So did any of you watch the NRL Grand Final? Much of Sydney was gripped by it a few weeks ago. Why? Partly because it was one of the best grand finals I’ve ever seen. But there was another reason: like any sport with two good teams – you simply didn’t know what was going to happen. Would the Roosters be able to do a very unBulldogs thing and hold the defence? Would Cooper Cronk be able to hold his shoulder together? What would happen? We didn’t know. This is one reason why we love watching sport: you don’t know beforehand what will happen, and the match itself is a voyage of discovery.
This is Jesus’ point in today’s Gospel. As unpredictable as a football match might be, far more the action of God in our life: for as the lightning flashing from one part of heaven lights up the other, so will be the Son of Man when his day comes. We don’t know where the lightning will strike: it could be anywhere as far as we can see. Only in watching it do we discover.
This is the way we will experience World Youth Day. This will be number five for me. And just like the other ones, we don’t know what’s going to happen. We have a program yes. But two things: one, WYD programs always go a bit funky. And two: none of us knows what experiences will touch our heart, or change our life.
The only thing we do know is that we will have opportunities to discover three things:
- We will discover that God is good. I don’t mean that he is a nice. I mean that we discover that God is so good, so perfect, so beautiful, so limitless – that he fills my heart and every gap of insecurity or anxiety or identity.
- We will also discover, to our surprise, that a Catholic lifestyle is the best lifestyle there is: that no other lifestyle on earth comes remotely close to how good Christians have it. But Father how do you know? Because that’s what we discover at WYD; because, if Jesus is God and he made you, its only logical; and because I was an atheist once – and atheism is no match for Christianity.
- And there is a third thing we will discover – or you will discover personally: you will deepen your sense of identity. For example, that for God there is no one more important than you. That you are worth more even than the life of God.