BECOME THIRD MILLENIUM MAGI
In a heartfelt plea to the youth as they
prepare to go to Cologne, Germany for the
next World Youth Day in August, the Pope
advocated recently the spirit of the Magi
who set out "boldly along unknown paths
on a long and by no means easy journey"
but who "did not hesitate to leave everything
behind to follow the star that they had seen
in the East."
Cologne has a special history concerning
the Magi. Their relics are believed to have
been transferred from Constantinople, possibly
late in the fifth century, to Milan Italy
and to Cologne Cathedral in the twelfth century
where they have been housed since, in a gold
shrine built on the high altar. A number
of youth from Guam and Saipan will be able
to see these relics this coming August.
"My dear young people, do not yield
to false illusions and passing fads which
so frequently leave behind a tragic spiritual
vacuum! Reject the seduction of wealth, consumerism
and the subtle violence sometimes used by
the mass media." (Pope John Paul II)
When in 1995, Pope John Paul first denounced
the modern West as a 'culture of death"
in the encyclical 'The Gospel of Life', he
managed to elicit both a buzz of surprise
and sighs of complacency. On one hand, many
were roused from their lethargy and started
understanding what is really happening around
them, while others, on the other hand, largely
satisfied with the comforts of modern society,
just yawned in boredom.
We live in such an artificial milieu … coffee
without caffeine, cream without fat, beer
without alcohol, virtual sex without sex,
warfare with no causalities (on our side,
of course). The list goes on… Eat, eat, eat…
drink, drink, drink… have fun, go for new
sensations, energize yourself with drugs,
follow where your heart leads you…
The Pope puts it so clearly: "there
are so many of our contemporaries who do
not yet know the love of God or who are seeking
to fill their hearts with trifling substitutes.'
And he immediately offers a solution. "It
is therefore urgently necessary for us to
be witnesses to love contemplated in Christ…
Dear young people, the Church needs genuine
witnesses for the new evangelization: men
and women whose lives have been transformed
by meeting with Jesus, men and women who
are capable of communicating this experience
to others. The Church needs saints. All are
called to holiness, and holy people alone
can renew humanity…."
'Never lose the chance to become like Jesus',
Mother Teresa would tell us. And Saint Francis
of Assisi will immediately add, 'Preach the
gospel at all times, if necessary, use words'.
As Catholics we cannot just sit complacently
on our laurels worried about saving our small
little soul and doing our own little thing.
Our whole lives should resonate with a zeal
to help others know that "eternal life
is to know . . . the only true God and Jesus
Christ whom he has sent". It is not
the same to live a marriage crisis, a terminal
sickness, an enjoyable moment with your friends,
with Jesus Christ and without Jesus Christ.
This is the reason why St. Paul brought the
Gospel to Europe, and why St. Patrick returned
to Ireland, the land of his enslavement,
and why St. Boniface felled the Oak of Thor
in the Germanic regions of Europe, and why
St. Augustine of Canterbury set sail for
England and the North American Martyrs for
Quebec. This is why Blessed Damien of Molokai
left Belgium to go to Hawaii and why St.
Francesca Cabrini left Italy for the United
States and why Blessed Diego and Father Medina
left Spain to sail to the Marianas.
One of the saddest statistics of our day
is that 95% of all church members have never
led anyone to Christ. Cecil Northcott in
'A Modern Epiphany' tells of a discussion
in a camp of young people where representatives
of many nations were living together. "One
wet night the campers were discussing various
ways of bringing people back to Christ. They
turned to the girl from Africa. `Maria,'
they asked, `what do you do in your country?'
`Oh,' said Maria, `we don't have missions
or give pamphlets away. We just send one
or two Christian families to live and work
in a village, and when people see what Christians
are like, then they want to be Christians
In the end the only all-conquering argument
is the argument of a Christian life. A man
once laid a piece of chocolate candy on a
table. Then, picking up an ant, he put it
near the delicious candy. He was surprised
to see it take a single bite and then hurry
off to inform the rest of the colony. Soon
the little insect returned, followed by a
long train of other ants that devoured the
treat with him.
Once you taste the goodness of the Lord you
simply cannot but go out and spread the glad
tidings to others. Perhaps the problem is
that many of us have never tasted His goodness!
Perhaps we have never followed THE star like
what the Magi did! What a pity!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright