The future, reclaimed
St Jude is upon us, All Saints and All Souls follow closely. Before we know it, the liturgical year will be over. We’ll shed the green of Ordinary Time (love the term Ordinary Time, it’s so weird) and don the purple of Advent (or rather our priests will).
But there is one last momentuous event to look forward to: Christ the King (instigated by Pope Pius XI to fight secularism).The celebration is better known in these climes as National Youth Sunday (brought in to make young people feel at home in the Church).
For an organisation known to work in centuries, the Church in this country appears to have gone a long way in year. Or at least, its vision for Youth Ministry, under the aegis of Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton has undergone a radical transformation. (Youth Services was closed last year)
Remember last year’s National Youth Sunday entitled “Reclaim the future”?
While the Mass pack prepared by the Youth Services covered saving the environment admirably, one piece of Fair Trade chocolate at a time, there was little mention in the on-line pamphlet of evangelisation, the search for Truth, or even Christ. Suggestions included getting young people to repent for over-filling their kettles during the Penetential Rite and a “Gospel Sketch”.
Some of the yoof of England and Wales thought the whole thing was a rather patronising and pathetic attempt at keeping them interested in the Church. (You can read some of the reactions here)
How things have changed.
This year’s National Youth Sunday Mass takes its theme from World Youth Day: “We have set our hope on the living God” and includes catechesis, explains of the different parts of the Mass and encourages Eucharistic Adoration while not ignoring questons of justice.
The blurb on the site, introducing Christ the King (and National Youth Sunday), reads:
“The feast of Christ the King invites us to reflect on the nature of the Kingdom of God, and challenges us to live as citizens of a kingdom “not of this world” (John 18:36). What is distinctive about Christ’s kingship? Jesus says that “all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice” (John 18:37). What does it mean to listen to this voice today? How do we act on its promptings to bring about the Kingdom of God here and now? “
Compare and contrast with:
This year’s National Youth Sunday takes the theme Reclaim the future! It continues the livesimply message of recent years by inviting us to think about how we can live sustainably in our communities.
Green issues and environmental concerns remain constantly in the news: we continue to hear about the effects of global warming; we’re encouraged to consider how we use the world’s resources; we are told to recycle more and more, and so on. Living simply and sustainably reminds us that these aren’t just trendy, eco-friendly actions but God-given responsibilities.
Can you spot the difference?