. She sat back and waited for the next student.  It turned out to be the son of a liquor store owner.

  “A-ha!” the teacher thought.

“Exactly what I need to celebrate with my family tonight.”

She got the gift, shook the box and held it over her head, but noticed that it was leaking.

She touched a drop of the liquid and tasted it, “A-ha!” she declared.  


“No,” the boy replied.

The teacher tasted the drop again.

“A-ha! White wine?” she guessed.

”Nope,” the boy replied.

So the teacher said, “Ok, I give up! What kind of liquor is it?”

She opened the box—and out jumped a puppy.

talents-and-hard-work.pngNeedless to say, that teacher learned some valuable lessons that day.

  But in case you’re wondering, believe it or not, that joke has something to teach us 
today as well as we celebrate your completion of grade school.  

Today we celebrate two things: all your talents and your hard work—the way all of you were able to use your God‐given talents when you worked hard to accomplish all that you have accomplished not only this past school year, but the past nine years of your education.

Today is also a day of gratitude, the perfect occasion to say “thank you” to your teachers and parents.  And perhaps you are thinking: 

“How can we repay our teachers and parents?

What gift can we offer them in return for all their support and help these past years?”

magis_self-reliance.pngWell, forget the flowers.  Forget the chocolates.  

And most of all, spare us from the incontinent puppies.

Your teachers and parents don’t want any of these.  

If you would like to give your teachers and parents a gift of gratitude, this is what you can give them: Develop yourself!

Especially as you leave the Grade School and move on to High School, there will be new opportunities and new challenges to develop yourself. 

This is what we mean by MAGIS—-which is Latin, for “more, better”—-but not 
for yourself, but for God and for others.  

I would also like to give you one important suggestion that you will find helpful in high school: Self-reliance.

reaching-for-the-stars.pngIf in the Grade School, you relied a lot on your teachers and parents, as you go to high school, you should learn to rely on yourself—not only to get the work done, but also to discipline yourself and to motivate yourself.

That’s in a sense what our Lord said to the paralytic in the Gospel.

Jesus could have lifted the sick man up himself, but instead, he told 
him: “Pick up your mat and walk!”

And so my dear students, in a little while, you will be going up the stage 
to be congratulated on this important milestone in your life.  Remember this is only the beginning.  What is important is that you do all you can to become the best that you can be!
 Make the most of what you have! And share with those in greatest need!

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