"Advent Wakes Up Christians Who Are in Danger"

Reflection from National Director of World Youth Day 2002

TORONTO, DEC. 3, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, national director of World Youth Day 2002, penned this reflection for the Church in Canada on the theme of WYD and Advent 2001.

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You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.

In his Message to the Youth of the World for the World Youth Day 2002 in Canada, Pope John Paul II writes: "Dear friends, it is time to get ready for the Seventeenth World Youth Day. A new century, a new millennium are opening in the light of Christ. But not everyone can see this light. Ours is the wonderful and demanding task of becoming its 'reflection.'"

During this time of longing and waiting for the Lord, we are invited to pray and to ponder the Word of God, but most of all, to become a reflection of the light of Christ, indeed of Christ himself.

But we all know how difficult it is to mirror the light of Christ, especially when we have become disillusioned with life, accustomed to the shadowy existence of the world, or grown content with mediocrity and emptiness.

Advent reminds us that we must be ready to meet the Lord at any and every moment of life. Just like a security alarm wakes up a homeowner, Advent wakes up Christians who are in danger of sleeping through their lives.

In the same Message mentioned above, Pope John Paul II writes to his young friends: "It is the nature of human beings, and especially youth, to seek the Absolute, the meaning and fullness of life. Dear young people, do not be content with anything less than the highest ideals! Do not let yourselves be dispirited by those who are disillusioned with life and have grown deaf to the deepest and most authentic desires of their heart.

"You are right to be disappointed with hollow entertainment and passing fads, and with aiming at too little in life. If you have an ardent desire for the Lord you will steer clear of the mediocrity and conformism so widespread in our society."

For what or for whom are we waiting in life? What virtues or gifts are we praying to receive this year? Do we long for healing and reconciliation in broken relationships?

What meaning and understanding do we desire to have in the midst of our own darkness, sadness, and mystery? How are we living out our baptismal promises? What qualities of Jesus are we seeking in our own lives this Advent?

Many times, the things, qualities, gifts, or people we await give us great insights into who we really are. Advent is a time for opening eyes, focusing views, paying attention, keeping perspective on God's presence in the world.

Our own baptism is a share in the royal, messianic mission of Jesus. Anyone who shares this mission also shares royal responsibilities, in particular, care for the afflicted and the hurting. Advent is a wonderful opportunity to "activate" our baptismal promises and commitment.

Pope John Paul II invites young people to take their baptism seriously. In his Message he writes: "'You are the salt of the earth....' One of the main functions of salt is to season food, to give it taste and flavor. This image reminds us that, through Baptism, our whole being has been profoundly changed, because it has been 'seasoned' with the new life which comes from Christ (cf. Rom 6:4). The salt which keeps our Christian identity intact even in a very secularized world is the grace of Baptism."

During this Advent season of watching and waiting, what is the best way to prepare for the World Youth Day? We prepare for this wonderful event in our country by first taking our baptism seriously. We strive to be salt, that flavor which gives taste and meaning to Christian life. We long to be light, mirroring the brightness of Christ's presence to all those we meet each day.

As we prepare for World Youth Day 2002, allow me to suggest that you mend a quarrel. Build peace. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a love letter. Share some treasure. Give a kind answer even though you would like to respond harshly.

Encourage a young person to believe in him/herself. Invite a young person to attend World Youth Day 2002. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Find the time. Make time.

Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation. Listen more. Apologize if you were wrong. Be kind even if you weren't wrong! Try to understand. Flout envy. Examine the demands you make on others. Think first of someone else. Appreciate. Be kind, be gentle. Laugh a little. Laugh a little more.

Deserve confidence. Take up arms against malice. Decry complacency. Express gratitude. Go to Church. Stay in Church a little while longer than usual.

Welcome a stranger by opening your home to some of the thousands of young pilgrims who will visit our country next summer. Gladden the heart of a child. Volunteer your time for World Youth Day 2002. Pray for its success.

Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love. Speak it once again. Speak it even more loudly. Speak it quietly. Rejoice, for the Lord is near! And he will be mightily present in our land next summer during World Youth Day 2002.

3. desember 2001