WITHOUT HER "YOUNG FACE" THE CHURCH
WOULD BE DISFIGURED
VATICAN CITY, MAY 10, 2007 (VIS) - Today shortly before 6 p.m. (11
p.m. in Rome), Benedict XVI arrived at the "Paulo Machado de
Carvalho" municipal stadium of Pacaembu where he was welcomed by
more than 40,000 young people. At the same time, tens of thousands
of others followed the event on giant screens outside the stadium.
The Pope then presided at the Liturgy of the Word during which
passages from the Song of Songs were read out as images of Brazilian
landscape were projected on the screens.
The Pope addressed the participants by quoting words used by John
Paul II during his visit to the Mato Grosso in 1991: "Young people
are the main protagonists of the third millennium. ... It is they
who will decide the destiny of this new stage of humanity." Benedict
XVI then added: "God's charity is infinite, and the Lord asks us, or
rather he requires us, to expand our hearts so as to contain ever
more love, goodness, and understanding for our fellows and for the
problems that involve not only human coexistence but also the
effective preservation and protection of the natural environment, of
which we are all a part.
"Our woods have more life," added the Pope quoting from the
Brazilian national anthem. "Do not let this flame of hope go out.
... The environmental devastation of the Amazon and the threat to
the human dignity of its people call for greater commitment in
various fields of social activity."
The Holy Father then turned to the central theme of his homily, the
dialogue between Jesus and the rich young man as recounted in the
Gospel of St. Matthew, the central point of which is the question:
"What must I do to have eternal life?"
"This query," the Pope explained, "does not only concern the future.
It does not concern only the question of what happens after death.
Quite the contrary, there is a commitment in the present, here and
now, that must guarantee authenticity and consequently the future.
In a word, the query concerns the meaning of life and could
therefore be expressed thus: what must I do in order for my life to
Christ, "a Master Who does not deceive, ... invites us to see God in
all things and all events, even where the majority of people see
only the absence of God. He encourages the rich young man "to keep
the Commandments ... at the foundation of which are grace and
nature." They "stimulate us to do something towards our own
self-fulfillment. To fulfil oneself through action is in fact, to
"We hear talk of the fears of today's youth. These fears reveal an
enormous lack of hope: fear of death; ... fear of failure for not
having discovered the meaning of life; and fear of exclusion in the
face of the bewildering pace of events and of communications. ...
Yet when I look upon you young people present here ... I see you as
Christ sees you: a gaze full of love and trust, in the certainty
that you have found the true path. You are the youth of the Church.
... Be apostles to the young!"
"There exists, in the final analysis, an immense field of action in
which social, economic and political questions are particularly
important, so long as their source of inspiration is always the
Gospel and the Church's social doctrine. The building of a more just
and united, reconciled and peaceful society; the commitment to halt
violence; initiatives aimed at promoting fullness of life,
democratic order and the common good and, especially, those that
seek to eliminate certain forms of discrimination that exist in
Latin American society ... are not grounds for exclusion but for
The Holy Father called on young people to maintain "great respect
for the Sacrament of Marriage," and "to respect one another during
the period of courtship and engagement." He also highlighted how
some of them "are called to a total and definitive sacrifice,
consecrating themselves to God in the religious life ... and bearing
witness to the hope of the heavenly Kingdom among all men and
"Youth is a form of wealth," said Benedict XVI returning to consider
the dialogue between Jesus and the rich young man, "because it leads
to the rediscovery of life as a gift and as a task." But the young
man of the Gospel, "at the moment of the great choice, did not have
the courage to wager everything on Jesus Christ, ... he realized
that he lacked the generosity and this prevented him from complete
"Do not waste your youth," Pope Benedict concluded, "do not seek to
flee it. ... Consecrate it to the ideals of faith and of human
solidarity. You young people are not just the future of the Church
and of humanity, as if you were trying to flee the present moment.
On the contrary, you are the existing youth of the Church and of
humanity. You are the young face ... without which the Church would
Coverage - History -
News - Words -