Fr. Roy Cimagala .
WITH the holding of the National Youth Day celebration here in Cebu this week, we are again given a chance to take a long and serious look at the situation of today’s youth not only in our country but also all over the world. And let’s see what we can do with the pluses and minuses, the lights and shadows that such consideration would give us.
It is obvious that today’s youth are way different from those in the previous generations in so many respects, like in terms of mentality, behavior and lifestyle, attitude, culture and manners, etc. It should come as no surprise since today’s youth are exposed to a lot more things than those of the past. While every generation is different from the others, the present one seems to be more sharply different.
Today’s youth, in general, seem to know and to use a lot more things in terms of technologies. Aside from the wealth of knowledge that has been accumulated through the ages worldwide and now made more accessible due to the new technologies, they are now freely riding the wave of the many new developments in the areas of the sciences, the arts, and of the course the technologies. They are the digital natives.
These new things, of course, can have double effects. They can be good and bad, depending on how we understand and use them. While we can see a lot of today’s youth empowered greatly because of these new things, we can also see many of them sinking in all forms of anomalies and disorders.
There are those who manage to make good use of the many possibilities the new things offer them, but there also those who are simply confused and lost, trapped in their own self-indulgence. And between the two, I am afraid the latter is far more plenty than the former.
It’s the latter case that we should be more concerned about. They are the ones who seem to mature late when, in fact, the challenges and complications of the times call for them to mature early.
How can we help them? What measures should we use? I am sure we can come out with many ideas and initiatives. But initially these are what come to my mind.
We have to intensify our efforts to give effective accompaniment to our youth. How this can be done is something that should be the object of constant reflection, study, research and consultation.
In spite of difficulties arising from the sharp differences between the young and the old of today, we have to find a way of how these two sectors can go together in the journey of life. We have to find a way of putting together for the benefit of today’s youth the old and the new things in our life, the traditions and the innovations, etc.
What is also needed is that we have to be clear about what would comprise as objectively good for all of us, especially the young, what criteria and standard we can use to measure the maturity of a person, etc.
We cannot deny that the strengthening and deepening of people’s faith in God is crucial in this concern. We also have to work out the development of a genuine spiritual life in the young, because without this, we may be doing a lot of things but would still miss the real thing in life. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world…,” we are already amply warned.
Some practical pieces of advice are also very much inorder. Like, we have to remind the young ones to go slow in their pursuit for the new things today, and to avoid a multi-tasking work style especially if they do not yet have a proper sense of priority about the different human needs.
Am sure a lot more can be said.
From death to a new eternal life. We should never be afraid of death. Though it obviously is not something good, since ultimately it is a consequence of sin, death somehow has become a gateway to our new, eternal life with God, a life of bliss and complete identification with God who wants us to be his image and likeness, children of his, sharers of his nature and life.
This is made possible because death has been redeemed by Christ with his own death and resurrection. Its sting has been removed. Its victory and dominion over us has been crushed. It has been converted as the final means for us to gain the definitive life meant for us. In short, with Christ and with him only, we can transit from death to our new life.
We should not worry if as we approach the end of our earthly life, there will still be many things to be done, problems to be solved, challenges to be tackled. We are not expected to do and solve all of them. We will always die with some unfinished businesses still hanging.
But Christ will take care of all that. What is impossible with us is always possible with him. He has shown this by accepting all the sins of man with his passion and death on the cross, and conquering sin and death itself with his resurrection.
We can say that Christ was not able to solve all the human problems that we have. What he did in the end was simply to assume all these problems, including our sins, by offering his life on the cross as payment or ransom, then he conquered sin and death with his resurrection.
In other words, our redemption or the completion of our creation as image and likeness of God is first of all a fruit of divine power and not of our own effort, though we are expected to do what we can to cooperate.
We know that our cooperation can only go so far. But at least, as long as our cooperation is done with faith, trust and love for God, then God’s divine power can work wonders in us. He can transform us into his image and likeness.
This truth is somehow affirmed when St. Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians: “When all things are under his (Christ’s) authority, the Son (Christ) will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.” (15,28)
Another translation of that passage expresses it more vividly: “…the Son himself will be made subject to him who put all things under him, so that God may be all in all.”
So what we have to understand is that while we do what we can and we do them as best as we can, we should not worry so much if our best efforts cannot solve all our problems due to our sins. It can only prove that the damage due to our sin, which is an offense not only against ourselves but first of all is against God, is beyond our nature to repair. It can only be repaired by God himself with our cooperation.
That is why we can consider ourselves as our own co-redeemer, with Christ understood as the sole redeemer. Our role as co-redeemer does not compromise in any way the truth that Christ is the sole redeemer of mankind. But Christ somehow involves us in the work of redemption precisely because we are supposed to be like him who is the pattern of our humanity.
We have to see to it that whatever situation we may be in, especially when we have problems, we should identify ourselves with Christ, because it is only through him that everything is resolved. Even our death, our biggest unsolvable problem, will be solved!