Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 29, 2002
Collins challenges world's youth
Weave Christ throughout your life, says archbishop
By RENATO GANDIA
To be the salt of the earth, one must have integrity and zest in life, Archbishop Thomas Collins told more than 300 young people at St. Bonaventure Parish during a July 24 catechetical event.
WCR Staff Writer
"If we are to be the salt and light of the world, we have to change our own hearts so that such will be radiated to others, and they too will be encouraged to do the same," Collins said.
Quoting an old adage, he underlined, "You cannot give what you do not have. And if you don't have a changed heart, others too will not change."
The archbishop spoke dynamically and the audience received him well.
Attended by pilgrims from the states of Massachusetts, California, Michigan and Washington, and countries including Ghana, Laos and Korea, the catechetical talk lasted for 30 minutes, followed by the Holy Eucharist.
To illustrate his point, Collins cited the importance of preserving the character of salt. Salt keeps things whole and intact. "It preserves us. It keeps us alive.
"As the salt of the earth, we have to have integrity. We have to be totally for the Lord like the saints," the archbishop said.
The saints are models for Christians because of their wholehearted dedication of their lives to the Lord, not because it was something added to them, he said.
He reminded the young people that it is easy to be compartmentalized. "It is easy to say, 'Well part of my life is for Jesus Christ and the other part for me,'" emphasized Collins. When anyone does such self-division "one can only crumble.
"If we don't have integrity -- a little bit of our heart is dark and a little bit is light -- then we cannot become the salt of the earth for others."
He also reminded the young people that apart from the grace of God, one could never be a good Christian witness.
Pointing out the importance of a regular Confession, he urged the young people to celebrate it often. "It's like cleaning your house regularly, dumping the garbage regularly, or changing oil in your cars."
But to be a good Christian, it is not necessarily to live a dull life, rigidly following the commandments of God. "Religion and faith are not supposed to be bland. We need zest and that's what salt does too. Religion that is sad and not glad is bad."
Humour and laughter are needed in our Christian life because "we're not meant to just exist, we're meant to be alive, Collins said.
He cited the lives of St. Phillip Neri, who always carried a Bible in one pocket and a book of jokes in the other pocket and St. Teresa of Avila who could always find humour in her life in the monastery.
He mentioned that sometimes in religion a temporary zest could be found in big events like WYD.
There is nothing wrong with getting with the Lord through music while the youth of the world is gathered, but the most important thing about WYD is the follow-up.
"How you live your life after the WYD will test the kind of zest you got," he stressed.
Venus Manalo, 21, from the Archdiocese of San Francisco, was touched by the archbishop's talk.
The main point she gathered is giving herself up to God totally.
"Right now, I am at a point where I need to let go and let God because although I know God wants me to give, I don't. I keep on holding on, controlling my life and not trusting God to do his will for me."
This young woman thinks it's by God's grace that she attended the WYD.
"I've been hearing this message throughout the WYD. It's instilled in my heart right now. It's vibrating inside me every time I hear that message. I'm letting go of my life slowly."