The other day I attended the graduation of 3 of my grandchildren, Louise and the twins Lynne and Leena in pre-K. It was a joyous occasion for us and the parents of the graduating children and the grandparents. I saw many grandparents there, and they were as excited as I was.
Everybody got awards. The teacher, Mrs. Sheila called them "The Silly Awards." Some samples: For Adrienne - "Crazy Straw Award - for being crazy about learning and sipping up knowledge." For Leena - "The Yo-Yo Award - for always giving her hand to help the teachers." For Lynne - "The Sunglasses Award - for always being bright and doing her best."
At the school year-end closing Mass, Joey, who is in first grade and an A-student, accompanied the students at the closing song on the piano and for this the Principal awarded him with a recognition at her closing remarks.
In another school my grandchildren also got awards: Leila - for being a consistent Principal's Lister, and Lani - for being always so sweet.
It is graduation time once again for schools of all levels -- pre-K to graduate school. Awards are given for outstanding achievements and accomplishments. It is not only in educational institutions that awards are given. There are the Oscar Awards, the Emmy Awards, and many other awards, given in recognition for efforts and outstanding performance in things they are or do.
Awards, rewards and public recognition remind me of what St. Paul said: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one." (1Cor 9:24-25)
Jesus Himself gives us a list of awards/rewards in the Beatitudes:
Being poor in spirit - the kingdom of heaven
Those who mourn - being comforted
Being meek - inheriting the land
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness - satisfaction
Being merciful - being shown mercy
Being clean of heart - seeing God
Being peacemakers - being called children of God
Those persecuted for being good - the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5)
Jesus tells us also about the ultimate award, to be given when we face Him:
"To those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.'" ( Matthew 35:34)
What award can be greater than this?
May we all receive this award.