VIDEO MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE SECOND NATIONAL YOUTH MEETING IN ROSARIO
[ROSARIO (SANTA FE, ARGENTINA), 25-27 MAY 2018]
Dear boys and girls,
I am happy to be present through this video message at this National Youth Meeting taking place in Rosario. I was asked to do this by my brother bishops, and I do so gladly.
I know that you have prepared with great effort and in many ways to be there .Thank you for all this work, for setting out with joy, faith and hope, with shared hopes. When you go to a meeting of young people there are always faith, hope and wishes, which are shared there and grow. Thank you for the enthusiasm you spread – where there are young people there is always chaos! – and for your love for Christ and your brothers, which will surely increase in these days! But let it not all be “froth”, not only “foam”. Let there be soap that makes the foam, let there be soap.
When I thought about you, and what I could share with you for this meeting, three words occurred to me: presence, communion and mission.
The first word is presence. Jesus is with us, He is present in our history. If we do not convince ourselves of this, then we are not Christians. He walks with us! Even though we do not know it. Let us think of the disciples of Emmaus. Jesus has become our brother, He invites us to be incarnated, to build together that beautiful word, the civilization of love, as His disciples and missionaries, here and now: at home, with your friends, in the situations you live every day. Therefore it is necessary to stay with Him, to go out to encounter Him in prayer, in the Word, in the Sacraments. Dedicate time, make silence to hear His voice. Do you know how to make silence in your heart so as to listen to Jesus’ voice? It is not easy. Try it.
He is with you, though perhaps at times you feel like those in Emmaus before meeting the Risen Jesus: you feel said, disappointed, downcast, dejected, without much hope that things will change. Well, you see, things happen in life that at times clearly get us down. You get hurt along the way, and it seems that you cannot take it any more; the contradictions are stronger than all that is positive, than everything that you can do, so that we do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, when you meet Jesus – it is a grace – the good Samaritan who tries to help you, this Jesus, everything is made new, you are renewed and with Jesus you can renew history. “Oh, Father, do not exaggerate, how can we renew history”. You can renew history. It was renewed by a sixteen year-old girl in Nazareth who said, “Yes”. You can renew history.
The good Samaritan is Christ who draws close to the poor, to those who are in need. The good Samaritan is also you when, like Christ, you approach those who are next to you, and are able to see the face of Christ in him. It is a path of love and mercy: Jesus finds us, heals us, and He sends us to heal others. He sends us to heal others. It is only permissible to look down upon someone if we are about to bend down and help them get up. We have no right to look down on anyone. Not with our nose upturned, like this, eh? If I look down from above it is in order to bend down and help someone to get up.
But to travel this path of helping to lift up others, let us not forget, we need personal encounters with Jesus, moments of prayer, adoration and, above all, listening. The word of God. I ask you: how many of you read two minutes of the Gospel each day? Two minutes! Keep a little copy of the Gospel in your pocket, in your wallet ... While you are on the bus, while you are on the subway, on the train or you stop and sit at home, open it and read it for two minutes. Try, and you will see how your life changes. Why? Because you will meet Jesus. You will meet Him with the Word.
The second word is communion. We do not write writing alone – some people have believed this, they think by themselves or with their plans they will build history. We are a people and history is built by peoples, not ideologists, peoples are the protagonists of history. We are a community, we are a Church. And if you want to build as a Christian, then you have to do it as part of the people of God, in the Church, as a people. Not in a small or stylized group, separated from the life of the people of God. The people of God are the Church, with all the people of good will, with their children, their grown-ups, their sick, their healthy, their sinners, which means all of us! With Jesus, the Virgin, the Saints who accompany us. Walk as a people. Build a history as a people. Jesus counts on you, and also counts on him, on her, on all of us, every one. We know that as a Church we are in a very special time, in the year of the Synod of Bishops that will consider the theme of young people. You young people will be the object of the reflections of this synod. And also, we receive contributions from you, from the pre-Synodal assembly that took place in Rome, with 350 boys and girls from all over the world: Christians, non-Christians and non-believers, in which 15,000 participated through social networks, communicating with each other. They made a proposal; for a week they studied, fighting, arguing, laughing. And that contribution reaches us in Synod. And there you are. With that contribution we go ahead.
I invite you to be participants, protagonists at the heart of this important ecclesial event. Do not stay on the sidelines: commit yourself, say what you think. Do not be too delicate: “From my point of view, that touched me, if you think differently, I do not agree with what you think ...” How do you live? I share what you live! The Pope wants to hear this. The Pope wants to engage in dialogue and to seek together new paths of encounter to renew our faith and revitalize our evangelizing mission.
You know better than me that computers and cell phones need updates to work better. Also our pastoral ministry needs to be updated, renewed, we need to revise the connection with Christ in the light of the Gospel – the one that from now on you will carry in your pocket and you will read for two minutes a day – by looking at the world today, discerning and giving new energy to our shared mission That is the work you are going to have to do during these days, above all, and which I accompany with my closeness and my prayer. And my sympathy.
So, we have said, presence and communion. The third word is mission. We are called to be an outbound Church, on a mission. A missionary Church, not enclosed in our comforts and established mindsets, but reaching out to encounter the other. A Samaritan, merciful Church, with an approach of dialogue and listening. Jesus calls us, sends us outwards and accompanies us so as to be closer to all today’s men and women. This is what we will hear next Sunday in the Gospel: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ... And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Mt 28, 19-20). Go, do not be afraid! Young people have the strength of restlessness, of nonconformity – be nonconformist – make a fuss, do not let history be written elsewhere, while you look out from the window; do not be a spectator in life, put on your shoes, go out, wearing Christ’s shirt and playing for His ideals. Go with Him to heal the wounds of so many of our brothers who are lying on the edge of the road, go with Him to sow hope in our towns and cities, go with Him to renew history.
Many times you have heard that you are the future, in this case the future of the country. The future is in your hands, it is true, because we stay and you keep going. But beware: let it be a solid future, a fruitful future, a future with roots. Some dream of a utopian future: “No, history has passed, not what happened before, now it will begin”. Nothing starts now. They have sold it to you. Bernárdez, our poet, ends a verse saying: “The flowers the tree has live on what it keeps under the ground”. Go back to the roots and build your future from the roots where the sap comes from: you do not deny the history of your country, you do not deny the history of your family, do not deny your grandparents. Search for your the roots, look for history. And from there, build the future. And those who say to you: “Yes, the national heroes are already in the past or they don’t make sense, now we have to start all over again” ... Laugh in their face! They are clowns of history.
And I also invite you to look in these days to Mary, the Virgin of the Rosary, who knew how to be close to her Son, accompanying Him in His mysteries of joy and pain, light and glory. May she, Mary, Mother of closeness and tenderness, Lady of the open heart, always willing to meet those who need her, be your teacher as the model of the life of faith. If you look to her, she will teach you.
May Jesus bless you, may the Holy Virgin keep you, your families, and your communities. And, please, do not forget to pray for me, and so that I will be able to hand down roots to the new generations who will make them flourish in the future. And these are you. Thank you!
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