Christ came among us to bring salvation and freedom to our world and to our lives. He lived among us for thirty-three years. His public ministry lasted only three of those years. He had a vision and a dream for humanity. He summed up his vision in one short sentence, ‘what I command you is that you love one another’. During his years of public ministry, he endeavoured to see that his apostles, his followers and the ordinary people bought into his vision. He knew that his message of love and forgiveness would not become a reality overnight. A vision of love is always a ‘slow burner’. It’s a case of one step forward, two steps backward! He once compared his kingdom to a mustard seed. It is the smallest of all seeds. Yet if sown in good ground, the seed will grow into a fine shrub.
We are Christs’ brothers and sisters, his followers. In our lifetime it is up to us to sow the seeds of the kingdom hoping that future generations will reap a harvest. We have to choose good seed and prepared the ground properly so that the seed will take root and grow. But how do we hand on the faith to the next generation. Our young people are living in a world that is losing the faith, not attending Church and going its own way. They see materialism everywhere and they are influenced by what they see around them. To them the Church appears old fashioned, just keeping going, just holding the fort. They see the Church as not addressing their needs and their concerns.
So, what can be done. We know that young people are in a better place today than they have ever been in history. They are well educated and with social media they have the ability to communicate with each other as never before. They are enthusiastic and idealistic as young people always are. To connect with young people requires that we take a radical look at what the church is offering to its followers today.
As yet, we don’t know the way forward. It is a work in progress but we know that things will have to change. Many individuals and many groups in the Church are sowing new seeds. However, the seeds are slow to sprout. Nothing is going to change overnight. We need to be open to what is new and not be afraid of things being different. In our own time we keep looking forward and planning. There is no going back. Like the Apostles, in their time, we must launch out into the deep. At the same time, we have to wait in patience and leave many things to the providence of Almighty God.
From the Ennis Parish Newsletter (Adapted)