Jesus is Alive and the Church is Alive!
In our day to day, parish-life-in-Australia living out of our faith, it can seem a lot like the Body of Christ is dead. Looking around, the Church appears to be in pretty bad shape.
Many feel like if it’s not actually dead, then it’s on life support! Low attendance at Mass, the feeling of shuffling in and doing our Sunday obligation and shuffling on out again, and the news articles of yet another scandal in our Church all takes its toll on our ability to remain hopeful.
But as I reflect in this beautiful season of Easter on what the resurrection means, it made me think of my experience of World Youth Day (WYD).
The week-long festival is like a rare glimpse into the truth that the Body of Christ is very much alive.
It’s not just in the colourful sea of waving flags from every corner of the earth, or the smiling faces of young people journeying beside their priests and bishops to pray with the Pope, or even in seeing the Pope himself.
It’s in the requests for the Sacrament of Reconciliation from young adults who have not been in years, and then seeing the change in them afterwards.
It’s kneeling shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of thousands of fellow pilgrims in silent adoration of their Eucharistic Lord.
It’s a sixteen year old running up and saying “I get the Mass now! I can worship God through it in any language!”
It’s singing hymns in a packed train carriage, surrounded by smiling faces.
It’s hearing the same hopes, dreams, prayers and petitions for our world spoken in nearly every tongue on this earth.
And it is ultimately in the moment we have to leave and come back home and realise we deeply believe in the Lord of it all continuing to set us free in His risen love.
WYD commissions those who attend to share their strengthened faith with others, much in the way that Jesus commissioned the women who met Him outside his tomb to tell others that he is alive.
And so, with my fellow WYD Panama pilgrims who have been sharing within their universities, parishes, schools, families and workplaces, I want to proclaim that Jesus Christ is truly alive and there are so many reasons for us to continue to believe, hope and love in Him!
He is our tomb-busting, death-defying brother and Lord and every human being should have the opportunity to get to know Him. And the Church, which exists in order to present the risen Jesus to the world (cf. St Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14), is also very much alive and ready to witness to a love-starved, restless world.
Let’s get up and out there!
Sr Rosie Drum MGL was a World Youth Day 2019 Panama pilgrim and is the Assistant Director of Catholic Youth Parramatta.