June 19, 2020

Be Our Guest / Tom Yost

A Letter from St. Paul to baby boomers

I was born in 1956. I will be 64 years old this fall. My birth year falls squarely in the baby boomer generation.

I am becoming more aware of people my age losing one or both of their parents in recent years. My mother died three years ago. My father is the last person remaining from his generation on the Yost side of the family.

My generation is fast becoming the generation to hand on family traditions and pass on the memories and stories that come with it. We are now the “wisdom figures” and mentors of the generations after us. Are we ready for this? Am I ready for this?

In my daily Scripture readings, I recently came across the Second Letter of St. Paul to Timothy. It is a very brief letter with only four chapters. It beautifully reveals the elder Paul’s affection for the younger Timothy.

Paul is in Rome, near the end of his life. He has been an Apostle, one sent by God, to preach the good news of Jesus Christ for many years. As his mission comes to a close, he encourages and mentors his beloved Timothy to carry on what the Lord has entrusted to him. Paul wants to ensure that people—like Timothy—are prepared and in place so the Church can continue to grow and flourish.

So, what does this have to do with “boomers”? What does this have to do with “practicing” boomer Catholics in particular? I believe St. Paul would tell us to follow his example.

As we have hopefully matured in age, grace and wisdom in our lifetime, we should be bold in encouraging the younger generation to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. We should be witnesses to the joy of sacred Scripture and the power of the sacraments in our life. We should authentically share and model our faith in meaningful ways to them without hesitation. But are we? Is there something holding us back?

There are lots of “Timothy’s” out there today who could use our encouragement and benefit from our mentorship. Are we ready to reach out? How do we empower ourselves to love and mentor our young Catholics in the same way Paul loved and mentored Timothy?

Our generation cannot afford to leave it to chance. If we do, there is no telling what our Church will look like or who will be present 20 years from now.
 

(Tom Yost is a pastoral associate at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Albany.) †

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