Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
October 26, 2009
Our job here is to be humble servants
Archdiocesan youth rally teens reflect on Jesus'words, "What is it you want me to do for you?"
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON - Jesus came to this world to serve, not to be served. So should we.
Speaking at the annual archdiocesan youth rally Oct. 17, Father John Gerth told a story to show the extent to which Christian service must go.
Gerth sat in the food court at a small shopping mall in Prescott, Ariz. Peering outside into the parking lot, he saw a mother primping her son's hair and straightening his shirt, presumably preparing him for his first day of work at one of the stores. It was joyful to watch.
As the boy exited the car, Gerth noticed that the boy's right hand was normal, but his left arm was much shorter, his hand small and crippled.
The boy walked in through the mall's front doors with pride because he had just experienced, from his mother, real love.
"There were these four other teenagers, two boys and two girls, walking by. He said 'Hello' to them, which is a wonderful thing. Go into a place where you don't know any of the people and say 'Hello,' and watch how they react," said Gerth.
One of the teenage boys started making fun of the boy with the disfigured hand. As he was doing so, the teenager walked smack into a pole and fell to the floor.
He lay there in pain with a stupid look on his face, said Gerth.
"His friends were pointing at him and laughing. This hand reached down and helped him up. It was the boy he had been making fun of. He reached down with his good right arm, helped him up and said 'I hope you have a great day.'
"That's serving," said Gerth.
He encouraged young people to move beyond their own insecurities, face life with humility and be humble servants. The number one person in Christ's kingdom will be the one who does the work of a slave.
Coordinated through their parishes and schools, about 300 youth attended the rally Oct. 17 at Archbishop O'Leary High School. Gerth, a Franciscan priest from Boston, led the day reflecting on the question Jesus asked his disciples, "What is it you want me to do for you?" (Mark 10.36)
Kayla Ziegler, from Sherwood Park, said she attended the youth rally to learn from the guest speakers and at the workshops. She enjoyed the prayer, music by the live youth band Article of Faith, and learned from Gerth's story the message of "not judging people at all. I have a hard time with that."
Sometimes one thinks that it takes years to live out one's faith. Through Jesus, however, one can be, like the teenager in the mall, pulled up and have a blessed day. By serving others, one sets a good example. When people seek answers about God, we ought to help them find those answers. This is demonstrated through our actions.
"What a tragedy it is if a friend comes looking for Christ and finds only you," said Gerth.
DO WHAT GOD SAYS
Chantel Girard, 16, from Prince George, B.C., said she too learned an invaluable lesson from Gerth's talk. She learned her purpose is not to tell God what to do, but to do what God tells her.
"I learned that we are servants. That was one of my big questions about why we are here and what are we really supposed to be doing in our lives to help God out," said Girard.
"I thought it would be a good experience to see what other retreats are like because I did retreats in my own hometown."
Chris Lapointe, from Assumption School in Cold Lake, had high expectations about the fun activities, workshops and speakers.
"I want to make some new friends and meet new people," said Lapointe.
Of Gerth's morning session, he said, "It was really more in-depth than I expected."
Leigha Albright, 16, said that becoming a servant of grace is the main idea that she will try incorporating into her everyday life.
"You can remain a good person, a godly person, if you stay holy. I don't want to do anything that is contrary to God's will. I think we'll all be better off if we try to be servants, the way Jesus was," she said.
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