09/22/2013, 00.00
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Pope: Young people, be men and women of hope ! Trust in Jesus

Pope Francis urges young people to "set sail" with Jesus, going against the tide and escaping the "god of complaint". Become apostles to other young people. To inmates and the poor: the Church is your home. To the world of culture: create a culture of discernment and solidarity to overcome the crisis . Thoughts for Pakistan following deadly church attack.

Cagliari (AsiaNews) - "Be men and women of hope": this is the message that Pope Francis has launched to dozens of young people gathered in Largo Carlo Felice, Cagliari, the same where this morning , the pontiff met the world of work and especially the unemployed. In his last encounter with the people of Sardinia, Francis, surrounded by an atmosphere of celebration and excitement, listened to some young people who spoke about the problems and difficulties in their Christian communities and in society, of timid faith, of abandonment, as well as the economic and social difficulties that hurt everyone, but especially young people.

The Pope is inspired by the story of the miraculous catch of fish (Luke 5:1-11). He highlights above all "the experience of failure": "When we are young we are catapulted forward but sometimes experience failure, frustration: it is a test, and it is important! Even in the Church we have this experience: the priests, catechists, animators tire themselves out, spend a lot of energy, give it their all, and in the end they do not always see results that correspond to their efforts".

The Pope's response is to "trust Jesus": "It is not good to stop at the 'we caught nothing', but we must go beyond, go to 'set sail and caste forth your nets again, without tiring! Jesus repeats this to each of you. And it is He who gives you strength! There is the threat of complaint, and resignation. These I leave to those who follow the "god of complaint!" when everything seems to have come to a stand still and stagnant, when personal problems worry us, when social problems do not meet with appropriate answers , it is not good for us to give up. The path is Jesus: take them on board "our boat" and set sail with Him. He is the Lord, He changes the perspective of life. Faith in Jesus leads to a hope that goes further, to a certainty based not only on our qualities and abilities, but on the Word of God, on the invitation that comes from Him. Without making too many human calculations and not bothering to check if the reality that surrounds you coincides with your safety".

"Dear young Sardinians ..... you too are called to be "fishers of men. " Do not hesitate to spend your life with joy to witness to the Gospel, especially to young people. Your contribution is vital to the mission of the Church, which is evangelization: the young are the apostles of youth! Tell everyone with your life, with your joy, that Jesus and his message is always current. And this is why you have the courage to go against the tide, do not be driven by the currents . Encounter Jesus Christ, experience His love and His mercy, it is the greatest adventure and most beautiful thing that can happen to a person". And here the Pope recalled his 60 years of listening to the call of Jesus to be a priest. "And I do not regret it! He is faithful". Moreover: "He never leaves us ! He does not disappoint ."

Recalling the many saints and blessed of the Sardinian land, he added: "They are people who instead of complaining "cast their nets for a catch. "Imitate their example , entrust yourselves to their intercession , and always be men and women of hope ."

Hope for the poor and prisoners

Hope was also the theme of Pope Francis visit in the early afternoon with the inmates of prisons and the poor, gathered in the cathedral of Cagliari. "As a Church - he said - we all have a strong responsibility which is to sow hope through charity, always trying to work in the best way with public institutions, while respecting their respective competences. Caritas is an expression of the community, and the strength of the Christian community is to nurture society from within, like yeast. I think of your work with inmates in prisons, I think of the many voluntary associations , solidarity with the families who suffer the most because of lack of work . This I say to you have courage! Do not be robbed of hope and move forward . "

In front of the poor, the sick , young and adult prisoners, the Pope said that the Church " is your home " and that with them he feels "at home" . And remembering that the most important attitude in front of the poor is humility, he warned against using attention to the poor for one's own interests, "Sometimes there is also the arrogance in service to the poor! Some are beautiful, they fill their mouths with the poor, some exploit the poor for personal or group interests. I know, this is human, but not good! And I say again: it is a sin ! A grave sin. The poor are flesh of Christ. Using the poor, the flesh of Jesus, for our vanity. This is a serious sin . It would be better to remain at home".

With the world of culture

And the encounter with the world of culture, in the Aula Magna of the regional Pontifical Theological Faculty, revealed that the "University as a place of " wisdom " has a very important role in forming discernment to nourish the hope ." Discernment, he stressed, is used to "read reality, looking at it head on. Ideological or partial readings are not needed, they only feed illusion and disillusionment. Reading reality, but also living this reality, without fear, without escapism or catastrophes . Every crisis, the current one, is a passage, the labour of giving birth that involves fatigue , difficulties and suffering, but that brings with it the horizon of life , a renewal , that brings the power of hope . "

"Discernment - he continued - is not blind, nor improvised.  It is formed on the basis of ethical and spiritual criteria; it demands we question what is good, our reference of values to our vision of man and the world, a vision of the person in all his or her dimensions, especially in the spiritual , transcendent dimension, you can never consider the person as ' human material ' . "

Together with discernment , the university , culture, must be open to solidarity : "It is in a solidarity that is not spoken, but lived , that relations mature from considering the other as" human material " or a " number ", to considering the other as a person. There is no future for any country, for any society, for our world , if we can not all be more supportive of each other . Solidarity then as a way to make history as vital area in which the conflicts, tensions can reach a harmony of opposites that creates life. "


At the end of the meeting with young people, the Pope recalled the attack in Peshawar today, in a church, where dozens of people died. He once again invited young people to decide to "build a better world" responding to the call of the Lord, to be builders and not destroyers and carriers of death.


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