As I reminisce about our World Youth Day experience in Lisbon from August 1-6, 2023, I am reminded of the profound truth that God’s work is not bound by numbers or grandeur, but rather it thrives in the humble and the small.
With dauntless courage and a touch of whimsy, we fearlessly appended our names to the roster of World Youth Day, christening ourselves as the illustrious “Fr. Justy and Friends.”
Our humble quartet, comprising a mere four souls, stood as a shining embodiment of this resounding truth, for we found ourselves among the most diminutive assemblies in the entire World Youth Day gathering.
In Scripture, we find numerous instances where God accomplished great things through the seemingly insignificant and overlooked. David, a young shepherd boy, defeated the mighty Goliath with a single stone.
Jesus chose a group of twelve ordinary fishermen and tax collectors to carry forth His message of love and salvation to the world. These stories teach us that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness and that the small can become vessels of tremendous grace.
The four of us have embodied the beauty of unity and friendship. Our very small group reminds us that true discipleship is not about the size of our following, but the depth of our commitment and the authenticity of our love for God and one another.
It is through our intimate bond that we radiate the light of Christ, demonstrating that the smallest of groups can have a profound impact on the world.
Moreover, World Youth Day itself reflects the power of smallness. It brings together young people from every corner of the globe, representing countless languages, cultures, and backgrounds.
In this diverse tapestry, we witness the beauty of unity in diversity, where each individual’s small and unique contribution enriches the collective experience.
In a society that often values popularity, fame, and mass following, our group reminds us of the transformative power of small communities rooted in faith.
It invites us to reflect on the importance of cultivating authentic relationships, nurturing intimacy with God, and embracing the simplicity of our own journeys.
I pray that we will always remember that our worth and impact are not measured by the numbers, but by our willingness to surrender to God’s plan, to be vessels of His love, and to walk humbly in His footsteps.
We will keep drawing inspiration from our experience in Portugal, cherishing the beauty of smallness and embracing the extraordinary in the ordinary.
My sincere THANKS to my fellow pilgrims and friends Belle, Celeen, and Koko. And until the next World Youth Day!
Fr. Justy F. More, S.Th.L.,M.A. is the Vice Chancellor of the Diocese of Kalibo in the central Philippines. He is also the Director of the Diocesan Commission on Sacred Liturgy and the Director of the Christian Formation and Development Center of the Aklan Catholic College.