Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Last month, over two hundred thousand young people gathered in Sydney for the World Youth Day Celebrations. Why does the Church put so much effort into our young people? Well, it is because they are not just the future. They are the present. We don’t entertain Teens with loud, fun music. We pray with them. We instruct them. We encourage them to grow in the love of Christ, to reach out to Him and to recognize His presence within them[1].

When the Popes speak at events like World Youth Day, they address the young, but they really speak to all of us. We are all young in our faith. With Jesus Christ, all things are new. Back in 1993 during the World Youth Day in Denver, Pope John Paul II told the young, “Christ calls you, the Church needs you, and the Holy Father has confidence in you and expects great things from you.” This is the Vicar of Christ empowering the young and empowering us to change the world. And the world is changing. We can see it here in the United States. The world saw it this summer in Sydney.

“Who do people say that I am?” Jesus asks his disciples… Who do we say Jesus is? Do we radiate the presence of the Christ? Is He really the motivation, the foundation, the beginning and the end of our lives? We have to ask ourselves these questions, and then we have to follow it with yet another question: how can I live my Christianity? How can I, like Peter, become his Rock, his foundation?

Here are five brief considerations. First, you and I need to spend more time in prayer. If we want Him in the Center of our lives, we have to spend time with Him. That might mean giving up sleep, or giving up computer games for a while, less time on Facebook, etc. There is nothing that we lose which is beautiful and great. Christ takes nothing worthwhile from us.

Here’s a second thing we need to do. We need to read the Holy Scripture. Read a psalm a day. Read a chapter of the New Testament a day. We need to be people of the Word. Bible study is good, but Bible prayer is great, is wonderful.

Here’s the third thing. We need the sacraments. We need the Eucharistic nourishment every Sunday. When we receive communion we need to adore Him within us as well as in our Adoration Chapel. He is there in the sacrament calling out to us. It is in the Blessed Sacrament that our lives merge with Jesus’ life. We also need Christ’s sacramental presence in confession. There are way too many occasions of sin in the world. There are so many temptations. We need the Grace of Penance to conquer the evil that we and others put into life.

The Fourth thing we need is each other. Yes: We need the community of people of faith. We need to support each other and seek out those who need our support. We are the People of God.

And finally, to keep Christ alive in our hearts we can’t just say we love Him. We have to serve Him, serve his presence in the poor, in the sick, in the hurting, serve His presence in our homes, with our children, our families, our friends, our workmates, even no Catholics or no Christians.

Prayer, Scripture, Sacraments, Community and Service. These are all ways that we can proclaim to the world the answer to Jesus’ question: Who do you say that I am?

Be convinced of this: Christ takes nothing from you that is beautiful and great, but brings all to perfection that is worthwhile in life to the Glory of God and the happiness of men and women.

A great army has been mobilized. It is the army of the young, the children of God. And none of us are too old to be part of this army. All of us must be part of this transformation of the world. We are the Body of Christ ■

[1] Sunday 24th August, 2008, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time. St Bartholomew. Readings: Isaiah 22:19-23. Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands—Ps 137(138):1-3, 6, 8. Romans 11:33-36. Matthew 16:13-20.
Illustration: some of the youth of our college prayer gruop at st. matthew catholic church.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris