Over the past month with “stay at home” restrictions, social distancing and online liturgies, our young adults have continued to check in with one another and pray via telephone calls, text messages, and video conferencing on a weekly basis.
On Easter Sunday our youth minister sent blessings to them all, receiving wonderful responses of how they’d spent Easter at home watching the Cathedral mass on Channel 7, eating more than enough chocolate, calling relatives and praying at home. The spirit of Easter was not on lock down!
Though we have said farewell to many from our young adults now in Canada, Timor Leste, Mexico, America and Bulgaria, we have been able to stay in contact and am happy to report all are safe and well at home and with their families.
Though we are safe here too, some are facing issues with their studies, losing their jobs, having to find new accommodation on short notice and unable to see their family so your prayers for us are greatly appreciated. We continue to offer support to one another through the stress and uncertainty of it all. Thankfully, God has been working wonderful miracles in our interior prayer life and increasing our gratitude for His love for us during this Easter season. Even though have been experiencing times of trial, we know that God is journeying with us and the more we seek his will, the more peace and grace he out pours into our lives.
We are Easter people - people of great love, courage, joy, hope and resurrection!
In terms of faith formation, we met before Holy Thursday, meditating how the Triduum mass helps us enter into the mystery of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. In preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday feast day, we met again to meditate on what Divine Mercy means to us, how we experience it and respond to it (show mercy to others in our own lives). By God’s grace, other young adults have reached out to us online and joined our meeting - we welcomed a new member who was about to visit our parish just as restrictions came but she is very happy to be praying and talking with us online.
This week the young adults met online to talk about this Sunday’s Gospel, reflecting on the message of the Good Shepherd. What does it mean to ‘enter through the gate’, how do we understand Jesus as our shepherd, when do we hear his voice in our world today “as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name”? Together, we spoke for hours, sharing personal testimonies, questions, wonderings and opening our hearts to be led by the Holy Spirit. As one of our young women simply said “I hear him in my heart” and encouraged others, “when you are stressed about work, imagine that he is physically beside you with his arm around you, whispering ‘I am here’, because He is”.
Meeting weekly online is a wonderful opportunity to lead each other closer to Christ together, like the sheep from the Gospel, entering the gate as the Good Shepherd’s flock. Unlike the ‘thieves and robbers’ that try and jump the gate, to steal and take and then run away, Jesus instead stands at the gate invitingly, ready to open it wide open for us all where we will find the abundance of His mercy and love. Though we face trials, we trust that our shepherd will lead us on the right path, and with Christian hope we know that this is not the end of the journey, as Jesus concludes the parable; “I came so that they might have life and have it abundantly”.