MAKATI City, July 11, 2013—A bishop reminded Pinoy youth pilgrims to World Youth Day celebration in Rio de Janeiro, that the international gathering makes them missionaries of the faith.
CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) Chairman and Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon stressed on the youth that the journey to WYD is a privilege and a time to enhance one’s faith, grow deeper in their awareness of God and proclaim God’s love to others, thus, making them missionaries of the faith.
“The celebration will help us to be filled with God because we are supposed to share Him to others. So we have to be instruments of peace, proclaimers of His truth, defenders of His life and witnesses of His love in many different ways, of course,” Baylon said.
Delegates shared various degrees of emotions in being a part of the World Youth Day celebration in Brazil.
“We are looking forward to this, the joyful anxiety that is in our heart and must be tempered with the real purpose why we are going there. And what is that? We are joining hundreds of pilgrims and the Holy Father in celebrating WYD. I am sure you have also appreciated the privilege of becoming a part of this delegation as we go to Brazil but I think it is important for us to really appreciate and affirm in our heart the very reason of why we are going there,” Baylon added.
WYD journey is deep within which is the important journey and experience that the pilgrim must feel.
“In this journey, the Lord gives us plenty. The Lord promises us something great and we have always received the same message. God’s promise is for abundance, for joy, peace and blessings. In this journey, He is offering us all of those for as long as we are not easily distracted with a lot of things. We could encounter God in meeting the Holy Father as a part of the highlight of this journey,” Baylon explained.
Laborers in the vineyard
Baylon said priests and nuns are not the only laborers in the vineyard of the Lord, because pilgrims to the WYD celebration are also laborers for the faith.
“When Jesus said to his disciples that laborers are few, he was not talking to them about priests and nuns, as a matter of fact; there were no priests or nuns then. He was referring to each and every one of us, we are laborers. Catholics around the world are more or less 1 or 2 billion. We pilgrims are called to be witnesses of the faith to them,” he said.
He added that the fruit of the WYD is not so much telling people that you have been there but telling them that “you have encountered Christ, I am a Catholic from the Philippines and I want you to witness [Him] also.”
Witnesses of faith
Being witnesses of faith come with the responsibility of bringing it back to each one’s home.
“We cannot be witnesses until we know Jesus, we have Jesus in us, and we have encountered what the disciples encountered. Now, when we go ahead, we bring Him with us, so go with Jesus.”
Baylon said being witnesses, means people should be able to see Christ in one’s lifestyle and actions.
“When you embrace a person, he is also embraced by Christ. By giving a listening ear to a friend, Jesus is already listening to hear him or her. And in the same manner, when we refuse people this opportunity of goodness, we refuse Jesus to them as well. In the celebration of World Youth Day in Rio, it would matter to us that we really take seriously the experience of being missionaries because we share this to everyone and that would be enough,” Baylon furthered. (Jandel Posion)