Four THOUSAND high schoolers are on their way. Four thousand high-energy, over-caffeinated, spent-four-hours-on-a-bus, in-desperate-need-of-fidget-spinners teenagers and their patient chaperones are about to arrive at the campus of Missouri State University.
Because amazing things are about to happen at the first weekend of Steubenville Mid-America:
The prayer pins, the t-shirts, Frisbee on the quad, and dare I say it: the Cross Clap!
All of these contribute to radical environment that makes the Steubenville Conference an entity all its own.
But, out of all the things that make Steubenville great, one thing won’t make the list of memorable moments for the attendees of the Conference: the volunteer Mass. At 10am on Friday morning, just a few short hours before all of the excitement that is SteubySTL, the scores of volunteers who make it happen gather together for the most important they will do this weekend: pray.
Newly ordained Bishop Mark Rivituso of the Archdiocese of St. Louis celebrated Mass and preached on today’s Gospel, (MT 10:16-23), in which Jesus challenges us to be His witnesses:
“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.”
While the homily may not have been heard by the teens, the message was perfect heading into the first week of Steubenville Mid-America. It tells of how after drawing near to Jesus, he sends us out to share the Gospel with others. We are not called to be Christian witnesses just one weekend of the summer at a cool retreat. Not just at youth group. Not just in our families. But in our every day lives: when we go grocery shopping, when we get haircuts, when we encounter people in spans of time that seem too short to share the message of Jesus.
This weekend we will have to opportunity to let the Lord transform our hearts. With that grace, we are commissioned to share that grace with all we encounter.
The band, the speakers, the worship, Adoration.
Yes, amazing things are going to happen this weekend, and the Lord wants to use these things to transform us, so that by his grace, we may go out and transform others. Let us prepare ourselves to be spiritually fed this weekend, but with the foresight to not let it end there. Lord, you have brought us here today. When you send us forth, may we bring you with us – always.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us!