College Chaplain Reflection – August 25, 2016

August 24, 2016

Pope Francis speaks to the young people of the Church

-There is a way, a way that is not for sale-¦ a way that is not a thing or an object, but a person.-

I promised last time that I would share with you some of the messages of the Holy Father that he addressed to the young people of the Church during World Youth Day. The first talk I will draw from is that addressed at the opening ceremony at BÅ‚onia Park on Thursday 28th August. If I could put the message in a sentence it would be this; Jesus, here among you, challenges you as young people to be radically open to being transformed in him, to go forth and be his mercy to the world.

Everyone was there in Krakow -to celebrate Jesus who is living among us.- Gathered in his name, Jesus was in our midst. His presence was manifest, experienced most concretely in the new friendships we had made in his name and in the joy that was so palpable.

The fact we were all able to experience this so readily was testament to the openness of youth to be transformed by Christ. -When Jesus touches a young person’s heart, he or she becomes capable of truly great things.- The young are ready to go out of themselves, to go beyond what is comfortable, they are ready to dream. -When the heart is open and able to dream, there is room for mercy,- and for this reason, -Mercy always has a youthful face!-

Yes, mercy always has a youthful face, but youth is not automatically the face of mercy. Some young people, Pope Francis said, have entered an -early retirement,- closing in on themselves, avoiding the life-giving path of the Gospel and instead wasting themselves pursuing cheap, empty thrills. Overindulgence in material comforts and meaningless distractions has deadened much of our society’s sensitivity to the needs of others, holding us back from finding true fulfilment in following Christ.

In response to this, the Pope challenged us to opt for Christ instead, for he is the supreme gift of the Father, the gift that satisfies the deepest longings of our hearts. The response of the crowd is in parenthesis.

-So I ask you: are you looking for empty thrills in life, or do you want to feel a power that can give you a lasting sense of life and fulfilment? Empty thrills or the power of grace? What do you want: deadening thrills or the power of fullness? What do you want? [The power of fullness!] I cannot hear you very well. [The power of fullness!] To find fulfilment, to gain new life, there is a way, a way that is not for sale, that cannot be purchased, a way that is not a thing or an object, but a person. His name is Jesus Christ. I ask you: can you buy Jesus Christ? [No!] Can Jesus Christ be bought at the shops? [No!] Jesus Christ is a gift, a gift from the Father, the gift from our Father. Who is Jesus Christ? All together! Jesus Christ is a gift! All together! [He is a gift!] He is the Father’s gift.-

Jesus is the Father’s gift to us, and an encounter with his love and mercy can restore our youthfulness. Jesus can give you true passion for life. Jesus can inspire us not to settle for less, but to give the very best of ourselves.- For receiving him as pure gift and being transformed afresh after his likeness, we are empowered and commissioned to make of ourselves a gift in turn, reaching out in love and mercy to those around us. And in this way we can find happiness and fulfilment, -Because happiness is sown and blossoms in mercy. That is his answer, his offer, his challenge, his adventure: mercy.-

You can find the full text here;