by Deacon Bill Scholl
Have you ever wondered that of all the music ever made, Christmas carols seem to have no equal in their diversity and profusion of beauty?
Each year, even the hardest of unbelieving hearts cannot but be moved by the songs that sing of the birth of Christ, the God become man, the king born into poverty, who has come to save us.
It is as if the Holy Spirit, the animator of all beautiful art, has for centuries poured out inspiration to create music that speaks to our longing for reconciliation with the transcendent God. These songs are all aspirational.
Emmanuel, the God who is now with us, has brought the possibility of peace on earth. Jesus Christ is nothing if not a God of surprises, so it should be no surprise that the peace he brings will not be done for us, but must be done through our cooperation with his grace.
So, when we ask how God can allow so much evil in the world, we only have to look at ourselves. Too many of us are saying “no” to God and the mission he has entrusted to each of us.
So, how can we bring this peace? And for those of us charged with raising adolescents into Christian adults, how can we help them learn to bring this peace? By virtue of our baptism, we are reborn into the kingship of Christ.
Jesus has shown us that to be a king, we must, like him, be a servant leader. This is what Pope Francis meant when he said to a group of college students: “For leadership, there is only one road: service. There is no other way. If you have many qualities . . . but you are not a servant, your leadership will fail.”
This summer, many of our parishes will be providing opportunities for our Catholic teens to practice this leadership of service through mission trips. The archdiocesan office for social justice, in collaboration with the vocations office, is proud to offer an easy and affordable way for all our parish youth to have such a servant- leader experience through our Prayer and Action mission trips, this year in Emporia.
So, as the songs of peace on earth still echo in our ears, talk to the Catholic teens in your life and invite them to bring the peace of Christ to those in need by joining other youth for a summer mission trip with Prayer and Action (P&A).
Most P&A teenaged missionaries report being transformed by their experiences with Prayer and Action. Encourage your parish leadership to organize a youth group to go.
Registration is now open. Go to the website at: PandAKC.org to sign up and/or to learn more. The peace that Christ brings you abides with you as you bring it to others through service.
This is a peace that our teens need to practice, as do we all, who sing in exultation at the birth of Christ and his kingdom, which is now and not quite yet.