Marking the end of World Youth Day, Francis urged young people not to wait. “Realize that you have a mission and fall in love; that will decide everything. 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!” The 35th WYD will be held in Portugal.
Panama (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis led this morning the Mass bringing to a close the 34th World Youth Day in Panama. In his homily, he told the 600,000 participants that they must act “not tomorrow, but now”. He urged them to dream and build the future today because “You, dear young people, are not the future but the now of God.”
The large Campo San Juan Pablo II (Metro Park), where that Mass was celebrated, was full of hundreds of flags and countless tents where so many young people spent the night in an atmosphere of celebration. A 301-membe choir followed the Gloria clapping their hands.
Francis arrived before 8 am (1 pm GMT) and slowly made his way through the crowd. In his address he started with the beginning of Jesus' public mission (Lk 4: 20-21), when he began telling the congregation in the synagogue: "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
“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.”
Yet, not everyone in Nazareth understood. “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.”
“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 and everyday 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.”
“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.”
Furthermore, the recent synod on young people highlighted the value of listening and dialogue between generations, “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.”
At the end of the service, Francis announced that the 35th WYD will be held in Portugal. Afterwards, he went to the Casa Hogar El Buen Samaritan Juan Díaz, a foundation sponsored by the Panamanian Church in favour of young people and poor adults living with AIDS.
After lunch, he will meet with WYD volunteers to thank them for their work. At 6.15 pm (11.15 pm GMG), he is expected to leave for Rome where he should land at 11.50 (10.50 GMT).