Let Jesus be 'your teacher, your life coach,' archbishop urges teens

IMAGE: Victor Aleman, Angelus News


ANGELES (CNS) — Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles told 1,600 Catholic teens
gathered for the “City of Saints” conference that their faith and love for
Jesus was an inspiration.

to live your faith and share your faith — it is so beautiful to witness. And
it is so inspiring,” he said in an Aug. 5 homily at the University of
California at Los Angeles.

archbishop and the Office of Religious Education of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles hosted
the third annual “City of Saints” conference for teens, offering them an encounter with
Christ through fellowship, praise and worship.

attended from 80 parishes and schools throughout Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and
Ventura counties, the three counties that make up the archdiocese.

The Aug. 4-6
event featured speakers as well as music with contemporary Catholic-Christian
band WAL.

Attendees had an opportunity to participate in facilitated group
time and the sacrament of reconciliation. Archbishop Gomez celebrated an afternoon Mass Aug. 4 to welcome the teens, then led them in an outdoor eucharistic procession to open a area designated as “Sacred Space,” where spiritual directors described different paths of prayer for the weekend..

want to say, as we heard St. Peter say in the Gospel passage tonight — ‘It is
good that we are here, Lord!’ Thanks be to God!” the archbishop said in
his homily at the Aug. 5 Mass closing the full day of the conference.

Gospel tonight, leads us up the high mountain — the mountain of God,” he continued.
“It is almost like we are chosen witnesses to go up with Jesus. Just as he
chose the three apostles to go with him in the Gospel — St. Peter, St. James
and St. John.”

have the privilege tonight in this Gospel to see what they saw, to hear what
they heard — the ‘transfiguration’ of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Gomez

scene was amazing, he said, with the face of Jesus “shining like
the sun,” his clothes turning into “white light,” and the prophets Moses and Elijah
appearing “out of nowhere.”

what they saw “reminds us that our lives are part of a great mystery — a
cosmic reality — the loving plan of the living God. My young friends, you and
me, we are ‘part of the plan,'” the archbishop told the teens.

purpose of our lives is to be transformed and transfigured. To become more like
Jesus every day of our lives. Until one day we will shine like the sun — just
we saw his face shine like the sun in the Gospel today,” Archbishop Gomez
explained. “This is God’s plan for your lives — to be his sons and
daughters. Just as Jesus was his beloved Son.”

is the answer” as to how to do this, he said. “Listen to him! This is
the best advice you will ever receive, because it comes from God himself. Let
Jesus be your teacher — your ‘life coach,’ your ‘personal trainer.’ Enter into
his plan for your life. It is a plan of love, a plan that will lead you to

Gomez told the teens about two practical things in his life that he said have helped him
listen to Jesus — prayer and reading the Gospels. He urged them to make
those two things a habit in their own lives.

suggested they download a Bible app onto their smartphones, so “you will
have the Gospels with you everywhere you go.”

you get a minute, you can read a passage from the Gospel,” Archbishop
Gomez said. “It is way better than checking your Instagram feed.”

“it is true that you can follow me on Instagram, so you should check that
out, too!” he added.

more we pray, the easier it becomes to open our hearts to God,” Archbishop
Gomez said. “The more we reflect on the Gospels — the more we begin to
see Jesus alive and working in our lives and in the world.”

more we try to listen to Jesus, the easier it becomes to hear him,” he
said. “The more we want to be with him — in the Eucharist, in the sacrament
of reconciliation.”

following these practices, Archbishop Gomez said, “slowly, we have a ‘transfiguration’
in our lives. That is how it works.”

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