by Philemon Kho
Stronger Teens Camp was organized by Catholic Youth Ministry (CYM) at Eagles Nest Youth Retreat Centre at Gidgegannup on 4th – 6th July to kick-start the school holidays, with a series of five talks, focusing on John 8:32 “The Truth will set you free”.
Fr. Mark’s talk struck me the most when he spoke about “Being Free from Sin”. He reminded us that sin separates man from God and that Jesus was the one thing that connected us with God. With that, Fr. Mark made an analogy using the Jenga blocks that we had for the weekend.
He said, “We are like Jenga blocks. We are created in perfection and built by every good deed that we do, to be a strong tower for God. Then sin entered the world. As we sin, we create holes within us, weakening our structure slowly. We allow sin to slowly consume us to a point where we are covered with holes and eventually collapse – a broken tower. However, by the grace of God, we can be mended through the Sacrament- the divine gift of Reconciliation. Reconciliation builds us up again.”
This was a powerful analogy because I had never pictured myself as a strong tower because of all the imperfections that I saw in myself. Through the talk, I realised that I was perfectly imperfect in God’s eyes and it is by His grace that despite falling into sin, He will love me inevitably and unconditionally, just like the parable of the Prodigal son.
God’s love is further understood by Vincent’s talk on God’s love, where we are asked to see God’s love in our everyday life and also to receive it with open arms, clinging not onto things that we think are good enough for us when God can offer us the best things. How do we receive the best when our hands are full of things that we are so reluctant to let go?
With the other talks about “Who Jesus is?” by Aura, which touch on the topic of Jesus being the ultimate sacrifice of love for us, “The Holy Spirit” by Anita, where we continuously seek guidance and help from the Holy Spirit and “Living in Freedom” by Eliza, where we are called to remain joyful despite circumstances.
All of the talks manage to tie up the truths of the church that truly has set us free. Free to spread the knowledge we acquire from the weekend and through the things we do in our daily lives.