World youth day WYD Message for the Youth

Arise, Shine, for your lights have come, & the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, Darkness covers the earth & thick darkness is over the people, But the Lord rises upon you & his glory rises upon you. Is 60.1


I was born in a family of eight children; four boys and four girls.  I am the second from last. My family is Christian.  I grew up sharing a room with my two brothers. The room was divided into three sections and each one of us displayed his dream of life in his section artistically. One of my brother’s sections was full of medical things as he always wanted to be a doctor. The other had all sorts of electronic things and my side holy images and a small chapel or shrine where I was acting like a priest. What was so amazing is that all this was happening naturally. This is the origin of my desire to become a priest. At that time, I was very serious and committed in prayer. My mother was keen enough to recognize my vocation at an early age. She really helped me to nurture it. She told me a lot about various saints in the church, e.g. St. Maria Goretti and St. Dominic Xavier. This made a lot of sense because they were my age. I loved the story of Maria Goretti especially how she died because of her love and faith in Jesus. She was such a little girl, yet she had consecrated her entire life and virginity to God. She was ready to live a pure and holy life and had accepted to die rather than sin. I affirmed that I too would be like her and I made up my mind to strive for that. God gave me the grace to live it and that is why I stand before you today as a humble servant of God, as a priest. My focus is Christ; the only one who offers me eternal life, true happiness and joy. In Jesus I have never had to say, “I wish I knew”. Contrary, when I turn my face away from Him, all is regret and despair. I have learned what it means when Jesus said; “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” He is the author of true joy- joy that is eternal.
At school I was like everybody else but I knew I had a mission.  I had promised Jesus to serve Him as a priest if He successfully sees me through my academics. Jesus is faithful to His promise. Remember I had to pay the price of our agreement by living according to what I had agreed with Him. My friends wanted to influence my life, they wanted me to be like them; to act as they did, some of them lived like tankers, others like old steam engines, others like married people and they were only in high school, while others were like me.  I stood my ground and said no as no, not a maybe.  Even young charming ladies in our school knew there was one strong young handsome boy who knew how to say no.  I had many trials and temptations but Jesus had conquered my heart for Himself.  I had seen something greater than any earthly treasure and nobody could take it away from me.   You are in the same situation.   The human heart is the same everywhere; all that differs is to make a choice to live only for Christ.   Jesus said seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and everything else will be given to you.
I was motivated by the love Jesus has for me, to the point of accepting to die on the cross for my sin.  How can I ever repay Him other than living a good life, and committing myself to His service!
Many years have passed and I have no regrets whatsoever, for being a disciple of Jesus.  My brother made his way, he is not too much church minded and the consequence of that is only complaining to me a lot about life. He tries to walk in life alone giving Jesus little time in his life. It is difficult and fruitless to live without Jesus. On my side even when I am in total darkness, I know and I am confident that I am not alone, Jesus is with me through it all and in Him, everything is possible. Our theme today: Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life can help us to go deeper into this call or invitation of Jesus as young people.
Mark 10:17 tells the tragic story of a wealthy young man who greatly desired to become part of Jesus’ following. Because he wanted eternal life and to be in God’s Kingdom, he asked Jesus what he must do to obtain eternal life. When Christ replied that he must get rid of all he had; his high ideals came crashing down (eternal life). The young man’s self-love and wealth destroyed his ideals because he was not willing to change his life as Jesus demanded. The shortcoming/sin of the young man was pride in his wealth and refusing to respond to the call of Jesus.
Here we understand that Sin destroys ideals. As young people, God has given each one of you the capacity, ability, talents and potential to achieve your dreams in life. The key to success is your self-sacrifice and total surrender to God. The dream of the rich young man was destroyed by sin, so sin destroys your dreams in life that is; eternal life, ruin your school performances, a holy life; hence destroys your future. A tragic process begins when we become involved in sin. At first, we reject sin. If we continue to commit sin, we will still feel ill and unhappy about it, but gradually our consciences will adjust. Each sin makes the next one a bit easier. Over time, the conduct will become entirely acceptable, and we will sin without a sense of guilt,(We silently murder our consciousness of  sin!). It becomes a normal routine. Sin is addictive like a drug. As the addiction becomes stronger, the ideal depreciates until it is completely gone. You lose the focus of eternal life.
Today you might be asking the same similar question “Master-Jesus what must I do to live a Holy worthy life, to achieve my dreams and hopes.” Sadly, too many young people are living apart from Christ in a world of illusions, a world of fleeting shadows and promises unfulfilled. Remember what Jesus said: “I am the light of the world; those who follow me will have eternal life… Jesus who has conquered sin and death reminds you and I too: “I am with you always.” (Mt 28:20).   He is telling you today: “Courage! It is I; have no fear.” (Mk 6:50)…. Christ is calling you; the Church needs you. You are the leaders of tomorrow (I wish you say today our leaders of tomorrow but must start today…tomorrow may never come!).

Many of you face questions that people of your age have never faced before on such a large scale: “Are we living in a moral Stone Age? What is the meaning of a worthy Holy life? What is God calling me to do? Where can I fit in, in the society?  These are serious questions, and need serious answers. And the only one who can answer the questions deepest in your hearts is God. And the most effective way He communicates His love and His grace is through the Sacraments of the Church, which Our Lord instituted.

Sacramental grace is the key; The Eucharist, the Sacrament of Our Lord speaks to you the answers to your questions and gives you strength to face your problems. Our Lord gave you His own Body and Blood at the Last Supper to sustain you in the Christian life to enable you to attain eternal life.
Not only is reception of the Eucharist important, but Eucharistic Adoration as well. Adoration fills void in your hearts. You meet Jesus face to face.
As students from various schools and other Institutions of learning, you need to form and be committed to student’s Catholic Action; to support each other and stand as one. Many Catholic youth fall easily into the traps of premarital sex, alcohol and drug abuse. Many of you, knowing the Church’s teaching on these issues, despair of God’s forgiveness and end up going down into a deeper and deeper pit of despair. You need to hear about the meaning of repentance and forgiveness. Remember that in the Sacrament of Penance, you can receive God’s forgiveness and the grace to fight the temptation to sin.
By focusing on your destiny, everlasting bliss,  seeing God as He is, will help you to remain faithful. And also remember the ultimate purpose of human life: to know, love, and serve God in this life and be happy with Him in the next.   Know God through the Sacraments, prayer and study; love Him by obeying His commands; and serve Him by serving others. Remember what brings happiness is not money, not power, not sex, not the cult of the self.
Do not waste your time and energy in the culture of “drugs, sex and rock-and-roll” in searching for the purpose of your lives, (Resist the complacency that because everyone is doing it….I too must do it…I don’t want to be left out!! Dare them all, friends, be different for Christ!). The only “answer” the world gives you is that there is no objective Truth, and that you can do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone else. This does not satisfy your search. Your objective truth you can only find in Christ Jesus.
Deepen your understanding of Christ’s Truth — the Truth that makes you truly free. Make your churches and Mass like a “Gate of Heaven, entry to eternal life” by your full participation, leading you to a world without anguish, without fear, without worry, and without loneliness, a world full of God’s love.  Please make the Catholic Church a place where you can find true happiness in Christ Jesus. Then, with God’s help, you will find the Light of Christ the light that reveals the truths and values to build your own happiness, while building a world of justice, peace and solidarity.
I know that as young people, you all have great aspirations that you want to pledge yourselves to build a better world. Let others see this, let the world see it, since this is exactly the witness that the world expects from the disciples of Jesus Christ gifted and called; in this way, and through your love above all, the world will be able to discover the star that you follow as believers.
Let us go forward with Christ and live our lives as true witnesses of the living God!
Fr. Peter
On the occasion of the Diocesan World Youth Day Rally


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