St.Mary's Young Adults Ministry, Dubai

World Youth Day

Pope WYD Panama: Homily at concluding Mass – full text

Sunday, Jan. 27, was the final day of the World Youth Day in Panama City. Pope Francis celebrated an open-air Holy Mass at the capital’s Metro Park to conclude the WYD. Please find below the full text of the Pope’s homily.

Homily – Holy Mass

Metro Park, 27 January 2019

“The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  And he began to say to them: ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’” (Lk 4:20-21).

With these words, the Gospel presents the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.  It started in the synagogue that saw him grow up; he was in the midst of neighbours and people he knew, and perhaps even some of his childhood “catechists” who had taught him the Law.  It was an important moment in the life of the Master: the child who was educated and grew up in that community, stood up and took the floor to proclaim and put into action God’s dream.  A word previously proclaimed only as a future promise, but now, on the lips of Jesus alone, could be spoken in the present tense, as it became a reality: “Today it has been fulfilled”.

Jesus reveals the now of God, who comes to meet us and call us to take part in his now of “proclaiming good news to the poor… bringing liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, setting at liberty those who are oppressed, announcing the year of the Lord’s favour” (Lk 4:18-19).  This is the now of God.  It becomes present with Jesus: it has a face, it is flesh.  It is a merciful love that does not wait for ideal or perfect situations to show itself, nor does it accept excuses for its appearance.  It is God’s time, that makes every situation and place both right and proper.  In Jesus, the promised future begins and becomes life.

When?  Now.  Yet not everyone who was listening felt invited or called.  Not all the residents of Nazareth were prepared to believe in someone they knew and had seen grow up, and who was now inviting them to realize a long-awaited dream.  Not only that, but “they said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’” (Lk 4:22).

The same thing can also happen with us.  We do not always believe that God can be that concrete and commonplace, that close and real, and much less that he can become so present and work through somebody like a neighbour, a friend, a relative.  We do not always believe that the Lord can invite us to work and soil our hands with him in his Kingdom in that simple and blunt a way.  It is hard to accept that “God’s love can become concrete and can almost be experienced in history with all its painful and glorious vicissitudes” ( BENEDICT XVI, General Audience, 28 September 2005).

Often we too behave like the neighbours in Nazareth: we prefer a distant God: nice, good, generous but far-off, a God who does not inconvenience us.  Because a close andeveryday God, a friend and brother, demands that we be concerned with our surroundings, everyday affairs and above all fraternity.  God chose not to reveal himself as an angel or in some spectacular way, but to give us a face that is fraternal and friendly, concrete and familiar.  God is real because love is real; God is concrete because love is concrete.  Indeed, this “concrete manifestation of love is one of the essential elements in the life of Christians” (BENEDICT XVI, Homily, 1 March 2006).

We can also run the same risks as the neighbours at Nazareth, when within our communities the Gospel seeks to be lived concretely.  We begin to say: But these young people, aren’t they the children of Mary, Joseph, aren’t they the brothers and sisters of so and so?  Are these not the youngsters we saw grow up?  That one over there, wasn’t he the one who kept breaking windows with his ball?  What was born as prophecy and proclamation of the kingdom of God gets domesticated and impoverished.   Attempts to domesticate the word of God occur daily.

You too, dear young people, can experience this whenever you think that your mission, your vocation, even your life itself, is a promise far off in the future, having nothing to do with the present.  As if being young were a kind of waiting room, where we sit around until we are called.  And in the “meantime”, we adults or you yourselves invent a hygienically sealed future, without consequences, where everything is safe, secure and “well insured”.  A “make-believe” happiness.  So we “ tranquilize ” you, we numb you into keeping quiet, not asking or questioning; and in that “meantime” your dreams lose their buoyancy, they begin to become flat and dreary, petty and plaintive (cf. Palm Sunday Homily, 25 March 2018).  Only because we think, or you think, that your now has not yet come, that you are too young to be involved in dreaming about and working for the future.

One of the fruits of the last Synod was the enrichment that came from being able to meet and above all to listen to one another.  The enrichment of intergenerational dialogue, the enrichment of exchange and the value of realizing that we need one another, that we have to work to create channels and spaces that encourage dreaming of and working for tomorrow, starting today.  And this, not in isolation, but rather side by side, creating a common space.  A space that is not simply taken for granted, or won in a lottery, but a space for which you too must fight.

You, dear young people, are not the future but the now of God.  He invites you and calls you in your communities and cities to go out and find your grandparents, your elders; to stand up and with them to speak out and realize the dream that the Lord has dreamed for you.

Not tomorrow but now, for wherever your treasure is, there will your heart also be (cf. Mt 6:21).  Whatever you fall in love with, it will win over not only your imagination, it will affect everything.  It will be what makes you get up in the morning, what keeps you going at times of fatigue, what will break open your hearts and fill you with wonder, joy and gratitude.  Realize that you have a mission and fall in love; that will decide everything (cf. PEDRO ARRUPE, S.J., Nada es más práctico).  We may possess everything, but if we lack the passion of love, we will have nothing.  Let us allow the Lord to make us fall in love!

For Jesus, there is no “meantime”, but only a merciful love that wants to enter into and win over our hearts.  He wants to be our treasure, because he is not a “meantime”, an interval in life or a passing fad; he is generous love that invites us to entrust ourselves.

He is concrete, close, real love.  He is festive joy, born of opting for and taking part in the miraculous draught of hope and charity, solidarity and fraternity, despite the paralyzed and paralyzing gaze born of fear and exclusion, speculation and manipulation.

Brothers and sisters, the Lord and his mission are not a “meantime” in our life, something temporary; they are our life!

In a special way throughout these days, Mary’s fiat has been whispering like a kind of music in the background.  She not only believed in God and in his promises as something possible, she believed God himself and dared to say “yes” to taking part in this now of the Lord.  She felt she had a mission; she fell in love and that decided everything.

As in the synagogue of Nazareth, the Lord stands up again among us his friends and acquaintances; he takes the book and says to us “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21).

Do you want to live out your love in a practical way?  May your “yes” continue to be the gateway for the Holy Spirit to give us a new Pentecost for the world and for the Church.

* * *

Farewell

At the conclusion of this celebration, I thank God for having given us the opportunity to share these days together and to experience once more this World Youth Day.

In particular, I would like to thank the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez, the Presidents of other nations and the other political and civil authorities for their presence at this celebration.

I thank Bishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, Archbishop of Panama, for his generosity and hard work in hosting this World Youth Day in his diocese, as well as the other bishops of this and the neighbouring countries, for all they have done in their communities to provide accommodation and assistance to the great numbers of young people.

My thanks also go to all those who have supported us with their prayers, and who have helped by their efforts and hard work to make this World Youth Day dream come true in this country.

And to you, dear young people, a big “thank you”.  Your faith and joy have made Panama, America and the entire world shake!  As we have heard so many times in these days in the song of this World Youth Day: “As your pilgrim people we are gathered here today from every continent and city”.  We are on a journey, keep walking, keep living the faith and sharing it.  Do not forget that you are not the tomorrow, you are not the “meantime”; you are the now of God.

The venue for the next World Youth Day has already been announced.  I ask you not to let the fervour of these days grow cold.  Go back to your parishes and communities, to your families and your friends, and share this experience, so that others can resonate with the strength and enthusiasm that is yours.  With Mary, keep saying “yes” to the dream that God has sown in you.

And, please, do not forget to pray for me.

Pope WYD Panama: Homily at concluding Mass – full text

Sunday, Jan. 27, was the final day of the World Youth Day in Panama City. Pope Francis celebrated an open-air Holy Mass at the capital’s Metro Park to conclude the WYD. Please find below the full text of the Pope’s homily.

Homily – Holy Mass

Metro Park, 27 January 2019

“The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  And he began to say to them: ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’” (Lk 4:20-21).

With these words, the Gospel presents the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.  It started in the synagogue that saw him grow up; he was in the midst of neighbours and people he knew, and perhaps even some of his childhood “catechists” who had taught him the Law.  It was an important moment in the life of the Master: the child who was educated and grew up in that community, stood up and took the floor to proclaim and put into action God’s dream.  A word previously proclaimed only as a future promise, but now, on the lips of Jesus alone, could be spoken in the present tense, as it became a reality: “Today it has been fulfilled”.

Jesus reveals the now of God, who comes to meet us and call us to take part in his now of “proclaiming good news to the poor… bringing liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, setting at liberty those who are oppressed, announcing the year of the Lord’s favour” (Lk 4:18-19).  This is the now of God.  It becomes present with Jesus: it has a face, it is flesh.  It is a merciful love that does not wait for ideal or perfect situations to show itself, nor does it accept excuses for its appearance.  It is God’s time, that makes every situation and place both right and proper.  In Jesus, the promised future begins and becomes life.

When?  Now.  Yet not everyone who was listening felt invited or called.  Not all the residents of Nazareth were prepared to believe in someone they knew and had seen grow up, and who was now inviting them to realize a long-awaited dream.  Not only that, but “they said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’” (Lk 4:22).

The same thing can also happen with us.  We do not always believe that God can be that concrete and commonplace, that close and real, and much less that he can become so present and work through somebody like a neighbour, a friend, a relative.  We do not always believe that the Lord can invite us to work and soil our hands with him in his Kingdom in that simple and blunt a way.  It is hard to accept that “God’s love can become concrete and can almost be experienced in history with all its painful and glorious vicissitudes” ( BENEDICT XVI, General Audience, 28 September 2005).

Often we too behave like the neighbours in Nazareth: we prefer a distant God: nice, good, generous but far-off, a God who does not inconvenience us.  Because a close andeveryday God, a friend and brother, demands that we be concerned with our surroundings, everyday affairs and above all fraternity.  God chose not to reveal himself as an angel or in some spectacular way, but to give us a face that is fraternal and friendly, concrete and familiar.  God is real because love is real; God is concrete because love is concrete.  Indeed, this “concrete manifestation of love is one of the essential elements in the life of Christians” (BENEDICT XVI, Homily, 1 March 2006).

We can also run the same risks as the neighbours at Nazareth, when within our communities the Gospel seeks to be lived concretely.  We begin to say: But these young people, aren’t they the children of Mary, Joseph, aren’t they the brothers and sisters of so and so?  Are these not the youngsters we saw grow up?  That one over there, wasn’t he the one who kept breaking windows with his ball?  What was born as prophecy and proclamation of the kingdom of God gets domesticated and impoverished.   Attempts to domesticate the word of God occur daily.

You too, dear young people, can experience this whenever you think that your mission, your vocation, even your life itself, is a promise far off in the future, having nothing to do with the present.  As if being young were a kind of waiting room, where we sit around until we are called.  And in the “meantime”, we adults or you yourselves invent a hygienically sealed future, without consequences, where everything is safe, secure and “well insured”.  A “make-believe” happiness.  So we “ tranquilize ” you, we numb you into keeping quiet, not asking or questioning; and in that “meantime” your dreams lose their buoyancy, they begin to become flat and dreary, petty and plaintive (cf. Palm Sunday Homily, 25 March 2018).  Only because we think, or you think, that your now has not yet come, that you are too young to be involved in dreaming about and working for the future.

One of the fruits of the last Synod was the enrichment that came from being able to meet and above all to listen to one another.  The enrichment of intergenerational dialogue, the enrichment of exchange and the value of realizing that we need one another, that we have to work to create channels and spaces that encourage dreaming of and working for tomorrow, starting today.  And this, not in isolation, but rather side by side, creating a common space.  A space that is not simply taken for granted, or won in a lottery, but a space for which you too must fight.

You, dear young people, are not the future but the now of God.  He invites you and calls you in your communities and cities to go out and find your grandparents, your elders; to stand up and with them to speak out and realize the dream that the Lord has dreamed for you.

Not tomorrow but now, for wherever your treasure is, there will your heart also be (cf. Mt 6:21).  Whatever you fall in love with, it will win over not only your imagination, it will affect everything.  It will be what makes you get up in the morning, what keeps you going at times of fatigue, what will break open your hearts and fill you with wonder, joy and gratitude.  Realize that you have a mission and fall in love; that will decide everything (cf. PEDRO ARRUPE, S.J., Nada es más práctico).  We may possess everything, but if we lack the passion of love, we will have nothing.  Let us allow the Lord to make us fall in love!

For Jesus, there is no “meantime”, but only a merciful love that wants to enter into and win over our hearts.  He wants to be our treasure, because he is not a “meantime”, an interval in life or a passing fad; he is generous love that invites us to entrust ourselves.

He is concrete, close, real love.  He is festive joy, born of opting for and taking part in the miraculous draught of hope and charity, solidarity and fraternity, despite the paralyzed and paralyzing gaze born of fear and exclusion, speculation and manipulation.

Brothers and sisters, the Lord and his mission are not a “meantime” in our life, something temporary; they are our life!

In a special way throughout these days, Mary’s fiat has been whispering like a kind of music in the background.  She not only believed in God and in his promises as something possible, she believed God himself and dared to say “yes” to taking part in this now of the Lord.  She felt she had a mission; she fell in love and that decided everything.

As in the synagogue of Nazareth, the Lord stands up again among us his friends and acquaintances; he takes the book and says to us “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21).

Do you want to live out your love in a practical way?  May your “yes” continue to be the gateway for the Holy Spirit to give us a new Pentecost for the world and for the Church.

* * *

Farewell

At the conclusion of this celebration, I thank God for having given us the opportunity to share these days together and to experience once more this World Youth Day.

In particular, I would like to thank the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez, the Presidents of other nations and the other political and civil authorities for their presence at this celebration.

I thank Bishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, Archbishop of Panama, for his generosity and hard work in hosting this World Youth Day in his diocese, as well as the other bishops of this and the neighbouring countries, for all they have done in their communities to provide accommodation and assistance to the great numbers of young people.

My thanks also go to all those who have supported us with their prayers, and who have helped by their efforts and hard work to make this World Youth Day dream come true in this country.

And to you, dear young people, a big “thank you”.  Your faith and joy have made Panama, America and the entire world shake!  As we have heard so many times in these days in the song of this World Youth Day: “As your pilgrim people we are gathered here today from every continent and city”.  We are on a journey, keep walking, keep living the faith and sharing it.  Do not forget that you are not the tomorrow, you are not the “meantime”; you are the now of God.

The venue for the next World Youth Day has already been announced.  I ask you not to let the fervour of these days grow cold.  Go back to your parishes and communities, to your families and your friends, and share this experience, so that others can resonate with the strength and enthusiasm that is yours.  With Mary, keep saying “yes” to the dream that God has sown in you.

And, please, do not forget to pray for me.

Pope Francis’ speech at WYD 2019 opening ceremony: Full text

Pope Francis told young people at Panama’s World Youth Day opening ceremony that the Church is walking with them. He was addressing the crowds gathered at the Santa Marta La Antigua Field in Panama City.

Pope Francis on Thursday presided over the Official Welcome and Opening Ceremony of World Youth Day 2019. Addressing the crowds gathered in a specially organized open area along Panama City’s Coastal Belt, he encouraged them to nurture the culture of encounter that has made the event possible.

Please find below the full text of the Pope’s prepared remarks:   

Dear Young People, good evening!

How good it is to get together again, this time in a land that receives us with such radiance and warmth! As we gather in Panama, World Youth Day is once more a celebration of joy and hope for the whole Church and, for the world, a witness of faith.

I remember that in Krakow several people asked me if I was going to be in Panama, and I told them: “I don’t know, but certainly Peter will be there. Peter is going to be there”. Today I am happy to say to you: Peter is with you, to celebrate and renew you in faith and hope. Peter and the Church walk with you, and we want to tell you not to be afraid, to go forward with the same fresh energy and restlessness that helps make us happier and more available, better witnesses to the Gospel. To go forward, not to create a parallel Church that would be more “fun” or “cool” thanks to a fancy youth event, as if that were all you needed or wanted. That way of thinking would not respect either you or everything that the Spirit is saying through you.

Not at all! With you, we want to rediscover and reawaken the Church’s constant freshness and youth, opening ourselves to a new Pentecost (cf. SYNOD ON YOUNG PEOPLE, Final Document, 60). As we experienced at the Synod, this can only happen if, by our listening and sharing, we encourage each other to keep walking and to bear witness by proclaiming the Lord through service to our brothers and sisters, and concrete service at that.

I know getting here was not easy. I know how much effort and sacrifice was required for you to participate in this Day. Many weeks of work and commitment, and encounters of reflection and prayer, have made the journey itself largely its own reward. A disciple is not merely someone who arrives at a certain place, but one who sets out decisively, who is not afraid to take risks and keeps walking. This is the great joy: to keep walking. You have not been afraid to take risks and to keep journeying. Today we were all able to “get here” because for some time now, in our various communities, we have all been “on the road” together.

We come from different cultures and peoples, we speak different languages and we wear different clothes. Each of our peoples has had a different history and lived through different situations. We are different in so many ways! But none of it has stopped us from meeting one another and rejoicing to be together. The reason for this, we know, is that something unites us. Someone is a brother to us. You, dear friends, have made many sacrifices to be able to meet one another and in this way you have become true teachers and builders of the culture of encounter. By your actions and your approach, your way of looking at things, your desires and above all your sensitivity, you discredit and defuse the kind of talk that is intent on sowing division, on excluding or rejecting those who are not “like us”. It is because you have that instinct which knows intuitively that “true love does not eliminate legitimate differences, but harmonizes them in a superior unity” (BENEDICT XVI, Homily, 25 January 2006). On the other hand, we know that the father of lies prefers people who are divided and quarrelling to people who have learned to work together.

You teach us that encountering one another does not mean having to look alike, or think the same way or do the same things, listening to the same music or wearing the same football jersey. No, not at all… The culture of encounter is a call inviting us to dare to keep alive a shared dream. Yes, a great dream, a dream that has a place for everyone. The dream for which Jesus gave his life on the cross, for which the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost and brought fire to the heart of every man and woman, in your hearts and mine, in the hope of finding room to grow and flourish. A dream named Jesus, sown by the Father in the confidence that it would grow and live in every heart. A dream running through our veins, thrilling our hearts and making them dance whenever we hear the command: “that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:34-35).

A saint from these lands liked to say that, “Christianity is not a collection of truths to be believed, of rules to be followed, or of prohibitions. Seen that way it puts us off. Christianity is a person who loved me immensely, who demands and asks for my love. Christianity is Christ” (cf. Saint Oscar Romero, Homily, 6 November 1977). It means pursuing the dream for which he gave his life: loving with the same love with which he loved us.

We can ask: What keeps us united? Why are we united? What prompts us to encounter each other? The certainty of knowing that we have been loved with a profound love that we neither can nor want to keep quiet about a love that challenges us to respond in the same way: with love. It is the love of Christ that urges us on (cf. 2 Cor 5:14).

A love that does not overwhelm or oppress, cast aside or reduce to silence, humiliate or domineer. It is the love of the Lord, a daily, discreet and respectful love; a love that is free and freeing, a love that heals and raises up. The love of the Lord has to do more with raising up than knocking down, with reconciling than forbidding, with offering new changes than condemning, with the future than the past. It is the quiet love of a hand outstretched to serve, a commitment that draws no attention to itself.
Do you believe in this love? Is it a love that makes sense?

This is the same question and invitation that was addressed to Mary. The angel asked her if she wanted to bear this dream in her womb and give it life, to make it take flesh. She answered: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Mary found the courage to say “yes”. She found the strength to give life to God’s dream. The angel is asking the same thing of each of you, and of me. Do you want this dream to come alive? Do you want to make it take flesh with your hands, with your feet, with your gaze, with your heart? Do you want the Father’s love to open new horizons for you and bring you along paths never imagined or hoped for, dreamt or expected, making our hearts rejoice, sing and dance?

Do we have the courage to say to the angel, as Mary did: Behold the servants of the Lord; let it be done?

Dear young friends, the most hope-filled result of this Day will not be a final document, a joint letter or a programme to be carried out. The most hope-filled result of this meeting will be your faces and a prayer. Each of you will return home with the new strength born of every encounter with others and with the Lord. You will return home filled with the Holy Spirit, so that you can cherish and keep alive the dream that makes us brothers and sisters, and that we must not let grow cold in the heart of our world. Wherever we may be and whatever we may do, we can always look up and say, “Lord, teach me to love as you have loved us”. Will you repeat those words with me? “Lord, teach me to love as you have loved us”.

We cannot conclude this first encounter without giving thanks. Thank you to all those who have prepared this World Youth Day with so much enthusiasm. Thank you for encouraging one another to build up and to welcome, and for saying “yes” to God’s dream of seeing his sons and daughters gathered. Thank you to Archbishop Ulloa and his team who have helped Panama to be today not only a channel that joins oceans, but also a channel where God’s dream continues to find new streams that enable it to grow, to multiply and to spread to every corner of the earth.

Dear friends, may Jesus bless you and Santa Maria Antigua ever accompany you, so that we can say without fear, as she does: “I am here. Let it be done”.

World Youth Day (WYD) is a worldwide encounter with the Pope which is typically celebrated every three years in a different country. The most recent WYD was celebrated in Krakow, Poland from July 26th to 31st, 2016 and the next World Youth Day will be held in Panama City, Panama from January 22nd to 27th, 2019.

The Founder and the first promoter of WYD was Saint John Paul II. With the objective of favoring the personal encounter with Christ which changes life, Promote peace, unity, and fraternity of the peoples and nations of the world, through youth as ambassadors. And develop processes of new evangelization aimed at young people.

WYD is open to all young people who want to take part in a festive encounter with their contemporaries centered on Jesus Christ. This event is an opportunity to experience in first person the universality of the Church; to share with the whole world the hope of many young people who want to commit themselves to Christ and others. World Youth Day is a unique way to deepen your faith and grow closer to Christ, by means of prayer and the sacraments, together with thousands of other young people who share your interests and ambitions.

It is basically a meeting of young people from all over the world with the Pope, in a festive, religious and cultural atmosphere, which shows the dynamism of the Church and gives testimony of the message of Jesus. “It’s much more than an event. It is a time of profound spiritual renewal, whose fruits benefit the whole society ” (Benedict XVI). An extraordinary means of evangelization to strengthen youth ministry.