Baguio City — If there is anyone who can be the best preacher of the Gospel to this age, it is the youth.
This was the content of the homily given by Fr. Bernard C. Amparado, OAR during the first day of the 13th Recollect Augustinian Youth National Summit (RAYNS) held in this city from January 20 to 24, 2020.
“Do you expect our old bishops to come up with initiatives that would appeal to the youth of today who do not go to Church or know Christ?” Fr. Amparado asked the 159 Recollect Augustinian Youth (RAY) delegates from 20 Recollect communities from all over the country gathered at Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary (CaReS) in this city.
“This task falls on your lap. This is your generation, and you are the best speakers of your age,” he added.
Fr. Amparado is the Rector of CaReS, the summit venue, which also houses the aspirants and postulants of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in the Philippines.
In his homily, the Father Rector provided the RAY delegates with two practical tips on how to spread the Gospel among their peers back in their respective communities. He said spreading the Word of God can be done by preaching with words and/or giving witness through their lives.
Of the two, however, he insisted that “witnessing to the Gospel through your lives is more important and more effective than preaching with words.”
He said people are wary of preachers who do not live out what they preach, as hypocrisy naturally turns people off.
“To be a messenger of God’s Word, you need to live your life in such a way that you become the message itself,” he said. “The messenger should become the message.”
Giving witness, moreover, is valuable, he stressed, because it “awakens in those who sleep curiosity in the Gospel and the Truth Who is Jesus himself.”
The task is hard, Fr. Amparado said, but it should be a source of great joy for the RAY.
“It is never easy to follow the Lord who asks us to deny ourselves, carry the cross, and give up our lives in his service. But to be invited to be his disciple is a great honor and privilege because the invitation itself is the guarantee of our salvation,” he told the delegates.
He added: “If we follow the call, we no longer receive gifts but we become the gift itself — for the Church and for the world.”
The five-day summit, which is done biennially, had for its theme, “I am RAY: A Message and a Messenger”.
Featured image caption: Seminary Rector Fr. Bernard C. Amparado, OAR (left) receives a token of gratitude from Fr. Joseph Dexter Palagtiosa, OAR, head of the Section on Youth Ministry.