SHINE LIKE STARS IN THE WORLD! (2009)
b) God’s love through Jesus: tying up with the preceding Pastoral Letters
This availability of Jesus does not end with his earthly life. His mission is not accomplished by simply being an example. He is the source of our salvation. The Letter to the Hebrews draws this picture for us: “And having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him." In other words, according to God’s plan, it is Jesus who redeems us and makes us sharers of his life.
This is what God’s love is. The young man had asked Jesus this question: “Teacher, what good must I do to attain eternal life?” Jesus replies: “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good." The point of the reply is that God alone is the foundation of all good principles; and this God is love; God alone gives an adequate reply to the question ‘why do we exist?’ “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."
He not only proclaimed the Good News, but also put it into practice: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." This truth of God’s plan may seem abstract! But it is Jesus’ answer to each one of us. He speaks to each of us individually, for each of us to listen! We cannot ignore him!
This Love and Life were entrusted by Jesus to his Church. Paul tells the Corinthians: “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you." Speaking of the sacrifice of his body, Jesus tells his disciples: “Do this in remembrance of me." And he commands Peter: “Feed my lambs … tend my sheep … feed my sheep.'
Through the past five years, in our Pastoral Letters, we have been reflecting on a few issues related to the love of God, revealed to us through Jesus. We began by meditating upon the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. Jesus himself has taught us the importance of the Eucharist: “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." This is also the faith of the Church. Pope John Paul II begins his Encyclical on the Holy Eucharist with the following words: “The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church."
We have examined this wealth of the Eucharist in three of its dimensions: Eucharist and our Life (2004); The Holy Eucharist and our Families (2005) and Eucharist and Social Concern (2006).
This wealth of the Church and the mystery of the Eucharist are not man-made. They proceed from God. And divine mysteries are born from and revealed by God’s Word. Therefore, in the year 2007, we had laid emphasis on the importance of the Word of God and explained why the Bible should be revered, read and heard with great attention and interest (Cf. Experience God’s Word, Radiate Jesus in Life ). And in the last Pastoral Letter of 2008, I had reflected on faith formation (Cf. Rooted in Faith, Go, Spread the Jesus’ Glow). But for faith, the Bible would be reduced to a simple story, the Eucharist to a plain ritual and the Church to an ordinary organization. Indeed, a quick glance over those Letters would be beneficial.
c) Jesus speaks to the Youth
My dear young friends, you may find it difficult to grasp all these things. ‘What is all this to us?’ – you may wonder! Indeed, you have been participating in these mysteries from the day you were baptised. Take your aspirations to Jesus, like the young man of the gospel. Jesus will speak to you as he spoke to the young man: through the Word of God, through the teachings of the Church, through other persons and, sometimes, in the silence of your hearts. Hence this call comes to you in the words of St. Paul: “Since you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." Otherwise, it will be very difficult for you to accept the invitation of Jesus -- “go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
I shall now highlight a few points to make this dialogue relevant; I would appreciate your kind attention.