Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Journey of a Young Christian

The Great Journey of a Young Christian
January 2005

To: The Youth of the Diocese of Borongan
Borongan, Eastern Samar, Philippines

Dear Young Men and Ladies in the Diocese of Borongan:

Greetings of Peace and Love.

It is my great honor and pleasure to greet you on the occasion of your general assembly today. You will discuss, so I have heard, about a journey that you are going to embark. For many, this journey will be the first time; for others the journey is a resumption of the past journeys.

The journey is a great preparation for the World Youth Day that will be held in Cologne, Germany this year 2005. It is therefore a response to the call of the Holy Father to all the youth in the world to undertake this journey.

The center of the journey is the cross of Jesus Christ. It is, therefore, not any kind of journey, but a procession, or, you may call it, a pilgrimage. The purpose is to understand more and more deeply the mystery of Christ and the mystery of his Cross. You may ask: can we not understand and know the person of Christ and the mystery of the cross by just studying him and not get the trouble of making the journey? Yes, you can do it. But God’s way is not our way. He has other plans, better plans, no doubt. He has another method of teaching, a better way of teaching. When He teaches a man to know Him more, He usually let him undertake a journey. You remember Abraham, the Father of faith. To teach him the faith, God told him: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s house, for the land I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name famous that it will be used as a blessing.”… So Abram went as Yahweh told him (Gen 12: 1-4). You well know the adventure of Abram, later Abraham, in his response to God’s call to make a journey. He discovered that God of the impossible; the God of laughter and of joke; the God who fulfills His promises; that He is the God who provides; that He is a God who makes man His friend. You also heard about the adventure and the journey of the Israelites in the desert. They were slaves in the land of Pharaoh, workers without any dignity, a hodge-podge of nobodies. And yet, God loved them and promised to give them a land they can call their own, to make of them a

great nation, a chosen People peculiarly His own. Do you know how God prepared them to become a priestly nation, a holy nation, a nation set apart from all the others? He let them make a journey in the desert. And what a journey … a long, long and hazardous
journey in the desert. But it was not just an ordinary journey – it was a school of learning, a place where they learned more and more deeply God and his marvelous works. After that long journey, the Israelites discovered that there is only one God and He alone must be adored and loved above all things. Again, you remember Jesus Himself. To save all of us, He has to undertake the journey to Jerusalem where he will be handed over to the enemies, to be hang on the cross. That great journey which we now call the Paschal Mystery, earned for us the grace of the Resurrection. Jesus Himself discovered in that journey of His that God is a Father, a faithful Father who stood by Him in death and in resurrection.

Yes, journey is a school of faith. It is God’s way to knowing Him. It is an important phase in order to know Jesus. Our Holy Father knows this very well. And so, he called all the youth of the world to undertake the journey of faith. And the youth have been responding to his call, for they too experienced the deep presence of Christ in the journeys of the past. This year, the Holy Father called the youth of the Philippines, the youth in the Diocese of Borongan, to prepare and look forward to the journey that would lead all to Germany, to the great city of Cologne in 2005.

Youth in the Diocese of Borongan, do not be deaf to this call. SHEMAh – listen to this call. Great promises for your life are implied to this call – yes, blessings upon blessings, a hundredfold and sufferings besides.

In every journey the Holy Father gives a theme which will serve as the object of deep study, serious meditation, profound contemplation for the youth. This year the theme given is: “We should like to see Jesus”. These words were taken from the Gospel of St. John 12: 22. To understand the words, let us go into the original text where these words were taken. It says: “Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. These approached Philip, who came from Bethsaida in Galilee, and put this request to him: ‘Sir, we should like to see Jesus’” (Jn 12: 21-22). It is interesting to note that the ones seeking Jesus and wanting desperately to see Him are Greeks. The Greeks of old were famous for journeying; they were inveterate adventurers, ever struck by wanderlust, always seeking to discover new things. As one author puts it: “You Greeks are like children, always young in your souls.” Going back to the Gospel of St. John, we find these Greeks, the travelers, in the temple of Jerusalem. They must have witnessed the great scene when Jesus drove the traders from the temple with a whip. Perhaps, they were astounded by his strength of character, were drawn by his strong personality. Because of that, they would like to know more of Him. Hence, they approached one of the apostles, Philip by name, and said: “Sir, we should like to see Jesus.”

From this text, can you now see how perceptive the Holy Father is in selecting the theme of your journey? Our Pope knows very well the heart of the youth. He perceives that
you are all like the Greeks in the Gospel of John. You are ever searching to discover new things; you are children, ever young, because you want to search for new discoveries in life. Come to think of it. Through all these years you have been seeking for that which will make you happy, that which will satisfy your longing, that which can make you be contented in life – o, bisan la nga makakaginhawa ka hin haruhaluag. What makes you happy? You long to have a cell phone – you thought that with that you will be the happiest young man or woman in Borongan. Or, perhaps, a signature shirt, a computer, a camera, a friend, an opportunity to study further in college. Yes, all these things will make you happy – but how deep does each of them offer you and for how long?

At this stage, I am just praying that the neo-Catechumenal community where you belong has told you about Jesus. I hope that like the Greeks in the Gospel of John who, having witnessed the great marvel Jesus had done, sought for Him with these words: Sir, we should like to see Jesus, you too have already experienced the great works that Jesus has done to your life. I hope you will be curious about Him and want to know Him more. I hope that you will like to see Him and experience who He really is. I hope that you will take the step, as the Greeks took the step, to know more about Jesus. I hope you that you can also say: “Sir, I would like to see Jesus.”

The journey of the cross is calling you. The Holy Father is again summoning all of you, the youth of today, to again take up the journey of faith, this time to Cologne, Germany. He prays that you will discover more about Jesus – that YOU WILL SEE JESUS.

Congratulations, youth in the Diocese of Borongan. I hope that your assembly today will prepare you well for the journey of faith and will bring you to Jesus. For it is only in Him that you find life to the full. This Jesus is THE TRUE VINE.

Sincerely yours,

+Leonardo Y. Medroso, DD
Bishop of Borongan


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