In a message to the young people meeting in Medjugorie, Francis writes that the Mladifest offers them an opportunity to meet the living Jesus Christ. “The Virgin Mary remains the Church’s great model with a young heart, ready to follow Christ with freshness and docility.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis sent a message to the young people attending the annual Mladifest youth festival currently underway (1-6 August) in Medjugorje (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
This year’s theme is centred on Jesus’s call to “Come, and you will see” (Jn 1:39), giving young people an opportunity to meet Jesus and discover "another way of life", different from today’s dominant relativism.
The youth festival is one of the activities – pilgrimages – that the Church has allowed in Medjugorie. However, the Holy See still has no official position on the site’s reported apparitions.
A commission on Medjugorje established in 2010 and chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini saw a difference between the start of the occurrence and its subsequent development, that is, between the first seven reported apparitions, which took place between 24 June and 3 July 1981, and what happened afterwards.
Eventually, 13 members of the Commission voted to confirm the supernatural origin of the first seven apparitions against one lonely member who cast a suspensive vote.
Speaking to the press, Pope Francis liked the Commission’s work and in 2017 charged Polish Archbishop Henryk Hoser to carry out further investigations.
"The annual meeting of young people in Medjugorje is a time full of prayer, catechesis, and brotherhood,” read Pope Francis’s message. “It offers all of you the opportunity to meet Jesus Christ alive, especially in the Eucharist, celebrated and adored, and in Reconciliation. Thus, it helps you discover another way of life, different from the [dominant] culture of the provisional, according to which nothing can be definitive and only enjoying the present moment counts.
“In this atmosphere of relativism, in which it is difficult to find true and certain answers, the guiding words of the festival, ‘Come, and you will see,’ (Jn 1:39), addressed by Jesus to his disciples, are a blessing. Jesus also turns his gaze onto you and invites you to go and be with him.” Hence, “Do not be afraid!
“Christ is alive and he wants each of you to live. He is the true beauty and the youthfulness of this world. Everything he touches becomes young, becomes new, and is filled with life and meaning (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit, 1). By meeting Jesus, you become a new person, and you receive the mission of passing on this experience to others, but always keeping your gaze fixed upon him, the Lord.
“Dear young people, have you met the gaze of Jesus who asks you: "What are you looking for?" Have you heard his voice saying to you: ‘Come, and you will see’?’ Have you felt the urge to set off? Take the time to be with Jesus, fill yourself with his Spirit and be ready for the fascinating adventure of life. Go and meet him, stay with him in prayer, entrust yourself to him who is an expert in the human heart.
“The Lord’s beautiful call, ‘Come, and you will see,’ told by Christ’s young and beloved disciple, is also addressed to future disciples. Jesus invites you to meet him and this festival becomes an opportunity to come and see.
“The Virgin Mary remains the Church’s great model with a young heart, ready to follow Christ with freshness and docility. The power of her ‘yes’ and ‘May it be done’, which tell the angel always affects us. Her ‘yes’ means getting involved and taking risks, with no other guarantee than the certainty of being the bearer of a promise.
"Her ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord’ (Lk 1:38) is the most beautiful example that tells us what happens when human beings, in their freedom, abandon themselves in God’s hands. May this example fascinate and guide you! ‘Mary is the Mother who watches over us, her children, on our journey through life, often weary and in need, anxious that the light of hope not fail. For that is our desire: that the light of hope never fail. Mary our Mother looks to this pilgrim people: a youthful people whom she loves, and who seek her in the silence of their hearts amid all the noise, the chatter and the distractions of the journey. Under the gaze of our Mother, there is room only for the silence of hope. Thus, Mary illumines anew our youth’ (Christus vivit, 48).”
"Dear young people,” says the message in concluding, “Keep running, ‘attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters. May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith’ (ibid., 299).”