“Planted, built up in Jesus Christ; firm in the faith”
This year I was privilege enough to be part of our community’s delegation to the WYD in Madrid. It is my second time to gather together with other young men and women from all over the world in response to the invitation of the Holy Father to celebrate our Catholic faith! Yet in spite of being a returning pilgrim there is something about WYD 2011 that makes it more special for me! Let me share it to you why:
1. WYD 2011 is all about being Planted
Just like a seed who don’t know where it will be planted so is my initial WYD preparations. I don’t know where will I get the money or how will I prepare the documents needed. All I know is that God wants me to be there and lo behold God make it all possible for me to be in Madrid. It feel like God literally uprooted me from my plant box and planted me in a new place to experience an ultimate adventure with Him!
Just like a newly planted seed who needs care and nourishment to grow, so is my faith walk with God. WYD 2011 has planted in me new realizations, convictions and passions generated by constant reflection on Sacred Scripture being preach by lay people, priest, bishops and the pope; and through our Sacred Tradition and Sacraments which nourish and strengthens me to be a bigger and better plant!
Just like a seed planted by someone who wishes it to grow and bloom, so is my Catholic faith! It feels so good to visit the different churches and parishes of Spain knowing that there is someone from that country from a long time ago who dare to go out of their comfort zone and went overseas just to share and plant their Catholic faith to our ancestors. A faith that was planted and pass on to different generations of Filipinos! A faith that has grown not only for me but also for us as a people! A faith that bear fruit through the examples of San Lorenzo Ruiz and Blessed Pedro Calungsud together with other saintly, missionary and evangelistic Filipinos!
2. WYD 2011is all about being Built Up in Jesus Christ
This WYD has affirm me that the best way to be built up in Christ is through Mama Mary. I usually hear this phrase “through Jesus, through Mary” but it is only in this WYD that I really understand and appreciate it. You see from the time that we leave the Philippines until we got back it Mama Mary has been our constant companion. May it be Our Lady of Buenavides, Fatima, or Alueda; she was always there inspiring us, encouraging us, and builds us closer to Christ. Truly the more you spend time with Mama Mary the more you get to know Jesus. I can say this because all of my WYD realizations were given to me in the time that I pray and talk to Mama Mary!
This WYD also affirms me that another best way to be build up in Christ is through the Catholic Church. For Jesus and the Church as His spouse is ONE! You cannot have Christ without His Church and so as long as you follow the magesterium, lived your life guided by the Sacred Scripture and Traditions, nourished by prayers and sacrament, you will continue to be built up with Christ.
This WYD also affirms me that the only way to continue to be built up with Christ is through our relationships with our brethren. Only through the support, love, encouragement and support of each other can we continue to follow Jesus. Most of us were re strengthen to keep on following Jesus by the relationships we had built with our subgroup, host PYM, and CFCFFL. Through the sharing of hardship, conviction, and victories as Catholic do we continue to be built up in Jesus.
3. WYD 2011 is all about being Firm in the Faith
In his last homily in WYD Pope Benedict XVI ask as who is Jesus Christ for us and after a long pause he said that we should never be afraid to proclaim who is Jesus for us and what He has done for us! I think this is what being firm in the faith is all about!
This WYD is created so that the Catholic youth can be firm in their faith! This is the constant challenge we received from the Holy Father – to be firm in the faith! It is a challenge given in the irony that we are gathered in a country where everything used to be all about Christianity and now its all about secularity. It is a challenge given with a warning that what happen to Spain can also happen to us if we don’t start being firm in living out our faith. It is a challenge worth being taken today!
In a time where almost everything is hostile to Christ and His Church; being firm in our faith is a stand worth living for! In the face of being unpopular, prejudice, and ridiculed standing firm for our faith is worth witnessing for! In a generation in desperate need of a direction and example being firm in the faith is worth testifying for!
In one of our cathechesis a bishop told us that as long as you have your faith you can thrive and survive the difficulties of life here on earth! How I wish I could be able not only to say it but more so to live it!
In the end the WYD 2011 is special for me because it is like a homecoming for me. Yup I know I don’t have any spanish blood and there not even a hint of being a meztiso in me! But the spanish experience, the spanish faith walk and the spanish way of life has left a deep mark in me. Truly this year WYD feels like a homecoming for me – a homecoming of faith!