● The next Entrance Exam will be given May 3rd. We generally encourage 7th graders interested in St. Michael’s Preparatory to take the exam on that day. Feel free to spread the word. Please have interested families contact Mrs. Christian at 949-858-0222 (ext. 237) to register.
● Third Quarter Oral Exams are this week: Monday through Thursday. Students are encouraged to study; parents are encouraged to pray.
● Students are dismissed for Easter Vacation after the Good Friday service (around 4:30 PM). They must return on Sunday, April 27, by 7:45 PM.
● Non-senior parents are reminded about their donation towards the graduation reception.
● There is a Moms’ and Dads’ Night Out scheduled for Sunday, April 27, at 6:30 PM in the Perpetual Help Room. See Rimini Esser for more details.
● The next baseball games are: Tuesday, April 15, at 6:00 PM [*Updated], at Bonita High School (La Verne, CA); and Wednesday, April 16, at 1:30 PM, at St. Michael’s.
Homily of the Week by a Norbertine Priest
“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM.” How can we explain this? What were the Pharisees supposed to see in the Son of Man lifted up? What are we to understand by it?
Whenever we hear challenging Scriptures in the liturgy, we might practically assume: “I’m not supposed to understand this,” or “I can’t possibly put that into practice.” In this verse, the Lord is telling us something about Himself that should make an impact on our lives. Something about Jesus being lifted up on the cross will proclaim to one and all that He is the Son of God. At the moment of supreme weakness and defeat, we are supposed to see the power and the glory of God.
Christ teaches us that His power is shown not by calling down fire from heaven, not by calling twelve legions of angels to assist Him, not even by destroying the Jerusalem Temple and rebuilding it in three days. Instead, His real power is shown by suffering freely and patiently accepted for love of us--and this combined with no threats of retaliation, no bitter words, no breath of hatred from His mouth. Only God can suffer like that. Only God can love so perfectly, so purely, people who can be so unappreciative.
It goes without saying that the Lord wants us to love and to suffer like Him as well. And if we say, “I can’t possibly put that into practice,” or “It’s a nice ideal; maybe someday I’ll make it,” to each of these reactions, the Lord answers, “No. This is for you. And you must put it into practice without delay.” What is the Lord asking of us?
Perhaps it is best explained by St Paul: “For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but … with you we shall live with him by the power of God.” In order to follow after the Lord in His Passion, we have to become weak. In order to experience God’s power in our lives, we have to become weak. Who wants to become weak? Who boasts of weakness? Aren’t we more often concerned about being right, being on top, being in control? Or avoiding people and situations that might make us feel awkward and unsure of ourselves? The idea of deliberately putting ourselves into a state of dependence and vulnerability seems to set us back quite a ways.
But Saint Paul explains what kind of people boast of their weakness and why--Christians: “I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, … for when I am weak, then I am strong.” To be weak for the sake of Christ does not mean making excuses for ourselves, or giving ourselves permission to sin, but it is to set our sights on the cross of Christ and say: I will imitate that Love. I know that I will fail and fall short again and again. But my Savior has invited me to come, to behold Him, and to imitate. There is no greater love than this and I claim it for myself. There is no higher standard of love than that of Christ on the cross. And there is no greater feeling of inadequacy or weakness than trying to imitate this love--and yet it is so salutary.
We all fall short. After taking barely one step in following the Lord we realize that we cannot be generous, poor, chaste, obedient, prayerful, prudent, courageous unless some power from on High descends to overshadow us. And God often allows us to fall short for the sake of teaching us a lesson that is hard for us to learn: Depend more on me. Think more about me. Stop thinking so much about yourself and your problems and weaknesses. Stop being surprised that you are weak. But be humble and you will be exalted.
Isn’t this a refrain of Lent? If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts. One of the hardest tasks we face is the conversion of our ways. Wouldn’t we all like to walk out of this church this morning feeling compelled to change for the better? To feel so inspired that we are willing to suffer anything and do anything for the Lord? It always seems to come to the same thing: Unless our hearts are touched, we won’t change. We’re looking for a compelling reason to give up what we’re used to, to refrain from what we don’t need, to reach out to others at inconvenience to ourselves. And until someone puts his finger on our hearts, it just won’t happen.
Perhaps the Lord is putting His finger on our hearts today in this way: Look again at me hanging on the cross and understand this: This is the only way to life, to love, to power, to glory. These gifts are mine to give. Be weak in me and dependent on me, and you will receive more power and glory than you can bear. You will receive the strength to love like me, which is the only strength worth having. And most importantly, when you truly feel how weak you are and how good and powerful I am, then you will know that I AM. And what I AM, by my grace, you too will be.
●For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.