By Natashya Fernandez
“As food gives flavour to salt, and light illuminates the dark, so too holiness gives purpose to life and makes it reflect God’s Glory.” Pope Saint John Paul II, World Youth Day 2002, Canada.
We are all called to be holy, it is not something that is set aside for people like Mother Teresa or Pope Francis, said 24:7 Youth Ministry’s’ Joel Massad during his recent talk at Veritas Youth Festival over the weekend of 30 June to 2 July.
His topic was based on one aspect of the theme of Veritas … and Holy is His Name (Luke 1:49) and what it means. Does Holiness mean that we have to constantly be doing Heroic acts or living by a certain way of life? What does it really mean to pursue Holiness?
In preparing for his talk on Saturday night, Mr Massad said that it resonated with him personally to understand that call to Holiness.
“As God is Holy and we share in his image and likeness, we too have a call to Holiness, so my talk will really hone in on that call to Holiness, what it means for us while looking at what it really means to pursue Holiness.
“In a sense the theme of God’s Holiness and discussing it with the youth of today has really challenged me in what it means to be Holy while also giving me a greater love in pursuing this goal of Holiness and really letting God shine through my preparation,” he explained.
Mr Massad also said that the theme of Veritas stems from the Magnificat, the words spoken by Mary on her visitation of her cousin Elizabeth, ‘The mighty one has done great things for me and Holy is His name’ (Luke 1:49).
“From this verse we can extract the three key themes of the weekend – the mightiness of God (Friday Night), the works of God (Saturday morning) and the Holiness of God (Saturday night) which I will be focusing on.
“All in all the Latin meaning of ‘Magnificat’ is the soul’s magnification of the Lord, so really when speaking on the Holiness of God, it’s all about the way we can allow God’s Holiness to shine (or magnify) through us.”
While recognising that his talk is a challenge for the youth of today, Mr Massad said that when we often hear the word ‘Holiness’, we immediately think that it’s not meant for us and only meant for those older more mature people who pray a lot.
“The call to Holiness is universal and is a call that is so vital to youth culture in our modern society. It is the pursuit of Holiness and seeking God that really gives purpose and joy to our lives, and that’s something I really want to show young people.
“That Holiness in itself is innately attractive and isn’t just reserved for the saints or those who are at a later stage in life,” he said.
While his background in the Youth ministry has had him dealing with young people since 2014, Joel says it has helped in his own faith journey and resonated very much with understanding and working with the youth of today.
“I think sometimes as young Catholics growing in our faith, things can get a bit lonely, sometimes it might feel like we might be the only ones striving to live out our faith among all our school or University friends.
“For this reason, events such as Veritas are a breath of fresh air because it makes you realise you’re not alone in your journey of faith and that other young people actually do want to come to faith and love God.
“For young people who might already be on their faith journey or for those who haven’t yet begun their journey of faith, just the witness of so many young people on fire for God in one place provides a testament to the presence of God in our modern context,” he concluded.