Last night I had a delightful celebration with a group of high school graduates from Cheyenne. They and their family and friends gathered for a 5:15 Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral. The opening line of the Gospel was a marvelous teaching moment for this year’s graduates.

“The disciples were on the way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus went ahead of them.” (Mark 10:32)

Every graduate is certainly an a journey. They have just completed one of life’s major milestones. They have big plans for their life’s journey. The invitation of the Gospel: Let your way be the way.

They were going up to Jerusalem…  Graduates, know where you are going.  Whether you have figured it out yet or not, we are all on our way to the new and eternal Jerusalem, which is heaven.  The symbol of this new and eternal Jerusalem in the world today is the Church.  Regardless of where your journey takes you, stay active in your faith, and in your faith community.

Jesus  told his disciples that He is the way.  He instructs us that the way is narrow that leads to the Kingdom.

“…and Jesus went ahead of them.”  Graduates, follow Jesus.  One of the greatest graces in my life is that I have always stayed close to Jesus, and active in the Church.  Even though I had my own plans when I graduated from high school, I was still praying, still going to Mass regularly, and still active in my parish.  By the way, all those plans I had when I graduated…none of them became a reality!  Perhaps for a time, but they were temporary, compared to the long-term plan of the Lord.

Graduates, know where you are going.  Know Who you are following, and you will always find your way…you will ultimately find the way.

Graduates, be realistic about the challenges that await those who follow Jesus.  As the passion and cross awaited Jesus in Jerusalem, it also awaits those who follow Jesus.  We must be realistic about the cross, otherwise, when it surfaces, and it will, if we are not prepared, we will become discouraged and give up on Jesus, and His Church, and faith.  But know that the cross always leads to Life.

It is OK to have your dreams, and to ask the Lord for your dreams to come true.  But always leave room for God’s dream for you to become a reality.  For when God’s dream comes true for you, then you find true life, joy, peace and fulfillment.  In the Gospel, James and John were not afraid to ask that they be seated at His right hand in heaven.  Of course, Jesus took that moment to remind them that the greatest among them is the one who serves the rest.

Graduates, love those to whom God sends you.  Serve those whom God places in your life’s journey.  Expect a cost in such love and service.  Expect as well to find the Lord, and in the process, find your deepest self!

Congratulations graduates of 2013!  Good luck, God bless, and God speed your journey!