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Who are you Fighting For?: Weekly Message for 01-16-2024
Many of you may remember when the first World Youth Day was celebrated at a diocesan level in 1986, followed by an international gathering the next year. The message for that first year was: Always be prepared to testify for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15).
Pope John Paul ll understood the passionate heart of the youth. He knew they gravitate toward causes that create change — even if the change is not something they particularly desire, they are compelled forward to be part of a community fighting in solidarity. We see this all over the media outlets today. The streets are lined with protestors, and yet, when interviewing the many participants, few can articulate what motivates them to be there. Often, the cause that justifies their fight is distorted. If the youth are not presented with great causes to fight for and do not experience great witnesses of courageous holy men and women, they will choose whatever comes along.
Thus, the late Great Saint John Paul ll invited youth to take up the cause of Christ, to Christianize the world.
This week, the church celebrates a great saint, St. Sebastian! Sebastian is the patron saint of athletes and a favorite among those being confirmed. A soldier in the Roman army, he converted his fellow soldiers before he was sentenced to death by Emperor Diocletian. Legend tells us that Sebastian was shot with arrows and left to die alone; however, a Christian woman found him and nursed him back to health. When he was healthy enough, St. Sebastian returned to share the Gospel with the Emperor, and was then martyred.
This brings me back to the title of my letter. Who are you fighting for — not what, but WHO? We can all fight for things, but fighting for someone is the food of Saints. That Who is Jesus Christ.
As I close this letter I have to confess the ear worm that was playing in the background was an old Bryan Adams song:
Love is all that I need
And I found it there in your heart
It isn’t too hard to see
We’re in heaven.
As the new year moves forward, let all take a closer look at what or who is motivating our hearts. In the end, love for Christ is all we need.
Yours in the Heart of Jesus,