Disciples Youth Mission Team
Mass and Blessing of National Office and Training Venue
National Office and Training Venue, Bellambi
My dear Disciples Youth Mission Team Members, Supporters and Visitors
This is a significant day. We gather to celebrate the Opening Mass to bless and launch the Disciples Youth Mission Team National Office and Training Venue here at Bellambi.
I am delighted the Diocese of Wollongong can be host to this dynamic movement of young men and women; you who embrace a radical Christian community lifestyle in order to spread the Gospel – the good news that we are saved, redeemed, forgiven and loved by our God more than we could ever imagine.
Fifty years ago, it was Pope Pius XII who said “the apostles to youth are youth”, young people evangelising their peers.
That is what you do. You have been doing it for 20 years now – from humble beginnings, you have grown to a national movement of generous young men and women bringing Jesus Christ into the lives of other young men and women through the sort of believable peer contact that other age groups cannot access in the same way.
You have a lively faith, a love for and a solid commitment to the Church, plus an unwavering hope. Hope is the source and the product of religion: and religion, of course, is the language of hope. Without hope, we are only half alive! John F Kennedy said, “We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes”.
For you, the medium is the message! What you are, speaks so loudly, that young people hear and receive what you say with great respect and openness. You can be honest and frank with your saving message.
This, of course, is so vital in today’s social climate where nothing much is sacred – a world, for many, of binge living and binge drinking and a context of drugs and irresponsible sexual behaviour. So your outreach to help young people make positive and good decisions about how to live and how to pick their way through a maze of alternative lifestyles becomes more important than ever!
The Church seems so out of touch and alienating to so many young people today, despite their personal quest to satisfy the spiritual yearnings deep inside them.
You, Disciples Youth Mission Team members, are out there to help bridge that gap between today’s young people and Christ’s Body, the Church. You reach out in Christian love and service to your peers, you expose our young people to authentic Christian community, giving the young people the opportunity to meet Jesus Christ and discover that each baptised person (young or old) has a place in the life of the Church – and that we reach out inclusively, like St Peter in the house of Cornelius. “The truth, I have now come to realise is, that God does not have favourites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34-35)
You go out confidently in the spirit of St Paul who said, “With God on our side who can really be against us!” (Rom 8:31-32)
“God gave up his own son to benefit us all”. Think of the greatest human example of a person’s loyalty to God – Abraham (Gen 22:16).” You did not spare your only son Isaac for my sake.” God’s loyalty to you is like that. “So nothing can come between us and the love of Christ even if we are worried or troubled or being persecuted or lacking food or clothes or being threatened or even attacked”. (Rom 8:38-39) I am sure this scripture speaks to you very cogently, because as Paul continues, “These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us.” “Nothing, death, life, nothing existing or still to come, not any power can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Of what then shall we be afraid?
Professor Barclay said this is one of the most lyrical passages St Paul ever wrote!
You Disciples, who put your career or studies on hold for a year – who live very simply as regards material goods, who commit yourself to God, through prayer and scripture and the sacramental life of the Church, in order to be disciples and witness to the good News – what’s in it for you? That’s what Peter asked Jesus in our Gospel passage (Mark 10:27-30). Jesus promised a hundred times-over reward in this life and in the next, but not without persecution – Christianity is costly, hence Paul’s words to the Romans we read, “If God is with us, who can really be against us?”. Jesus doesn’t bribe us – he challenges us!
Sure, you will get your reward, but you will have to show yourself a big enough person and a gallant enough adventurer to get it!
You Disciples are gallant adventurers – you are prepared to make tough decisions. Yet you know, because you have learnt, you will never succeed in life unless you are willing to make sacrifices for yourself and for others. Complaining about what you have to do is the sign of a loser!
Do you know what’s related to sacrifice? Self-discipline, self-control. To abide by
God’s commandments for living, to live by the Beatitudes, to know and to do what our Church teaches, or what your parents and mentors ask of you – all this requires self-discipline and self-control! Every one of us is going to have problems in life. We all get knocked off our perch from time to time and have difficulties!
The question is whether you are going to stay down or get up. Success is getting up again and again after you are knocked down!
Lent is like a time of training to help us get strong in virtue and attachment to God, so we can be more generous to the poor and needy, by sharing our resources of faith and material goods. Our sacrifices help us to help others – and in the process we grow.
The age-old wisdom of Christianity, practised by saints as well as so many ordinary parishioners through the centuries, answers the question. “Where is my life heading?” If we inject some self-control into our lives, we will be better able to overcome some of our destructive habits or vices, so as to replace them by practising the opposite positive habits or virtues. Then we can begin to take hold of the blessings of living that more fulfilling life, made available to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, our Saviour.
Let us now proceed to bless and inaugurate this venue.
After much work and prayer by so many members of the Disciples Youth Mission Team, we gather now to bless and dedicate this new National Office and Training Venue. It will be a centre for the activities of the Disciples Youth Mission Team and a place where they may come to know one another and give witness to their faith in Christ.
Here Team Members will learn more of their Catholic faith and will deepen their commitment to Jesus, so as to live as Christ has taught us. We pray that the Word of
God may always echo from these walls.
Prayer and Blessing
Let us pray: God of mercy and truth, you sent your only Son to be our Saviour and Lord. He calls us together as his Church to carry on the work of salvation.
We ask you now to bless the Disciples Youth Mission Team and all who will use this National Office and Training Venue. May all who come here know the presence of Christ. May they experience the joy of his friendship, and may they grow in his love. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, and May the word of Christ dwell in you, so that all you do in word and in work, you will do in the name of the Lord Jesus.