11/30/2017, 10.23
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Pope in Myanmar: Young people, bring the gospel among those who suffer

Before his departure for Bangladesh the final Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in Myanmar is dedicated to young people. " be “missionary disciples”, messengers of the good news of Jesus, above all to your contemporaries and friends.  Do not be afraid to make a ruckus, to ask questions that make people think!  And don’t worry if sometimes you feel that you are few and far between.  The Gospel always grows from small beginnings."

 Yangon (AsiaNews) - Bring the Gospel " bring good news for your suffering brothers and sisters who need your prayers and your solidarity, but also your enthusiasm for human rights, for justice and for the growth of that “love and peace” which Jesus brings". Before his departure for neighbouring Bangladesh, the second and final stop of his 41st trip outside of Italy, the final Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in Myanmar was dedicated to young people.

Francis was  welcomed to the neo-Gothic cathedral of Yangon dedicated to the Immaculate Conception by thousands of young people to whom he has addressed the invitation to be the bearer of the Good News among their peers and in the society of their country without being frightened of being few and sometimes misunderstood.

Thus, starting with a sentence from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans: "The footsteps of those who bring good news are a welcome sound!" (Rm 10:15), addressing those present, the Pope said, " Dear young people of Myanmar, hearing your young voices and listening to you sing today, I want to apply those words to you.  Yes, you are “a welcome sound”; you are a beautiful and encouraging sight, for you bring us ‘good news’, the good news of your youth, your faith and your enthusiasm.  Indeed, you are good news, because you are concrete signs of the Church’s faith in Jesus Christ, who brings us a joy and a hope that will never die. Some people ask how it is possible to speak of good news when so many people around us are suffering?  Where is the good news when so much injustice, poverty and misery cast a shadow over us and our world?  But I want a very clear message to go out from this place.  I want people to know that you, the young men and women of Myanmar, are not afraid to believe in the good news of God’s mercy, because it has a name and a face: Jesus Christ.  As messengers of this good news, you are ready to bring a word of hope to the Church, to your own country, and to the wider world."

"But I also have a challenge to set before you.  Did you listen carefully to the first reading?  There Saint Paul repeats three times the word unless.  It is a little word, but it asks us to think about our place in God’s plan.  In effect, Paul asks three questions, and I want to put them to each of you personally.  First, how are people to believe in the Lord unless they have heard about him?  Second, how are people to hear about the Lord unless they have a messenger, someone to bring the good news?  And third, how can they have a messenger unless one is sent?” (Rom 10:14-15). I would like all of you to think deeply about these questions.  But don’t be worried!  As a loving “father” (or better, a “grandfather”!), I don’t want you to wrestle with these questions alone."

The answer to Saint Paul's first question: "How will they believe in him without having heard them?" Must be sought in authenticity. " Our world is full of many sounds, so many distractions, that can drown out God’s voice.  If others are to hear and believe in him, they need to find him in people who are authentic.  People who know how to listen!” To be so Francis recommends "to speak" to Jesus and also to "the saints, our friends in heaven who can inspire us." 

"Paul’s second question is: “How are they to hear about Jesus without a messenger?”  Here is a great task entrusted in a special way to young people: to be “missionary disciples”, messengers of the good news of Jesus, above all to your contemporaries and friends.  Do not be afraid to make a ruckus, to ask questions that make people think!  And don’t worry if sometimes you feel that you are few and far between.  The Gospel always grows from small beginnings.  So make yourselves heard.  I want you to shout!  But not with your voices.  No!  I want you to shout with your lives, with your hearts, and in this way to be signs of hope to those who need encouragement, a helping hand to the sick, a welcome smile to the stranger, a kindly support to the lonely."

" Paul’s last question is: “How can people have a messenger unless one is sent?”  At the end of this Mass we will all be sent forth, to take with us the gifts we have received and to share them with others.  This can be a little daunting, since we don’t always know where Jesus may be sending us.  But he never sends us out without also walking at our side, and always just a little in front, leading us into new and wonderful parts of his kingdom. How does the Lord send Sant'Andrea and his brother Simon Peter in the Gospel of today? How does our Lord send Saint Andrew and his brother Simon Peter in today’s Gospel?  “Follow me!”, he tells them (Mt 4:19).  That is what it means to be sent: to follow Christ, and not to charge ahead on our own!  The Lord will invite some of you to follow him as priests, and in this way to become “fishers of men”.  Others he will call to become religious or consecrated men and women.  And yet others he will call to the married life, to be loving fathers and mothers.  Whatever your vocation, I urge you: be brave, be generous and, above all, be joyful! "

At the end of the celebration, at 12:45 local time, Francis arrived at Yangon International Airport where he left for Bangladesh. At 15am, local time, the plane arrived at Dhaka International Airport.

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