Friday, May 11, 2007

Pope to Youth: Don't Go Away Sad--Give Yourself to Christ

I listened to the talk and have searched in vain for a translation of it, but the gist of it was the above--what you are apt to see reported is the "sad" part...going away from Jesus like the rich young man "whose possessions were many" and investing your life in the false idols of drugs, sex and material goods....but in reality the focus was more on the joy of accepting Christ and this was delivered in an animated way toward the end of the talk.

The young man in the Gospel understood that his youth was itself a treasure. He went to Jesus, the good Teacher, in order to seek some direction. At the moment of the great decision, however, he lacked the courage to wager everything on Jesus Christ. In consequence, he went away sad and downcast. This is what happens whenever our decisions waver and become cowardly and self-seeking. He understood that what he lacked was generosity, and this did not allow him to realize his full potential. He withdrew to his riches, turning them to selfishness. Jesus regretted the sadness and the cowardice of the young man who had come to seek him out. The Apostles, like all of you here today, filled the vacuum left by that young man who went away sad and downcast. They, and we, are happy, because we know the one in whom we believe (cf. 2 Tim 1:12). We know and we bear witness with our lives that he alone has the words of eternal life (cf. Jn 6:68). Therefore, we can exclaim with Saint Paul: Rejoice always in the Lord! (cf. Phil 4:4).

My appeal to you today, young people present at this gathering, is this: do not waste your youth. Do not seek to escape from it. Live it intensely. Consecrate it to the high ideals of faith and human solidarity.

You, young people, are not just the future of the Church and of humanity, as if we could somehow run away from the present. On the contrary: you are that young man now; you are that young man in the Church and in humanity today.

You are his young face. The Church needs you, as young people, to manifest to the world the face of Jesus Christ, visible in the Christian community. Without this young face, the Church would appear disfigured.


Then concluding:

My dear young friends, like the young man in the Gospel who asked Jesus: “What good deed must I do, to have eternal life?”, you are all seeking ways to respond generously to God’s call. I pray that you may listen to his saving words and that you may become his witnesses for the peoples of today. May God pour out upon all of you his blessings of peace and joy.

My dear young people, Christ is calling you to be saints. He himself is inviting you and wants to walk with you, in order to enliven with his Spirit the steps that Brazil is taking at the beginning of this third millennium of the Christian era. I ask the Our Lady of Aparecida to guide you with her maternal help and to accompany you throughout your lives.

Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ!


On another note...

I wish someone would revise the nature of these youth meetings with the pope. I'd like to see something that focused more on presenting the pope with what the youth know he likes, rather than "this is what we like" which granted they could do all day long while they are waiting for him to show up....celebrating solemn vespers with the pope which could be prepared by the youth groups that join him for these occaisions would be an excellent way to expose young people to the riches of Catholic liturigcal prayer--something they would never forget. What these events essentially are now is dancing and singing before the pope reminiscent of "Up With the People" of years ago--also makes one think of King Herod... Given a chance to meet the pope...why not have represenatives ask him questions after a Vespers service, engage him on issues that they think are important to following Christ in the Church. Why wait all day to meet him, only then to sit passively with him watching a bad talent show?

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