To go on a pilgrimage is not simply to travel to a holy place, but it is to recognise that each day of our lives God calls us to draw nearer to him. God calls us to seek him at different times in our lives. He may intimate His presence at a time of crisis, a time of decision, of suffering, joy, happiness or despair. He may ask us to show courage.
But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, `Courage! It’s me! Don’t be afraid.’ It was Peter who answered. `Lord,’ he said, `if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’ Jesus said, `Come.’ Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but then noticing the wind, he took fright and began to sink.`Lord,’ he cried, `save me!’ Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. `You have so little faith,’ he said, `why did you doubt?’ And as they got into the boat the wind dropped. The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, `Truly, you are the Son of God.’
Matthew 14:27:33 Jerusalem Bible
We are all at some time or another in our lives asked to ‘walk on water’, to trust God and set out in faith at His command over the troubled waters of our lives. We may be going through a period of doubt and uncertainty concerning our faith, our future, or a relationship. Whatever the circumstance, it is often then that we hear the call of God and the invitation to rely on the word of Christ.
God in Christ, calls all Christians today to seek him. We are no exception. Each year, more and more young people desire to make pilgrimage. The difference between the tourist and the pilgrim is that the pilgrim seeks an experience of God. Each one of us makes a personal journey, however we help each other on the way. Many young people begin to reject ‘religion’ whilst at the same time opting for ‘spirituality’. Perhaps young people find the Church as boring, a place of no relevance for them. In our journey with God, we need shapes, structure and support. The Church, our fellow Christians, can offer this support.
To go on a pilgrimage is therefore not simply to journey to a holy place. There is an inner journey as well, as an outer one. Christ calls out to us, seeking us through all we meet. Allowing us to see ‘Christ’ in others. In their words, their actions and the way they live their lives.
Let us pray that in Rome this year each one of us grows closer to Christ and each other.
May God give us light to guide us,
Courage to support us,
And love to unite us
Now and evermore.