Today at 2 p.m. ET in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Mr. Matt Kuczora, C.S.C., made his final profession of religious vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross. Now he is one of the spiritual sons of Blessed Basil Moreau forever.
Receiving Matt's final vows and presiding at the Mass was Fr. David T. Tyson, C.S.C., Provincial Superior of the United States Province. Fr. Tyson graciously shared his powerful homily at the Mass with us at Spes Unica, and we now share it with you. It is a deep reflection on the meaning of the evangelical counsels in our world.
Today, we gather here in this Basilica: Matt's parents and family, his brothers and sisters in Holy Cross, his friends and colleagues, as well as those who travelled here to represent the Holy Cross community in Mexico and of Parroquia Nuestra Madre de la Luz where Matt will minister to the People of God. We come to support him as he stands before the Lord to pledge his life commitment as a disciple of Christ by living that discipleship through the evangelical counsels. We are here to support him as he makes his perpetual profession in Holy Cross gathered with his brothers with whom he pledges to work for the mission of the Lord, doing it together in order to build up the kingdom of God. The readings chosen by Matt for this liturgy speak poignantly to what he is about to do here.
Our first reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah describes the call of the young Jeremiah to be the mouthpiece of the Lord to His people. The Lord declared to Jeremiah that he had been chosen and dedicated before he was even born to be a prophet to the nations. Quite understandably, Jeremiah, very unnerved, pleads to the Lord that he is too young, and not only that he is too young, but that he is totally unprepared. The Lord's response, though reassuring to Jeremiah, is noticeably quite persistent. He dismisses the young man's concerns about his youth and ability. The Lord's mission is then revealed to Jeremiah, and he is told by the Lord to trust in Him for He would be with to deliver him.
Matt's journey in discipleship led him to reinforce the promises of his Baptism when he made the decision to live according to the evangelical counsels in August of 2008. In these three years of casting his lot with his brothers in Holy Cross, Matt has heard the Lord's call of choosing him in a deeply profound way through his life as a religious. He has embraced the graces of our life, as well as the Cross of Christ that we are called to embrace as our only Hope.
Matt chose a reading from Matthew's Gospel that illustrates the mandate placed before every baptized Christian who claims discipleship with Christ. It also most vividly illustrates the choice that is publically made when one professes to live according to the evangelical counsels. In this encounter between Jesus and the rich young man, we see the clear and unequivocal difference between that which binds us by the laws of the world, and that which binds us by the Law of Christ.
The reading from Matthew goes on to show that the teaching of Jesus warns of the dangers that great possessions can present. The Gospel does not say that those with many possessions are turned away from, or shut out of, eternal life. However, it does tell us that these things can lead to attitudes that block us from true discipleship. With material goods or possessions like status and power, we can be lured into a false independence from the things of eternity, including God. We can be shackled to things that in the end gain us nothing. We can forget that we will lose what we keep and gain what we give away. We can fall prey to the old saying, "Enough is always a little more than a person has."
Matt, what you are about to profess is of great witness to us. It is a great gift to the Church. You have walked with us for these past few years and now join the ranks of those whose footsteps form the path for all those who will come in the years ahead. The legacy of those who have gone before you is now yours to preserve and to share with the future. Remember, too, that today is a beginning, not an end. I remind you of what our Constitutions tell us: "We pronounce our vows in a moment, but living them for the sake of the kingdom is the work of a lifetime. That fulfillment demands of us more than the mere wish, more even than the firm decision. It demands the conversion of our habits, our character, our attitudes, our desires" (Constitution VI).