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Most Rev. Oswald Lewis
Bishop of Jaipur

19th Sunday in ordinary times / Eucharistic Celebration By Most Rev. Oswald J. Lewis


“Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive,” with these opening words begins the Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Christus Vivit” by Pope Francis. This document is the work of the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishop held from 3rd to 28th October 2018, on the theme: “Young people, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” Holy Father signed it on Monday 25th March 2019 in the Holy House of Loreto and then addressed to young people and to the entire people of God.

What does the Word of God have to say about young people is answered in the 1st Chapter of “Christus Vivit”. God’s way of looking at young people is quite different from the many examples of choice made by God –of Joseph, Gideon, Samuel, King David, Ruth; and in the Old Testament. Jesus, who is eternally young, the disciples, the young rich man in the New Testament. The second chapter explains the youthful years of Jesus, “as an adolescent” spent in Nazareth being obedient to Joseph. “We should not think that Jesus was a withdrawn adolescent or a self-absorbed youth. His relationship with his parents and with others in the society were normal like any other young man. No one in Nazareth regarded Him as one “set apart” for a mission. Jesus walks with young people and teaches them from within. “The Lord is calling us to enkindle stars in the night of other young people.” The Church is also young when she is herself, when she receives ever anew the strength born of God’s Word, the Eucharist and the daily presence of Christ and the power of His Spirit in our lives.” The young people are looking for a Church that listens to them and is active in the world. They do not want a silent church nor a church afraid to speak out. So the Church in the modern world should be relevant to the times and respond to the signs of the times. The youth of today are not just the future of the world but “they are its present” as they are enriching the world of today. There is a tendency among the adults to highlight the problems and failings of today’s young people. Pope Francis says, “Whosoever is called to be a father, pastor and youth guide should have the ability to discern pathways, where others see only walls; to recognize potential where others see only peril. This way God the Father sees things. In this third Chapter, Pope Francis recalls young people living in the context of war; those who are exploited, the victims of kidnapping, organized crime, human trafficking slavery and sexual exploitation, rape. Taking a global view, the Holy Father explains many other forms of victimization of young people by political powers, by vested interests and the youth becoming easy prey to the worldly allurements, to the digital world, to the mass media, to drugs and crimes.”

In the Fourth Chapter Pope Francis announces three great truths to all young people.

  1. “God Loves you”:- never doubt this. You can find security in the embrace of your heavenly Father, whose heart is filled with tender compassion.
  2. “Christ saves you”:- He forgives us seventy times seven. Time and again, He bears us on His shoulders and transforms us, His forgiveness and salvation is not something we can buy, but granted to us gratuitously.
  3. “He is alive”:- We need to keep reminding ourselves of this. There is a tendency in us to see Christ as one lived and died long ago. It is not a memory of the past but a reality of today that Christ is alive.

The love of God and our relationship with the living Christ elevates us, encourages us and inspires us to be better and more beautiful life. The Holy Father sees young persons as someone who wants to fly on their two feet, always ready for action, always racing onward. But he cautions them that their dreams can be attained through hope, patience and commitment and with gratitude the gift of life and all graces granted freely. He further advises them to have a deep heart to heart friendship with Jesus. Our conversation with Jesus is our prayer when “we open everything we do to him and we give him room so that he can act and enter and claim victory.” Young people are called to be “courageous missionaries” witnessing everywhere to the Gospel with their own lives, which does not mean speaking about the truth, but living it.

Pope Francis continues his exhortation to the youth in the sixth chapter too, telling them that a strong future can be constructed on the foundation of past. Hence the roosts of the past history and experience of the elders are necessary to build up a strong future. He cautious them on many practical issued such as “a spirituality without God a culture of colonization; exploitation; of youth to promote a shallow life, and lack of concern for the poor.’ Pope Francis insists on young people to remain in close relationship with the elders. The world of god will enable them to build up this relationship with the elders. The World of God will enable them to build up this relationship. Chapter seven speaks about the youth ministry, which has been affected by social and cultural changes. The young people themselves are agents of youth ministry. which has been affected by social and cultural changes. The young people themselves are agents of youth ministry. They need to be guided and at the same time given freedom to develop their own talents, activities and new approaches. Youth ministry has to be fasible by providing opportunities to the youth to conduct and to celebrate events. It has to be synodal, that is, capable of shaping a journey together. Thrusting in the abilities of the youth to find appealing ways to come together they have to be encouraged and accompanied. Pope Francis proposes that the youth of other religions should also be welcomed, given opportunity to join catholic youth. We should not impose on them all that we believe in Ashort exhortation on Vocation in the eighth chapter describes the basic reality that we must discover is “ Jesus wants to be a friend to every young person’. So like Jesus, our vocation is a missionary call to serve others. our life will be fruitful for the welfare of others.’ young people intensely feel the call to love; they dream of meeting the right person with whom they can from a family. The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony envelops this love in the grace of God. As husband and wife, they are grateful to God for the gift of sexuality, which has two purposes; to love and to generate life. Further the youth are exhorted to work and earn their livelihood. They should not depend on others. they should also have a concern for the poor and share with the poor whatever one can.

“without the wisdom of discernment, we can easily become prey to every passing trend’’ recalls the Holy Father. Discernment is necessary to discover ones vocation, which is a personal decision. Prayer and silence are necessary to discern once vocation. While vocation is a gift of God, it demands our readiness to take risks. Those, who guide the young people and help them to discern their vocation, must be sensitive to follow three aspects.

1. They must be ready to listen to the one who shares his inner feeling.

2. They must assess the positive and negative aspects of vocation.

Having completed the task of guiding, the adult must now disappear as Jesus did at Emmaus, and allow the individual to make his/her own personal decision. The Exhortation concludes wishing the young people-“ My Joyful hope is to see you keep running the race, attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters.’’Celebrating the “ year of the youth” in our diocese, I request all readers of Jaipur Darpan, to read and reflect on the message of synodal document, “ Christus Vivit”. Priests are requested to explain this message to the youth of their respective parishes.

+ Rt. Rev. Oswald J. Lewis

© 2020 -Diocese Of Jaipur