Fr. Terry’s Sharing…
Called to Mission…spreading the Joy of the Gospel Message of Salvation by word and action! Back in the days when my body was young, able to handle hard surfaces for sleeping and I lived with an adventurous spirit, I was on youth trips more numerous than I can remember. Yes, I have reached the age where I have turned over that role to the younger clergy. I truly benefited from all those trips and treasured experiencing them with the youth growing in faith and recognizing their gifts of service to others.
I do remember one of those late night conversations with the youth that was both humorous and thought-provoking. The topic was, why do we never do any mission trips to resorts? I think the hard floors and heat was getting to them. In our conversation, we acknowledged that Jesus was known for going where people needed Him the most. Often that meant to places that would never be described as what we would think of as a resort. The sick, the lame, the poor, and the rejected do not live in those places. And yet it is there when the deepest faith experiences can take place. Jesus never let fear, what others thought or said, or even suffering stop him. He brought the most important gift to be given…hope and love. Jesus never counted the cost. He always paid the price because real love demands it. When we make choices, do we weigh the cost? When we make choices, do we worry about what others will say or judge us by? When we make choices, do we let fear rule us? When we make choices, do we fail to sacrifice or suffer for others? That night, and so many times after, I marveled at the faith of our youth. Together we decided that being followers of Christ meant we wrestle with these questions and not avoid them. Together we decided to be Christ-like. And we acknowledged that each of us will ultimately have to decide the answers based upon where our faith was at. I often remember one of the last comments made by a young lady. She said, “I might fail some of those questions, but that doesn’t mean it ends there. I hope I learn, grow, and deepen my faith in the relationship I have with God. Then I trust some of those failed questions will not always have to remain that way.”
When our youth go on Mission trips, they not only represent themselves, but also our Parish. If you know any of them, take the time to ask them about their experiences. And let them know we are proud of them.