We live in a time, in a culture, where it looks to silence the gospel. We live in a time where it looks to isolate Christians, make us think we are alone on this walk to Heaven. We are constantly being told that our values, our morals, are old fashioned, the church is outdated.
We live in a time where we are so afraid to offend someone that we silence the truth. That is not love. If we expect to build bridges, if we expect to walk this long and narrow path with other fellow struggling saints, then we must not be silent.
Through love, through fostering a good loving relationship with a person, we must be able to speak the Gospel of Truth to them. We must be able to look at each other and be honest, we must be able to say ” I love you, I love you so much that I desire nothing more than to see you in Heaven, what you are doing, the way you are living, it is not allowing you to become the best version of yourself, it is not leading you closer to Christ”
Being Christian is not easy, Christ never promised it would be. He told us they will mock us, ridicule us, persecute us, because of His name, but to remember He was mocked, ridiculed, and persecuted first. How blessed are we to have a Savior who understands these trials and tribulations we face today as His followers. How comforting is it to know He has already bore it all for us on the cross, that He is beside us through it all, carrying our cross.
Like I said, I get it, it’s so hard, so hard to speak the truth, in those moments we can be paralyzed by fear. There are numerous times that come to mind where even now, reflecting back, I think “What if, what if I had only spoken up” or ” Why did I shy away from the truth” My fellow struggling saints, I no longer want to have what if moments, I no longer want to have fear win. Instead, I want to have thank you moments, I want to trust that the Spirit of the Lord will speak truth to my heart and give me the words to say in those moments so that later I may pray “Thank you Lord for giving me the courage to speak up and the words to speak, thank you Lord for reminding me to love” Let us trust more in the Lord, let us live the gospel of truth.
My fellow struggling saints, I want to leave us with some encouraging words from a Saint, one of the greatest, who never shied away from the gospel, but always spoke its truth. A Saint who not only lived out the life of Christ so beautifully but encouraged others to live out this life fully and to not be afraid. Pope St. John Paul II, the great, once said these words to thousands of pilgrims gathered at World Youth day in Denver Colorado:
Young pilgrims, Christ needs you to enlighten the world and to show it the “path to life” (Ps 16,11). The challenge is to make the Church’s “yes” to Life concrete and effective. The struggle will be long, and it needs each one of you. Place your intelligence, your talents, your enthusiasm, your compassion and your fortitude at the service of life!
At this stage of history, the liberating message of the Gospel of Life has been put into your hands. And the mission of proclaiming it to the ends of the earth is now passing to your generation. Like the great Apostle Paul, you too must feel the full urgency of the task: “Woe to me if I do not evangelize” (1Cor 9,16). Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life. The Church needs your energies, your enthusiasm, your youthful ideals, in order to make the Gospel of Life penetrate the fabric of society, transforming people’s hearts and the structures of society in order to create a civilization of true justice and love. Now more than ever, in a world that is often without light and without the courage of noble ideals, people need the fresh, vital spirituality of the Gospel.
Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel (Cfr. Rom 1,16). It is the time to preach it from the rooftops (Cfr. Matth 10,27). Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living, in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern “metropolis”. It is you who must “go out into the byroads” ( Matth 22,9) and invite everyone you meet to the banquet which God has prepared for his people. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. It was never meant to be hidden away in private. It has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to our heavenly Father.
Jesus went in search of the men and women of his time. He engaged them in an open and truthful dialogue, whatever their condition. As the Good Samaritan of the human family, he came close to people to heal them of their sins and of the wounds which life inflicts, and to bring them back to the Father’s house.
Young people of “World Youth Day”, the Church asks you to go, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to those who are near and those who are far away. Share with them the freedom you have found in Christ. People thirst for genuine inner freedom. They yearn for the Life which Christ came to give in abundance. The world at the approach of a new millennium, for which the whole Church is preparing, is like a field ready for the harvest. Christ needs laborers ready to work in his vineyard. May you, the Catholic young people of the world, not fail him. In your hands, carry the Cross of Christ. On your lips, the words of Life. In your hearts, the saving grace of the Lord.
Be not afraid Isaiah10:14