Monday, August 8, 2011

Third catechesis for World Youth Day

The big event is coming soon... Today, I thought I'd share with you the content of the third catechesis or faith-lesson I will be giving to French-speaking participants at the upcoming World Youth Days in Madrid. The specific theme of this third catechesis will be “Witnesses to Christ in the World”.

People who come to faith in Jesus-Christ often testify that their lives have been transformed by that faith. They speak of new purpose and new meaning, leading to a hope and a joy they had never known before. We can only imagine what the world would be like if all people came to that faith. No longer would our society be characterized by selfishness, broken families, hatred between individuals and nations, and a great deficit of love, joy and hope. Instead, in a world where individuals and nations accepted God’s presence, worshiped him in truth and listened to his voice, a civilization of love would flourish, a civilization in which the dignity of all is respected, and communion increases, with all its benefits.

It is such of vision of individual lives and communities transformed that lies at the heart of Christians’ motivations to share the treasure of their faith. Every baptized person is called to this mission. The call to evangelize is not reserved to just a few members of the Church. It is a command and a grace for all the baptized.

Moreover, it is not possible to really live out one’s faith in Christ without bearing witness because, as John Paul II once said, “faith is strengthened when it is given to others”. Young people must be active participants in this new era of missionary activity. Jesus Christ is calling on them to devote their lives to witnessing to God’s love to all people, and in a special way to their own contemporaries.

To evangelize is to allow Jesus Christ to be seen through our words and actions. We are also called to speak out explicitly about our faith and to witness to God’s action in our lives. We are encouraged to transform our behaviour so that the face of Jesus Christ can be seen.

Then we will work with Jesus by serving the world generously with special attention to the poor. This is how young people will be able to play their part in bringing about a more incisive Christian presence, like “salt of the earth and light of the world” (cf Mt 5:13-14). They will help to bring about a new humanity and a revolution of love.

There have been, and still are, many Christians who are living witnesses of the power of faith that is expressed in charity. They have been peacemakers, promoters of justice and workers for a more humane world, a world in accordance with God’s plan. With competence and professionalism, they have been committed in different sectors of the life of society, contributing effectively to the welfare of all. The charity that comes from faith led them to offer concrete witness by their actions and words. Young people today are called to walk in their footsteps, following their example, building on that beautiful heritage.

We need to realize that Christ is not a treasure meant for us alone; he is the most precious treasure we have, one that is meant to be shared with others. In our age of globalization, young people are called to be witnesses of Christian hope all over the world. Faithful, joy-filled hope is one of the greatest needs of our world today.

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