Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) administrators, faculty, staff, and students gathered in the Issam Fares Hall, main campus, to attend the Opening Mass for Academic Year 2021-22 on Monday, October 25, 2021.
NDU President Fr. Bechara Khoury presided over the Divine Liturgy, assisted by NDU Vice-President for Administration and Finance (VPAF), Abbot Semaan Abou Abdo; Abbot Boutros Tarabay, former Superior General for the Mariamite Maronite Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Fr. George Debli, University Chaplain, and NDU Choir Director, Fr. Khalil Rahme, who also directed the NDU choir voicing the mass.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered for the repose of the souls of all the people related to the NDU community who were recently lost.
In his homily, Fr. Khoury mentioned a verse from Matthew 13:24-30,
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
The field of wheat according to Fr. Khoury is NDU, and the workers are the NDU community members who are busy thinking of how to safeguard a plentiful and prosperous cultivation.
Christ also explained to the workers that patience is a virtue and requires the right time to remove the weeds. Similarly, Fr. Bechara highlighted how the current challenges that both, the country and University are facing make way for shortcuts that can hinder the long-awaited “wheat” or benefits.
He later focused on three key elements: being awake and aware while waiting for change to unfold to learn efficiently from the challenges during this transient period. The second element is haste in casting judgement, which does not guarantee a positive outcome similar to Christ’s disciples who lost their way in comparison to those who waited and witnessed the Truth in the Resurrection of Our Lord. The third element is about judgement and cultivation which is not only about identifying right from wrong, but about undergoing a daily needed self-assessment and evaluation.
Fr. Bechara later concluded by explaining that the Opening Mass is not about spreading hope for the upcoming academic year. Instead, it aims to highlight the maturity and the responsibility that NDU currently assumes. He also thanked all the Abbots who once served as Superior Generals and reminded all those present how NDU surmounted all the previous challenges as witnessed by the present Abbots.
He confirmed that he will carry the torch of strength and positivity forward because together, all challenges will be overcome.