Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jan28,2009: St. George School Mass Homily (Catholic Schools Week)

Introduction to mass:
What is this that I'm holding in my hand? [an iPhone]

Did you know that Catholic education made iPhone possible? You're probably saying, 'huh?' Hold all your questions because I'm going to explain it during my homily.

How many of you have Nintendo at home? iPod? Computer? In order to play Nintendo, listen to iPod, and to email on computer, you need this one thing. What is this thing? (Let me give you a hint. Last year, when we had the hurricane, we could not play Nintendo, iPod or computer because we did not have this for a whole week). [Electricity]

Now where do we get electricity from? From the wall plug? From the electric lines? Where do they all lead to? We get it from power plants far from where we live. How about electricity that runs our Nintendo and iPod? From batteries right? But in order to generate electricity from power plant or from batteries, we need to understand laws of nature. We need to understand things like: why do lightnings strike? How does light bulb work? In order to answer these questions, we have to study. There are men and women who have gone before us who have learned how these things work, and they have left us instructions on how to understand it. I'm going to introduce to you three men who helped us understand how electricity work. Two are from France--André Marie Ampere, Charles Coulomb. And one is from Italy--Alessandro Volta. From these three men, we get the words, 'Amp,' 'Coulomb,' and 'Volt.' All three men were Catholic, and they received Catholic education.

Why is Catholic education important in being a scientist, for example? Well, we say every Sunday the following, "I believe in God, the Father the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth." We believe that Heavenly Father created the universe with order and harmony. Things in the universe do not happen by chance or by accident. And God gave us brain and intelligence to learn about how the universe works. And we quickly discover that God placed laws to govern how the world operates. André Ampere discovered a law between electricity and magnetic field. He said, the magnetic field in space around an electric current is proportional to the electric current which serves as its source. Huh? It's hard for us to understand what he discovered right now. But this law he discovered goes into designing power lines, electronic equipment, batteries, and light bulbs. So without this law, Nintendo and iPod would not be possible.

But there is even more important reason why Catholic education is important. It's one thing to know these laws and formulas. For what purpose are we going to use this knowledge? Jesus taught us that there are two laws in the bible. First, love God. Second, love your neighbor. Everything that we learn should be for the service of others. The law of electricity that Andre Ampere discovered was for making our lives easier. Can you imagine, at home you click on the switch on the wall, and there is no light?

It's important not only putting our learning for service of others. It is equally important to strive to live a holy life. Have you heard of St. Vincent de Paul Society? It was Andre Ampere’s devotion at daily Mass that inspired a young Frédéric Ozanam to devote himself more earnestly to his Catholic Faith. Ozanam was going through a period of doubt and, while visiting a church in Paris, he saw the great scientist, Andre Ampere, praying fervently before the altar. He found Ampere there again the next day. Soon he struck up a friendship with the scientist and even lived with his family for over a year. When he was only twenty years old Ozanam founded the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He was beatified by John Paul II in 1997.

So what's the lesson that Andre Ampere teaches us? What we learn and how we pray are all for serving others and for the greater glory of God.