GOD’S LOVE THE THIRD TIME AROUND
I am so blessed to be part of this year’s World Youth Day (WYD) again. It is my third time to attend the World Youth Day and the experiences that I had are different from each other. The first WYD that I attended was in Madrid, Spain. The second was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The third was just the recently concluded one in Krakow, Poland. All of us are excited during the WYD Rio because we have a new pope, Francis; and it was him who made great and radical changes in the papacy because of his simplicity and humility.
This year’s WYD was a big question for me if I will join again or not. Because it’s my third time already and other people are saying that I’ve seen the Pope already in Brazil and, actually, here in the Philippines. As I pray and asked God for the answer to this question, He told me to still come and join this year’s WYD and there I will see, hear, and discover the answers in my prayers.
Truly God is a faithful God and He hears and answers our prayers. On our first Mass in Legionowo for the Days in the Diocese, God told me through the homily that every World Youth Day is about meeting Him. WYD is not about seeing the Pope but about meeting Jesus. Then I remember in Brazil last 2013 when everyone is cheering for Pope Francis, he cheered differently and said, “Viva Jesus!” Pope Francis told us that time to cheer for Jesus and not for him because the WYD is not about him but about Jesus. Pope Francis also told us that we need to always fix our eyes on Jesus so that we will not focus on other things in this world, most especially to ourselves, but to Jesus alone. I am so happy to meet the Spanish Jesus last 2011 in Madrid Spain, meeting the Brazilian Jesus last 2013 in Rio, Brazil and this year I met Polish Jesus in Krakow and Warsaw Poland. Yes, we can meet Jesus wherever we are because He will always reach for us and meet us where we are. But there is a special thing in meeting Jesus in the foreign land like on the past World Youth Days that I attended and this year’s WYD. Literally, I met Him through the new friends and foster families that I encountered on those WYD. I really felt the love of God through these people because they treated us as a family. They were always checking us out if we are hungry, if we are tired, if we had a good sleep, and other things that concerns us during our stay in Poland. I am so amazed with their hospitality and effort just to make us feel comfortable all the time and to make us feel home.
I am so blessed and grateful also to know more about St. John Paul the Great and St. Sister Faustina because they are the patron saints of this year’s WYD. I really got a lot of inspiration from them on how we, as a simple human being with sins and weaknesses, can become saints like them. They really lived a life that is pleasing to God even though the world is telling them differently. They became saints because they believed in God and followed Him no matter what it takes. With all the experiences that I had and all the learnings I got from this year’s WYD, I realized that attending this kind of events has no limits. It’s not about how many times you’ve joined, it’s not about the country who hosts, and it’s not about who our Pope is on that year. It is all about Jesus. It is all about meeting Him. It is all about knowing and discovering more about the things we need to know about Him.
At the end of the day, WYD is like an icing on the cake. It’s Jesus who wants us to feel His great love for us; it might be through the plane ride, the host country, the people whom we are with, our foster family during the duration of the WYD, and all the experiences and learnings that we got. Jesus is so sweet that He always reaches out for us and do extra miles for us to feel and experience His great love for us. Truly, nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Fyron Umali, CFCYFL Full time worker