A Catholic Monthly Magazine

World Youth Day

Closing Mass 29 January 2019

The now of God

Jesus reveals the now of God, who comes to meet us and call us to take part in his now of “proclaiming good news to the poor… bringing liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, setting at liberty those who are oppressed, announcing the year of the Lord’s favour” (Luke 4:18-19). This is the now of God. It becomes present with Jesus: it has a face, it is flesh. It is a merciful love that does not wait for ideal or perfect situations to show itself, nor does it accept excuses for its appearance. It is God’s time, that makes every situation and place both right and proper. In Jesus, the promised future begins and becomes life. When? Now. Yet, not everyone who was listening felt invited or called. Not all the residents of Nazareth were prepared to believe in someone they knew and had seen grow up, and who was now inviting them to realise a long-awaited dream. Not only that, but “they said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’” (Luke 4:22).

The same thing can also happen with us. We do not always believe that God can be that concrete and commonplace, that close and real, and much less that he can become so present and work through somebody like a neighbour, a friend, a relative. We do not always believe that the Lord can invite us to work and soil our hands with him in his Kingdom in that simple and blunt a way. It is hard to accept that “God’s love can become concrete and can almost be experienced in history with all its painful and glorious vicissitudes” (Benedict XVI, General Audience, 28 September 2005).

God is real because love is real

Often we too behave like the neighbours in Nazareth: we prefer a distant God: nice, good, generous but far-off, a God who does not inconvenience us. Because a close and everyday God, a friend and brother, demands that we be concerned with our surroundings, everyday affairs and above all fraternity. God chose not to reveal himself as an angel or in some spectacular way, but to give us a face that is fraternal and friendly, concrete and familiar. God is real because love is real; God is concrete because love is concrete. Indeed, this “concrete manifestation of love is one of the essential elements in the life of Christians” (Benedict XVI, Homily, 1 March 2006).

You, dear young people, are not the future but the now of God. He invites you and calls you in your communities and cities to go out and find your grandparents, your elders; to stand up and with them to speak out and realise the dream that the Lord has dreamed for you. Not tomorrow but now, for wherever your treasure is, there will your heart also be (cf. Matthew 6:21).

The passion of love

Whatever you fall in love with, it will win over not only your imagination, it will affect everything. It will be what makes you get up in the morning, what keeps you going at times of fatigue, what will break open your hearts and fill you with wonder, joy and gratitude. Realise that you have a mission and fall in love; that will decide everything (cf. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Nada es más práctico). We may possess everything, but if we lack the passion of love, we will have nothing. Let us allow the Lord to make us fall in love! For Jesus, there is no ‘meantime’, but only a merciful love that wants to enter into and win over our hearts. He wants to be our treasure, because he is not a ‘meantime’, an interval in life or a passing fad; he is generous love that invites us to entrust ourselves. He is concrete, close, real love. He is festive joy, born of opting for and taking part in the miraculous draught of hope and charity, solidarity and fraternity, despite the paralysed and paralysing gaze born of fear and exclusion, speculation and manipulation.

Brothers and sisters, the Lord and his mission are not a ‘meantime’ in our life, something temporary; they are our life! In a special way throughout these days, Mary’s fiat has been whispering like a kind of music in the background. She not only believed in God and in his promises as something possible, she believed God himself and dared to say ‘yes’ to taking part in this now of the Lord. She felt she had a mission; she fell in love and that decided everything.   


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