Moysés Azevedo, founder of the Shalom Catholic Community, shared the theme of this year’s Congress “ I appoint you as a witness of what you have seen”. The founder’s preaching was based on this year‘s Listening retreat and Pope Francis’ message for World Youth Day.
“ I say to you, arise! I appoint you as a witness of what you have seen“, was the theme of the Shalom Youth Congress Alive 2021 and also of the Pope’s message for the WYD2023. This motivation comes from Paul’s message, the Pope shows what moved Paul’s heart after an experience with Christ.
At first, Moysés reminded us that we are still in the pandemic, and in this time, many have experienced pain and suffering, situations caused by the loss of people close to us, and this directly affects our lives. In addition to the strain that the virus causes. With loneliness, addictions become evident, stress builds up… however in the midst of this context God says: Arise! , it’s time to live a new time.
We are witnesses of the Risen One who passed through the Cross
“We need to have the look of the Risen One who passed through the Cross, a supernatural look, at the end of the tunnel there is a true light, we look with hope”, said the founder, according to the words of Pope Francis. When a young man falls, in some way, humanity also falls, but when a young man rises it’s as if the whole world rises with him.
Above all, we need to be contemplated by the mystery of the resurrection, and thus prepare ourselves for the new that comes from God. Humanity cannot start again without the vigor of the young people of this new age. We note how humanity needs this new look. Consequently, the figure of Paul, who witnessed his faith, is a light for us, in this new start as Church, humanity and Shalom Work.
Moysés quoted the image of the Risen Jesus leaving the chapel, with a great procession. ‘ You are in this procession, young people, priests, families and celibates, follow the Risen One who passed through the Cross’. We go to the four corners of the Earth, He stretches out His hand and goes to meet those who most need it, lifts us up. We are with Christ, for Christ and in Christ, those who proclaim and raise up, We must say, ” Here I am, Lord!”, affirms the founder.
> Understand the elements of the image
How to be a witness to the Resurrection?
We saw that Saul persecuted Christians, he was arrested and blind. Until the day that the person of Jesus Christ went to meet him, and made him the apostle to the nations. To be a witness, he goes from city to city and wants to give freely what he received freely, talks about the experience of what he saw and witnessed.
This is what we are called to announce, in the midst of the darkness of your life, Jesus, the person of Jesus, entered your heart and transformed your life like Paul, he became a new creature. “You had your experience that changed your life and you are called to announce in your life, your routine, to bear witness to the experience of Jesus”, said Moysés, and continues: “To be a witness you must experience a fundamental and essential condition. Do and redo the experience today during this Youth Congress, as the Lord wants you to have this experience. The Shalom Youth Congress is your Damascus road. This event can change your life and let you become a new creature. ”
We will change and renew our experience with Christ when we let him give us a true experience with Him. “I need to meet him in prayer, in the Word, in the sacraments, this updates my experience with Christ. Today I need to hear the voice, to be washed, to be transformed, and that changes my life, sanctifies me. The Eucharist is the place for this daily meeting. By feeding us with the Eucharist, which is communion and adoration, being before the Eucharistic and letting Jesus himself burn in us. In the Eucharist, Jesus invites you to let Him be your refuge, your own home. Communion and Eucharistic Adoration are medicine, when we let Jesus in his blessed sacrament take place in us, we are healed, He makes us free, we can overcome the crisis of faith and all human struggles, when we are one body with Him through this perfect union, nothing has the last word.”
We are part of the procession of the Risen Christ
Let’s go with a sparkle in our eyes, renew our missionary zeal, inspired by the model of St. Teresa of Calcutta, “Go with a sparkle in our eyes and a smile on our lips, as she used to. And in Adoration and Communion, she found meaning, brightness and joy.” God insists and persists, He does not give up.
Let us put our strength and our passion at the service of the mission, an example is at the service of project ‘Shalom, Friends of the poor‘, because when we touch the poor, we touch Christ, and thus we reinvigorate our strength.
Finally, “the Pope invites you, the Church invites you, the Community invites you, let us be joyful witnesses of the Risen Jesus”, encourages Moyses. Our next stop is World Youth Day, we await you, let us march with joy, joy to be witnesses of the Risen One.