This isn’t exactly how I wanted to start talking about World Youth Day.
I had hoped to start with some of the basics – like what it is, why it is, where it is, who it’s for, some of the history… but it seems events are conspiring against me.
Instead, I think I need to address the elephant in the room, namely: Aren’t you scared to be going to Europe right now? That question has a lot of variants, most especially related to the fact that the Diocese is sending over 100 young people to Krakow.
I can understand why folks are scared, or nervous, or apprehensive. The attack in Munich. The attack in Nice. The failed coup d’état in Turkey. Going back a little further, the Paris attacks. The Belgium attacks. And so on. And while the Polish police and military forces will be on a higher state of alert for WYD, and while the US State Department says there are no credible threats against it, those events are tough to overcome.
But we can’t let fear rule us. In fact, for a true believer in Christ, there is no longer room for fear. Consider these words of Saint Paul:
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him? Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us. Who will condemn us? It is Christ [Jesus] who died, rather, was raised, and is also at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?…No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, not future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So, no, I’m not afraid. I’m worried we might miss our connecting flight on Monday, but that’s an entirely different issue…