I’m not sure who got more out of World Youth Day, the Youth or the Pope and Bishops? In one of his great down to earth talks Pope Francis pointed out that the task of bishops is hard and that sometimes, like anyone else, they can get discouraged. Being in the presence of the youth, witnessing their faith and the joy with which they live it really lifts us up. It reminds us that our efforts are not in vain–that the Church, though it may struggle, is as vital and necessary as ever.
The youth make clear to us that in the midst of this world that is tainted by so much darkness they want and need the light the Gospel brings. Yes, the Church herself is wounded. She is not anywhere close to what she should be reflecting and revealing the grace she holds in earthen vessels, as Paul would call them. But sometimes in the daily struggle with these imperfections we fail to recognize the amazing goodness and holiness that is within her. These days at World Youth Day have reminded me of this. So have my first days with the people of the Church of El Paso.
Even in this day of rampant secularism and loss of Faith there is no other group in the world that can bring anywhere near this number of people together around one person for any reason, political or religious. Our Holy Father remains, as Jesus intended, a powerful sign that Jesus is close to us, that the Spirit is guiding us in the Church.
Clearly the Lord is still present and at work in the midst of his Church. The younger generation is divided only between those who have found the Lord and those have not yet named the deep longing in there heart. Let’s all take up our Holy Father’s call and go out to all the world with the Good News that Christ is still living and well in our midst!
+Bp. Mark Seitz