Love Weigel. Let the Church say, “Amen!” For more background, read here.
Pondering this latest example of Catholicism dumbed down to the Religion of Nice, I remembered a radically different approach to explaining the relationship of the Lord Jesus to the yearnings of young hearts. It was the approach taken by Pope John Paul II at Tor Vergata in Rome, during the night vigil before the closing Mass of World Youth Day 2000. There, the pope put Christ at the center of an immense gathering of Catholic young adults with these memorable words:
It is Jesus 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 ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.
Such robust Christocentrism is not, I submit, “proselytism.” It is a Christian witness to Christian truth. It’s an affirmation that combines conviction with compassion. It’s an explication of the basic confession of Christian faith: Kýrios I?soûs, “Jesus is Lord.” And that Christocentrism is what has inspired millions of the young Catholics who have attended World Youth Days since 1984 to be the missionary disciples they were baptized to be.
As for this tiresome psychobabble about walking together into the future, Bishop Aguiar and others who indulge it might reconsider St. Luke’s beautifully crafted story of the two disciples walking to Emmaus on Easter Sunday afternoon (Luke 24:13–35). They were walking together. But they were walking in the wrong direction until they encountered the Risen One. Then they started walking together again, but now in the right direction: toward a Jerusalem transformed by the Resurrection, from which they and the others who had met the Lord Jesus would be sent throughout the world to invite others to “the city of the living God” (Heb. 12:22).
That is the “walking together” that World Youth Days should inspire: a walking together that leads to Christ and to mission.