Cardina Rainer Woelki, from Cologne, Germany, was the principal presider for the Mass.
For the second day in a row, we heard of the importance of John the Baptist in the story of salvation history. John the Baptist was the missionary disciple par excellence. He did not place himself at the center of the conversation, but always pointed to Jesus. Therein lies his greatness. He remains a role model for us as we prepare to be missionary disciples as well.
Cardinal Woelki challenged each person to share the Gospel, not just in words, but in living the Gospel in a way that was evident to all who see them. He encouraged everyone to show the gospel through their work, how they treat their neighbors and how we live in our families. He stated we need people today to put themselves in service to God and His people.
The question he left us with was "Are you willing to be one of those people? Are you ready to live for and walk with Jesus?"
From Mass, we moved to our concurrent sessions. After those sessions, we had small group discussion during our lunch break, before everyone headed to their impact sessions for the afternoon. It was a busy day!
The evening keynote sessions were focused on Reconciliation.
Dr. Edward Sri was the first speaker. Dr. Sri is, at his heart, a teacher. His talk tonight was focused on the Cross. He began with some of the Catholic traditions of the Cross before making the application of the Cross a little more personal. A few of the highlights included:
1. Love is at the center of the Cross
2. We are all going to face the Cross
3. Simon of Cyrene was a disciple as evidenced by the fact that, according to Scripture, he picked up the Cross and followed Jesus. He did not walk in front of, or either side of, Jesus, but behind, as a disciple would.
4. Since Jesus was fully human, he could take on humanities debt from sin. Since Jesus was fully divine, he was able to offer the infinte act of love by paying that debt through His sacrifice on the Cross.
Following Dr. Sri, Father Mike Schmitz wrapped up the speakers for the night. He shared the parable of the Prodigal Son. He reminded us that each of us is either the younger son, who rejected the Father and everything about him, and needed healing. Or, we are like the older son, who needed the Father to come to him and to heal him. We have each fallen short, and yet, Jesus still wants each one of us.
His challenging question of the day was: Does God have your permission to love you as you are right now?
As in the story of the Prodigal Son, the Father has taken almost all of the steps. There was just one step left to take, and that was the one to accept the healing from the Father. That is up to us to take.
Collectively, 20,000 people were able to participate in prayer with Father Mike to renounce the lies we have lived with. To hear the voices rise together "In the name of Jesus, I renounce..." was so incredibly powerful as the litany continued.
As we prepared for Adoration and Reconciliation, Father Mike asked:
Will you let yourself be healed?
Will you let yourself be held?
Will you let yourself be loved?
The evening concluded with a powerful Holy Hour with Reconciliation available for all who needed to be healed, held and loved by the Lord.