By Amanda Murthy
A disciple of Jesus is one who does their best to think the thoughts of Jesus, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has told youth last weekend.
“See with His eyes, listen with His ears, speak with His voice and to love with His heart,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
Speaking as part of the Bishop’s Year of Youth catechesis on Sunday 3 June at the University of Notre Dame Fremantle campus, Archbishop Costelloe spoke on the theme of ‘Living as disciples of Jesus in a secular society.’
During the course of the catechesis, the Archbishop took the opportunity to explore several fundamental questions including ‘who is God’, ‘why would we want to follow Jesus’, and ‘what it means to follow Him’, throughout the 30 minute session.
The catechesis commenced with a reflective praise and worship session lead by the Notre Dame Campus Ministry, followed by an ice breaker game.
Archbishop Costelloe then took the podium, and began his talk with a reflection on his younger days.
“The values that my parents and family were on about, and the values that were taught in our schools were pretty much the same as the values of the society in which we were living in.
“However in the last 20 years, our society does not necessarily support the choice of those who want to follow Jesus.
“Therefore, let me remind you, that you would need a lot of courage, conviction, support and you’re going to need to be prepared for quite a lot of challenges along the way as a disciple of Jesus.
“We need to ask ourselves an important question, and that is, how do we follow Jesus in a society that does not necessarily support our views?”
Archbishop Costelloe explained that the first step to being a true disciple of Christ is to know who God is, then, to be able to trust in Him.
“The question of who God is absolutely changes everything about our lives. This is why many of people in our society don’t even want to ask the question.
“I personally believe that our life depends on God who gives it to us, and that is the implication of saying yes that there is a God,” said Archbishop Costelloe, adding that those who do not believe there is a God might be left with a challenge on how to make sense of anything or find any meaning to life, particularly in their suffering.
Archbishop Costelloe explained the various ways in which society tries to explain who God is and what He is about.
The first example given was the ‘The watchmaker God’ – A God who gets everything up and running from the start, and leaves after he has done His work.
The second example was “The God of the gaps” – The God that you call on when there is no explanation for something, or the ‘ Angry God’ – A God who acts like a policeman who is waiting for us to make a mistake so he can get us.
These are all not descriptions of the God that we believe in, he affirmed.
“The kind of God that is spoken about in the Gospels, is loving, merciful, compassionate, and is not only revealed in what He says, but in what He does,” said Archbishop Costelloe.
Quoting Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, “To live without Faith, to live without something to defend, without a steady struggle for the truth. That’s not living, that is just existing”, Archbishop Costelloe pointed out the sad reality that the majority people in today’s society live life on the surface, refusing to have the courage to go deeper.
He said, making a decision to live a meaningful life would mean having the responsibility of committing to walk in Jesus’ way, to commit in His truth, and to live the life that He gave us through His discipleship.
Being Christ-like, explained Archbishop Costelloe, is to have the courage to act, think and do what Jesus would do in various situations, giving the example of Jesus encounter with Zacchaeus.
“Zacchaeus was a man who is despised and had no chance of changing until he found respect, was accepted and loved – Jesus was the first one to accept, love and respect Him, simply by being welcoming.
“We’ve got to put Jesus back at the heart of our lives, and put him back at the heart of our Church.
“When we do this, we will be able to acknowledge that Jesus is the Divine son of God, in other words – both fully human like us, and yet at the same time God.”
Archbishop Costelloe reiterated the importance of helping one another towards building a discipleship of Christ.
He urged the youth to fill their minds with all that is good especially in this day and age when the information received is often opposed to what we believe in.
“We are made to be reliant on each other, we are made to be mutually responsible for one another – This is built into the nature of God’s creation of us in His image.
“We need to help and look to each other, and trust one another to be the people God has created us to be,” he said.
“When we say yes to God and Jesus as the Divine son of God, when we recognise the Church as the body of Christ and the sacrament of salvation – Our Church community, living together, supporting each other, forgiving each other, will be able to gradually walk this path of discipleship.”
The event continued with a Q&A session, followed by a chanting of the Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium, a Latin hymn written by Saint Thomas Aquinas especially for the Feast of Corpus Christi.
This session was led by Father Mariusz Grzech. Those present also had a chance to mingle and get to know one another during a tea session after.