Red Mass 2021

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The Lord calls all of us to be saints. He calls all of us to holiness. I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before: the great teaching of the Second Vatican Council on the universal call to holiness. The Council Fathers stated the following: “Strengthened by so many and such great means of salvation, all the faithful, whatever their condition or state, are called by the Lord – each in his or her own way – to that perfect holiness by which the Father himself is perfect.” Each believer must discern his or her own path to holiness. And to do so according to one’s state in life, including one’s job or profession. I’d like to focus on this call to you who are members of the legal profession. Of course, you have a great model and example in your patron saint, Thomas More. I invite you to think about how you, as lawyers and judges, can be credible witnesses to Jesus and His Gospel. You are called to be Christ’s disciples not only at home or at church, but also in your law offices and courtrooms. You are called to witness to Christ to your co-workers, your clients, and even your opponents by your goodness, by your integrity, and by your charity. The call to holiness includes working in the legal profession with integrity and skill in the service of your clients and also by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain. The graces of your Baptism and Confirmation are not to be put aside when you go to work nor the Holy Spirit left outside when you enter the courtroom.

The path to holiness always involves in some way the cross, heeding our Lord’s words in the Gospel today about denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily in following Jesus. Our Lord says: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Your patron, St. Thomas More, certainly heeded those words as he gave his life for the sake of Jesus. Jesus said: “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”  I’m sure you know the famous quip of Thomas More in the play, “A Man for All Seasons.” More’s former friend Richard Rich gave false testimony against him at his trial and was rewarded with an appointment as Attorney General of Wales. St. Thomas More said to him: “It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world… but for Wales, Richard?” How often we can be tempted by the things of this world, by money, by ambition, by popularity, and by worldly gain and success. If we succumb, we can lose our souls in the