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#RevUP: Walking the Gospel Roads

Encountering and serving the less fortunate at various worksites with youth from British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec in Toronto, Ontario from July 20-27, 2013 (Photo: Various, compiled by Jasmin Bermejo)

The Salesian Gospel Roads in Toronto was an encounter with God’s beloved sheep, the outcast.

When the Young Caglieros Outreach Movement invited high school-aged youth to the upcoming Salesian Gospel Roads mission trip, I was skeptical. Initially, I assumed that flying to Toronto with friends, or acquaintances, to an unfamiliar city was going to be an uncomfortable experience. It took me a while to let go of my discomfort. But finally, I was able to change my perception in going to this trip. I became encouraged to see things differently and realized that this experience was about more than who I went with and where I went, but about who I was doing it for. Once I got on the plane to Toronto, I looked forward with nervous excitement to this unexpected experience.

One week, seven worksites, thirty-two people, and one city; this was the outlet where God began his work. According to Father Jim Zettel, “we are all called to be saints.” I was inspired by this statement to treasure the people and opportunities that each day brought. Every day brought a unique moment where I encountered people who continued to find joy and love in their lives. Seeing the crucified and risen Christ in them, they came to hold a special place in my heart.

My perspective continued to change as I met materialistically, spiritually, and socially outcast people. In performing corporal works of mercy, I served meals and made beds at the Good Shepherd Centre. I packaged food and household items to developing countries at Canadian Food for Children, and I gave lunches to the homeless in downtown Toronto. Additionally, I performed spiritual works of mercy by visiting the elderly and also I silently advocated pro-life in front of an abortion clinic with Aid to Women. I learned about the political influence of the Campaign Life Coalition, and I made friends with young adults with various developmental and/or physical challenges at the Sara Elizabeth Centre.

These moments led to times of incredible testimonies that struck me deeply. Visiting The Good Shepherd Centre, I was introduced to a person who served the poor who had a constant faith in God’s providence. Father Ed, a priest who served there for many years, shared the love he continued to have for those in seemingly hopeless situations. He loved and longed for their return like the good shepherd, trusting fully and giving unconditionally.

On a night of reflection and prayer, My Gift to the Christ child, became an affirmation of the reason why God called me to this mission trip:

Lord Jesus, I give you my hands to do your work.
     I give you my feet to go your way,
     I give you my eyes to see as you see,
     I give you my ears to hear as you hear,
     I give you my tongue to speak as you speak,
     I give my heart that you may love in me your Father and all mankind,
     I give you my spirit that it may be you who prays in me,
     I give you my whole self, Lord, Jesus, that it may be
     You who grows, works, loves, and prays in me. Amen.”

His call was simple: to love. To love everyone and anyone with an unconditional, faithful, and joyful heart. I was called to believe that I cannot stop loving his sheep because they deserve to be loved everyday. The end of the mission trip brought forth a new beginning of saying “yes” to walking the Gospel Road. For me, being an instrument to bring God’s lost sheep back to him became my unique declaration of the gospel. Ultimately, it is in pursuing this declaration of love and call to be saints that changing the world truly begins.

And with that, may God be forever praised!

Jasmin Bermejo, CFC-Youth Pacific Region