In the message for the next Youth Day, which this year is at the diocesan level, Francis invites young people to "make themselves heard". You will be able to say to your brother, to your sister: "Arise, you are not alone", and experience that God the Father loves us and Jesus is his hand outstretched to raise us up ".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - In a culture that wants young people " isolated and withdrawn into virtual worlds", Pope Francis invites us to open up to reality, not to despise technology, but to use it "as a means and not as an end" to dreaming, risking, committing to change the world, also sharing the sufferings of others to bring the sharing that Jesus had towards those who suffer.
It is the invitation that Francis addresses to young people in the message entitled “Young man, I say to you, arise!!' (Cf.Lk 7:14), for the 35th World Youth Day, which in 220 is celebrated at the diocesan level throughout the world on April 5, Palm Sunday.
In the document, the Pope recalls that the theme of the WYD in Lisbon in 2022 will be: " Mary arose and went with haste " (Lk 1:39). That passage from the Bible tells us how Jesus, upon entering the town of Nain in Galilee, came upon the funeral procession of a young person, the only son of a widowed mother. Jesus, struck by the woman’s heartrending grief, miraculously restored her son to life. The miracle took place after a sequence of words and gestures: “When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep’. Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still” (Lk 7:13-14). Let us take a moment to meditate on these words and gestures of the Lord".
The episode shows that Jesus looked with "attentive eyes" and saw the "extreme suffering" of the woman. "His gaze generates the encounter, the source of new life. There is no need for many words. " " What about my own ability to see? When I look at things, do I look carefully, or is it more like when I quickly scroll through the thousands of photos or social profiles on my cell phone? How often do we end up being eyewitnesses of events without ever experiencing them in real time! Sometimes our first reaction is to take a picture with our cell phone, without even bothering to look into the eyes of the persons involved".
This is how young people become apathetic, others have "died" because they lost hope. "At the age of twenty, they can already be dragging their lives down, instead of raising them up to the level of their true dignity. Everything is reduced to “living it up” and seeking a morsel of gratification: a minute of entertainment, a fleeting moment of attention and affection from others… And what about the widespread growing digital narcissism that affects young people and adults alike. All too many people are living this way! Some of them have perhaps bought into the materialism of those all around them who are concerned only with making money and taking it easy, as if these were the sole purpose of life. In the long run, this will inevitably lead to unhappiness, apathy and boredom with life, a growing sense of emptiness and frustration."
"Negative attitudes can also be caused by personal failures", from the end of a dream. "Often something we thought gave us happiness turns out to be an illusion, an idol. Idols demand everything from us by making us slaves, but they don't give anything back. "
But as Jesus took pity on the suffering woman, Francis exhorts young people to "always listen to the groan of those who suffer". “If you can learn to weep with those who are weeping, you will find true happiness. So many of your contemporaries are disadvantaged and victims of violence and persecution. Let their wounds become your own, and you will be bearers of hope in this world. You will be able to say to your brother or sister: “Arise, you are not alone”, and you will help them realize that God the Father loves us, that Jesus is the hand he stretches out to us in order to raise us up". " You too, as young people, are able to draw near to the realities of pain and death that you encounter. You too can touch them and, like Jesus, bring new life, thanks to the Holy Spirit. But only if you are first touched by his love, if your heart is melted by the experience of his goodness towards you. If you can feel God’s immense love for every living creature – especially our brothers and sisters who experience hunger and thirst, or are sick or naked or imprisoned – then you will be able to draw near to them as he does. You will be able to touch them as he does, and to bring his life to those of your friends who are inwardly dead, who suffer or have lost faith and hope”.
"'Young, I say to you, arise!' The Gospel does not tell us the name of the young man whom Jesus restored to life in Nain. This invites each reader to identify with him. To you, to me, to each one of us, Jesus says: “Arise”. We are very aware that, as Christians, we constantly fall and have to get up again. People who are not on a journey never fall; then again, neither do they move forward. That is why we need to accept the help that Jesus gives us and put our faith in God. The first step is to let ourselves get up and to realize that the new life Jesus offers us is good and worth living. It is sustained by one who is ever at our side along our journey to the future. Jesus helps us to live this life in a dignified and meaningful way. This life is really a new creation, a new birth, not just a form of psychological conditioning. Perhaps, in times of difficulty, many of you have heard people repeat those “magic” formulas so fashionable nowadays, formulas that are supposed to take care of everything: “You have to believe in yourself”, “You have to discover your inner resources”, “You have to become conscious of your positive energy”… But these are mere words; they do not work for someone who is truly “dead inside”. Jesus’ word has a deeper resonance; it goes infinitely deeper. It is a divine and creative word, which alone can bring the dead to life.”.
"Today, we are often “connected” but not communicating. The indiscriminate use of electronic devices can keep us constantly glued to the screen. With this Message, I would like to join you, young people, in calling for a cultural change, based on Jesus’ command to “arise”. In a culture that makes young people isolated and withdrawn into virtual worlds, let us spread Jesus’ invitation: “Arise!” He calls us to embrace a reality that is so much more than virtual. This does not involve rejecting technology, but rather using it as a means and not as an end. “Arise!” is also an invitation to “dream”, to “take a risk”, to be “committed to changing the world”, to rekindle your hopes and aspirations, and to contemplate the heavens, the stars and the world around you. “Arise and become what you are!” If this is our message, many young people will stop looking bored and weary, and let their faces come alive and be more beautiful than any virtual reality. If you give life, someone will be there to receive it. As a young woman once said: “Get off your couch when you see something beautiful, and try and do something similar”. Beauty awakes passion. And if a young person is passionate about something, or even better, about someone, he or she will arise and start to do great things. Young people will rise from the dead, become witnesses to Jesus and devote their lives to him.”
“Dear young people, what are your passions and dreams? Give them free rein and, through them, offer the world, the Church and other young people something beautiful, whether in the realm of the spirit, the arts or society. I repeat what I once told you in my mother tongue: Hagan lío! Make your voices heard!"(FP)