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I went to the celebration of the holy Mass at New York’s Yankee Stadium April 20 not as a fan or as a tourist but rather as a pilgrim from Boston. I journeyed with my sister, Paula, my friend, Laura, and my other sister, Sister Fiata of Our Good Shepherd who is a cloistered Carmelite nun and thus accompanying us in spirit, as pilgrims longing to see Christ, to trust in Christ, and to put our hope in Christ “for in hope we were saved” (Rom 8:24). And when we put our trust in Jesus, when we place all our hope and love in Jesus, “what will separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom 8:35).
This is the central moment that is unforgettable: When I was on my knees in prayer gazing at Christ, looking to Christ our hope and our salvation, and encountering Christ in the Eucharist. As the Eucharist was lifted into the air above the altar, the light of Christ, “the way and the truth and the life” shined in our hearts (Jn 14:6). Christ “the light of the world” sets us free (Jn 8:12; cf. 14:32); we are now free to live in a new way; we are now free to set the world aflame with faith, hope, and love; we are now free to “confess to all the world that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil 2:11).
In his homily, Pope Benedict XVI called us to “lift our eyes” to Jesus, to “join our prayers” to Jesus, and to “turn to Jesus” “who alone is the way that leads to eternal happiness,” to eternal life. He reminded us of the eternal truth which his venerable predecessor taught us again during the World Youth Day in Toronto: “only Jesus is the true Master, only Jesus speaks the unchanging message that responds to the deepest longings of the human heart, because he alone knows ‘what is in each person’ (cf. Jn 2:25)” (Pope John Paul II, Address 17th World Youth Day, July 25, 2002).
In this time of uncertainty, this time of temptation and trial, this time in which many Christians have fallen asleep in their faith and have forgotten what it means to encounter Christ and be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world,” this time in which many people claim to be believers and then go about their days as if God does not exist, this is the time for us to answer God’s call to truly have faith in Christ, to truly turn to Christ and place our hope in him, and to love God and one another as God has loved us (Mt 5:14-15; Jn 14:1; Jn 13:34). Let us pray through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary that we may have the courage to say “yes” to God and to pray “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the Earth!” (cf. Lk 1:38; Ps 104:30).
Daniel Grejdus is a teacher from Lowell Catholic High School.
Heeding the call is presented in collaboration with the archdiocese’s Office of Vocations and is a forum for topics intended to motivate and inspire those considering a call to ordained ministry or religious life.