FR. ANDREW WRITES:
Young people are often portrayed negatively in the media, which is unfair, as the majority are: kind, enthusiastic, hardworking, conscientious, responsible, ethical and idealistic. Sadly it is the disruptive minority who get all the media attention. I know in this parish that we are blessed to have many good, highly gifted, generous, enthusiastic and intelligent young people. Today in this country we thank God for them and pray with them, because today is National Youth Sunday. Young people are not just the Church of the future though, they are in the Church of now. That is why they need all the support, encouragement and example that we can give them, so that they can continue to put their gifts into practice and serve in the parish.
Where can people get direction from?
‘All who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.’ (John 18: 37) Jesus says to Pilate in today’s Gospel. ‘Truth’, said Pilate, ‘What is that?’ (John 18: 38). This is the question that many people are asking in society today. What is truth and where can it be found. Where is its source? ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’, (John 14: 6-7) words said by Jesus to the whole of humanity. Jesus is the source of truth, no one else has made this claim.
Pope St John XXIII said, ‘All the evils which poison men and nations and trouble so many hearts have a single cause and a single source: ignorance of the truth.’ How poignant these words are.
So the solution is simple, access the truth in Jesus Christ! But, it is not simply the case of knowing about Jesus it is knowing him. Here’s what Pope Benedict XVI said about this,
‘Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.’ (Pope Benedict XVI)
In other words it’s about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Here is Pope Francis from Evangelii Gaudium,
‘I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ…I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.’
This ‘renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ’, is the spark that keeps the disciple of Jesus ever young and willing to serve. There are opportunities for young people to get involved in many ways in the parish such as the Youth and Young Adults Group as well as the Mass for young people and other parish based activities. The next big event is World Youth Day in Krakow, a gathering of young Catholics from around the world celebrating and sharing their faith instigated by St John Paul II, who said, ‘Peoples everywhere, open the doors to Christ.’ Let’s pray that we will always do the same.