09/28/2015, 00.00
VATICAN
Send to a friend

WYD: pope’s message to young people, "Don’t be afraid" of Jesus

In his message, titled ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’’, Francis calls on young people “for the first seven months of 2016,” to “choose a corporal and a spiritual work of mercy to practice each month”. He tells them that “mercy does not just imply being a ‘good person’ nor is it mere sentimentality. It is the measure of our authenticity as disciples of Jesus, and of our credibility as Christians in today’s world.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis’ message for the 31st World Youth Day was released today, centred on the Beatitudes: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’. The next meeting of young people from across the globe will take place in Krakow, Poland, on 26-31 July 2016.

In the message, the Holy Father tells young people, “Do not be afraid” of Jesus, for he “is mercy”. Instead, since the event will take place during the Jubilee of Mercy, he calls upon them, “for the first seven months of 2016,” to “choose a corporal and a spiritual work of mercy to practice each month

Titled “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Mt 5:7),” the message follows the path God took to reveal his mercy in the Holy Scriptures, showing his untiring loyalty and eternal love, which is always ready to forgive.

“The biblical concept of mercy,” Francis writes, “also includes the tangible presence of love that is faithful, freely given and able to forgive. In the following passage from Hosea, we have a beautiful example of God’s love, which the prophet compares to that of a father for his child”. Indeed, “We see here how forgiveness is always included in mercy”.

“The New Testament speaks to us of divine mercy (eleos) as a synthesis of the work that Jesus came to accomplish in the world in the name of the Father. [. . .] Everything in Jesus speaks of mercy. Indeed, he himself is mercy.

“God’s mercy is very real,” says the message, “and we are all called to experience it first-hand. When I was seventeen years old, it happened one day that, as I was about to go out with friends, I decided to stop into a church first. I met a priest there who inspired great confidence, and I felt the desire to open my heart in Confession. That meeting changed my life! I discovered that when we open our hearts with humility and transparency, we can contemplate God’s mercy in a very concrete way. I felt certain that, in the person of that priest, God was already waiting for me even before I took the step of entering that church. We keep looking for God, but God is there before us, always looking for us, and he finds us first. Maybe one of you feels something weighing on your heart. You are thinking: I did this, I did that.... Do not be afraid! God is waiting for you! God is a Father and he is always waiting for us! It is so wonderful to feel the merciful embrace of the Father in the sacrament of Reconciliation, to discover that the confessional is a place of mercy, and to allow ourselves to be touched by the merciful love of the Lord who always forgives us!

“I know how much the WYD cross means to all of you. It was a gift from Saint John Paul II and has been with you at all your World Meetings since 1984. So many changes and real conversions have taken place in the lives of young people who have encountered this simple bare cross! Perhaps you have asked yourselves the question: what is the origin of the extraordinary power of the cross? Here is the answer: the cross is the most eloquent sign of God’s mercy! It tells us that the measure of God’s love for humanity is to love without measure! Through the cross we can touch God’s mercy and be touched by that mercy! Here I would recall the episode of the two thieves crucified beside Jesus. One of them is arrogant and does not admit that he is a sinner. He mocks the Lord. The other acknowledges that he has done wrong; he turns to the Lord saying: ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom’. Jesus looks at him with infinite mercy and replies: ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise’ (cf. Lk 23:32, 39-43). With which of the two do we identify? Is it with the arrogant one who does not acknowledge his own mistakes? Or is it with the other, who accepts that he is in need of divine mercy and begs for it with all his heart? It is in the Lord, who gave his life for us on the cross, that we will always find that unconditional love which sees our lives as something good and always gives us the chance to start again.

Citing the example of Piergiorgio Frassati, the pope goes on to note that he “was a young man who understood what it means to have a merciful heart that responds to those most in need.

“I always like to link the Gospel Beatitudes with Matthew 25, where Jesus presents us with the works of mercy and tells us that we will be judged on them. I ask you, then, to rediscover the corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, assist the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead. Nor should we overlook the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, teach the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the sorrowful, forgive offences, patiently bear with troublesome people and pray to God for the living and the dead. As you can see, mercy does not just imply being a ‘good person’ nor is it mere sentimentality. It is the measure of our authenticity as disciples of Jesus, and of our credibility as Christians in today’s world.

“If you want me to be very specific, I would suggest that for the first seven months of 2016 you choose a corporal and a spiritual work of mercy to practice each month.

“The Divine Mercy message is a very specific life plan because it involves action. One of the most obvious works of mercy, and perhaps the most difficult to put into practice, is to forgive those who have offended us, who have done us wrong or whom we consider to be enemies. ‘At times how hard it seems to forgive! And yet pardon is the instrument placed into our fragile hands to attain serenity of heart. To let go of anger, wrath, violence, and revenge are necessary conditions to living joyfully’ (Misericordiae Vultus, 9).

“I meet so many young people who say that they are tired of this world being so divided, with clashes between supporters of different factions and so many wars, in some of which religion is being used as justification for violence. We must ask the Lord to give us the grace to be merciful to those who do us wrong. Jesus on the cross prayed for those who had crucified him: ‘Father, forgive them, they know not what they do’ (Lk 23:34). Mercy is the only way to overcome evil. Justice is necessary, very much so, but by itself it is not enough. Justice and mercy must go together. How I wish that we could join together in a chorus of prayer, from the depths of our hearts, to implore the Lord to have mercy on us and on the whole world!

“Dear young people, at the Shrine in Krakow dedicated to the merciful Jesus, where he is depicted in the image venerated by the people of God, Jesus is waiting for you. He has confidence in you and is counting on you! He has so many things to say to each of you... Do not be afraid to look into his eyes, full of infinite love for you. Open yourselves to his merciful gaze, so ready to forgive all your sins. A look from him can change your lives and heal the wounds of your souls. His eyes can quench the thirst that dwells deep in your young hearts, a thirst for love, for peace, for joy and for true happiness. Come to Him and do not be afraid! Come to him and say from the depths of your hearts: ‘Jesus, I trust in You!’ Let yourselves be touched by his boundless mercy, so that in turn you may become apostles of mercy by your actions, words and prayers in our world, wounded by selfishness, hatred and so much despair.

 “Carry with you the flame of Christ’s merciful love – as Saint John Paul II said – in every sphere of your daily life and to the very ends of the earth. In this mission, I am with you with my encouragement and prayers. I entrust all of you to Mary, Mother of Mercy, for this last stretch of the journey of spiritual preparation for the next WYD in Krakow. I bless all of you from my heart.”

Send to a friend
Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
Pope tells young people to say no to those who “say that things cannot change” and to “vendors of smoke”
28/07/2016 20:41
Pope says "the world is at war”, a “war for real” but “not a war of religions”
27/07/2016 19:28
Pope calls on young people to be the protagonists of history, following Jesus, "the Lord of the risk"
30/07/2016 23:22
Campus Misericordiae: the beating heart of the Krakow WYD
30/07/2016 17:25
WYD: young Asians preparing to leave for Krakow
13/07/2016 14:18


Newsletter

Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”