One of the most powerful and memorable reflections on Jesus’ identity took place on the night of August 19, 2000 during the evening prayer vigil at Tor Vergata on Rome’s outskirts during World Youth Day of the Great Jubilee. I shall never forget that hot night, when silence came over the crowd of over one million young people as Pope John Paul II asked them the only question that matters: “Who do you say that I am?”
The elderly Pope addressed his young friends with those words that rang out over the seeming apocalyptic scene before him:
What is the meaning of this dialogue? Why does Jesus want to know what people think about him? Why does he want to know what his disciples think about him? Jesus wants his disciples to become aware of what is hidden in their own minds and hearts and to give voice to their conviction. At the same time, however, he knows that the judgment they will express will not be theirs alone, because it will reveal what God has poured into their hearts by the grace of faith. The Holy Father continued:
This is what faith is all about! It is the response of the rational and free human person to the word of the living God. The questions that Jesus asks, the answers given by the Apostles, and finally by Simon Peter, are a kind of examination on the maturity of the faith of those who are closest to Christ.
It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.
He concluded his memorable address with these words:
Dear friends, at the dawn of the Third Millennium I see in you the “morning watchmen” (Is 21:11-12). In the course of the century now past young people like you were summoned to huge gatherings to learn the ways of hatred; they were sent to fight against one another. The various godless messianic systems that tried to take the place of Christian hope have shown themselves to be truly horrendous. Today you have come together to declare that in the new century you will not let yourselves be made into tools of violence and destruction; you will defend peace, paying the price in your person if need be. You will not resign yourselves to a world where other human beings die of hunger, remain illiterate and have no work. You will defend life at every moment of its development; you will strive with all your strength to make this earth ever more livable for all people.
Who is this Jesus for us? This is indeed the only question that really matters.
Pope St. John Paul II World Youth Day, Rome 2000
A Prayer For Father’s Day
God our Father,
in your wisdom and love you made all things.
Bless those fathers, who have taken upon themselves
the responsibility of parenting.
Bless those who have lost a spouse to death ... or divorce
who are parenting their children alone.
Strengthen them by your love that they may become
the loving, caring persons they are meant to be.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. AMEN.
I wish all Fathers in the parish a Happy Father’s Day and continued blessings in all that you do!I hope you enjoy your day!