Therese Douglass ’21, ’23 M.A.

“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

Considering that today is my graduation day, the image of being sent into the world is remarkably timely. Needless to say, this whole year has been hectic and trying as I experienced my senior year in the course of a global pandemic. My grounding through it all was the belief that God would send me where I was needed most after graduation.

I am very grateful to continue my education at Notre Dame on the graduate level while answering the call to serve the Church in the Echo Graduate Service Program. Today’s gospel, however, reveals a fallacy in my thinking about graduation. Throughout my undergraduate experience, I had conceived of graduation as one of those few pivotal ceremonies through which God would send me out into the world. And, once sent, I would do my best to pursue holiness wherever it led me.

But such an approach is not necessarily reflective of the words that we read today. Jesus tells his apostles that he sends them now, in the present moment. His message is not a recognition of a previous action nor a foretelling of a future one, it is a description of a continuous reality. And this is a reality with which we as Christians must still engage. God does not use just a few ceremonies to send us out into the world, rather Jesus unceasingly desires to send us into the world and is always present to help us along that journey.

And with this in mind, I recognize that graduation from Notre Dame is an important day, but my vocation to grow in holiness neither begins nor ends with this ceremony. Rather, every moment of everyday we have a choice to say yes, thereby allowing God to send us into the world.