Can a Christian live without reading the Bible? Can a person who only goes to Sunday Mass, but does not say any prayer everyday, experience change? What can you suggest youths to pray for their own life, their family, and their community whether at school, church or the office? I see many youths are struggling in the youth ministry in terms of participation and some are also struggling to voice their opinions.

Can a Christian live without reading the bible?

Many things in Christianity have no rules. Rules are only good for telling us what not to do. Jesus came to tell us to love God and love others as He loved us. These positive actions are not bound by rules. If I love you because of rules, then I’m no longer loving you, because I’m no longer doing it out of free will.

Reading bible is not a rule, but it must be chosen out of love. The bible is God’s love letter to us. It documents His love story with us since the beginning of creation. If I want to be a Christian, I must daily choose to love God more, and to follow Him more closely. And if I love God, can I possibly not love His Word, and strive to read and understand the bible more fully every day?

Q: Can a person only going the Sunday Mass without say prayer at home everyday experience change?

I would say that if a person only wants to do the minimum in a relationship, then this person is not really having a relationship of love, but merely of utility, because everything is about how much it already cost me, or I’ve already paid my due.

However, God’s grace is still active for them. When they are in need, very often they will cry out to God. Of course, God can only help those who want to receive help. Grace cannot be forced. So the question rather is: a soul that is not habitually training to be open to God’s way, how often does it actually open to God, and how wide? And prayer is that daily exercise of stretching wider the capacity of our soul to receive God.

Q: About youth

I can tell from these questions that you really care about the youth. I suggest that the best avenue to address these issues is to have a frank discussion with them and give them an opportunity to lay out what they need to thrive. These in turn need to be presented to the pastor and the parish council. Adults need to be educated to support their youths, and it must begin in humility with listening and understanding them.

When I became the acting pastor in 2011, I asked my youth coordinator to tell me what I need to learn. The first thing she told me is never to boss around the youth. They love to help but they hate to be told without being invited to the discussion, as if their own plans and ideas are garbage. Too often adults assume, for example, that the youths will always do the setup and cleanup for various events, even when the youths have better plans or would like to bring something better to the table.