August 26, 2005

Bishop speaks to youth about
seeking the light of Christ

By Brandon A. Evans

NEUSS, Germany—For at least two mornings of their stay in Germany, the youth on pilgrimage to World Youth Day from every country had the chance to go to a catechetical session at a local church.

The purpose was to not only fill their schedule, but also to give them a lesson in the faith and a chance to praise Jesus Christ in song.

At the end of each session, the Eucharist was celebrated.

Several youths on the archdiocesan pilgrimage, who were joined by young people from all over the world, said they enjoyed the speakers at their sessions on Aug. 17-18 at Christ the King Parish in Neuss, Germany.

Bishop Rolando Tirona of Infanta, Philippines, described in his introduction as youthful and energetic, gave the main address before celebrating Mass on Aug. 17.

In between joking with the young people and offering them warm parables, he warned them to be generous in their youth and thankful especially for the vigor and energy of youth that is a gift from God.

Reflecting on the star that the Magi sought, Bishop Tirona compared it to the light of Christ that dispels the darkness and confirms a soul in truth and goodness.

Youth today, he said, are lost and confused, and need the light of Christ.

Often, he said, we feed the body and the mind but neglect the heart and spirit.

“A spirit needs light; a spirit needs direction,” he said.

Turning to Christ, the bishop said, helps us to remember that we are all children of God, and will remain so forever.

In the end, he said, God will judge us based on how much we have loved. Love today, he said, is poisoned and distorted by an absence of true, selfless sacrifice.

We must be generous, he said, which often means that we have to be present to others when they need us, not later or at our convenience.

He also told the youth to be guided by the Spirit, to be effective in what they do and to remember that God still acts creatively in the world through us all.

Just as the star of the Magi can be compared to the light of Christ, it can also be seen as a powerful sign of hope in our world today, he said.

Archbishop Kevin McDonald of Southwark, England, addressed the archdiocesan pilgrims on Aug. 18.

Bishop McDonald told the youth, after they had reflected on the previous day’s catechesis and song in praise of Christ, that World Youth Day would be an event they would always remember.

It would be a “stopping point” in the journey of their life, and hopefully a significant one.

Mass is another stopping point, he said—it is a watering spot where we come to get to know Jesus Christ more deeply.

In that sense, he said, it is good for this World Youth Day to be situated in the Year of the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is a place of meeting, Bishop McDonald said. It gives us access to “real, solid life.”

Too much of the good things we seek in life are done out of proportion and become vices and habits that don’t do us any good, he said. Only Jesus Christ is the solid foundation and the source of life—with the unpredictable nature of life, only Christ will survive all things, including death.

The human spirit, he said, is made to worship God, and our society suppresses the worship of God.

Like the Magi, he said, the youth should meditate on what gifts they have that they might give to others. †


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