Friendship with Jesus heals loneliness and selfishness among young people

Constant commitments, a lack of interest in life and loss of meaning afflict new Japanese generations. A girl saved from suicide. The opportunity offered by the 2020 Olympics.

Jul 13, 2018

KYOTO: Friendship with Christ and a "living" Church is the antidote to loneliness and selfishness that afflict young Japanese people. This is the testimony of Fr. Antonio Camacho, a missionary from Guadalupe and head of five parishes in the diocese of Kyoto.

In Japan, young people live alone, pursuing material things, and "they are not interested in life, in the Church ... in anything". "They have everything - money, television, games - but they do not have the 'light'. They do not want to get married or have a boyfriend or girlfriend, they are selfish: they want to be alone. One of my duties is to show them that another life is possible, that life can be interesting, beautiful ". The Japanese young people have very little free time, including school activities that also extend over the weekend and part-time jobs in the 'konbini' (convenience store): "They work to get money and do a lot of things, but then they have no time to do them!"

Japanese society is very "complicated" and "if you do not belong to a group, you're nothing". "I met a girl who thought about suicide - the missionary continues - and was full of cuts on her arms. She told me: 'I know nothing about life, about the meaning of life. Nobody cares about me, not my father, not my mother or school. It's better for me to die. I replied: 'you can die, but you can also decide to take the opportunity to get better, and if you want I will walk by your side, sharing the meaning of life with you.  It is very difficult to find the meaning of life on your own, it is very important to have a friend '. She replied: 'I have no friends', and I told her she had one now. It's a very simple thing, but for her it was an opportunity to save herself ".

For Fr. Camacho, the most important thing is "being with the young", as a presence and a "living" Church. For this reason, Kyoto parishes "open their doors to young people" with meetings and camps in summer and winter. Every month, the priest visits a professional nursing school, held by the Dominican nuns. "Some of them have an idea of ??God, but they do not know the faith. Therefore it is important to be present ".

"Last month - the missionary continues - I gave a speech at a school, there were 15 people. It was an opportunity to spread the Gospel, where Jesus says: 'I no longer call you servants, because the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, because all that I have heard from the Father I have made known to you '[John 15:15]. It struck me, because they paid attention, and they told me: 'We now know that we have a friend who is Jesus Christ'. So, I tell them: 'You have a friend, Jesus Christ, who will be beside you and will help with every available means".

For the priest, young people need to be friends with each other and "not just being school friends, but sharing dreams and everything that lies in front of them".

This form of encounter must overcome the borders of one's own country, and face the rest of the world, seizing every opportunity: from meeting young Vietnamese, Filipino and Latin American migrants who arrive in Japan to work, until the next Summer Olympics. "In 2020 there will be many Christians and Catholics who will attend the Games: it is an important occasion, we must show the world that the Japanese Catholic Church exists, and help young Christians of the world meet the young Christians of Japan, and share the their faith ".--Asia News

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