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Sunday, July 28, 2013

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : MON. JULY 29, 2013 - SHARE BREAKING NEWS

POPE FRANCIS LANDS SAFELY HOME IN VATICAN

POPE FRANCIS "YOU WILL LEAVE AS MISSIONARIES" WORLD YOUTH DAY DEPARTURE CEREMONY - VIDEO - TEXT

POPE FRANCIS NEXT WORLD YOUTH DAY IN KRAKOW POLAND

POPE FRANCIS AT WORLD YOUTH DAY CLOSING MASS WITH 3 MILLION YOUTH – TEXT – VIDEO



2013

POPE FRANCIS LANDS SAFELY HOME IN VATICAN

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis landed at Rome’s Ciampino airport this morning, marking his return from World Youth Day 2013. 

The 12-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro marks the end of Pope Francis’ first overseas Apostolic Voyage. 

The weeklong youth event ended Sunday with Mass on Rio’s famous Copacabana beach, an liturgy attended by approximately three million people. 

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : MON. JULY 29, 2013

Memorial of Saint Martha
Lectionary: 401/607


Reading 1                      EX 32:15-24, 30-34

Moses turned and came down the mountain
with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands,
tablets that were written on both sides, front and back;
tablets that were made by God,
having inscriptions on them that were engraved by God himself.
Now, when Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting,
he said to Moses, “That sounds like a battle in the camp.”
But Moses answered, “It does not sound like cries of victory,
nor does it sound like cries of defeat;
the sounds that I hear are cries of revelry.”
As he drew near the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing.
With that, Moses’ wrath flared up, so that he threw the tablets down
and broke them on the base of the mountain.
Taking the calf they had made, he fused it in the fire
and then ground it down to powder,
which he scattered on the water and made the children of Israel drink.

Moses asked Aaron, “What did this people ever do to you
that you should lead them into so grave a sin?”
Aaron replied, “Let not my lord be angry.
You know well enough how prone the people are to evil.
They said to me, ‘Make us a god to be our leader;
as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt,
we do not know what has happened to him.’
So I told them, ‘Let anyone who has gold jewelry take it off.’
They gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out.”

On the next day Moses said to the people,
“You have committed a grave sin.
I will go up to the LORD, then;
perhaps I may be able to make atonement for your sin.”
So Moses went back to the LORD and said,
“Ah, this people has indeed committed a grave sin
in making a god of gold for themselves!
If you would only forgive their sin!
If you will not, then strike me out of the book that you have written.”
The LORD answered, “Him only who has sinned against me
will I strike out of my book.
Now, go and lead the people to the place I have told you.
My angel will go before you.
When it is time for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

Responsorial Psalm                   PS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R. (1a) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

Gospel                 JN 11:19-27

Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died].
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

Or            LK 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday evening delivered his goodbye speech to all those present at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeao Airport gathered to see him on his way and to say “farewell”.
Brazilian President Dilma Roussef headed the delegation of political and civil authorities together with a numerous contingent of Cardinals and Bishops of the nation.
In his address, Pope Francis thanked the President, his brother Bishops and their collaborators, and the entire population of Brazil for making this week “a splendid celebration of the richness and joy of our faith in Jesus Christ”.  
And he expressed his gratitude for the work of event organizers and media operators. And in particular he said his “gratitude goes to the many people who prayed, often in silence and simplicity for this World Youth Day to be an authentic experience of growth in faith”.
But above all – Pope Francis said – “my thoughts turn to those who are at the heart of these celebrations: the young people!” . “Many of you came here as disciples” – he continued – “I have no doubt that all of you will leave as missionaries”.
And he urged them to help build a civilization of love: “Show, by your life, that it is worth giving your time and talents in order to attain high ideals, it is worth recognizing the dignity of each human person, and it is worth taking risks for Christ and the Gospel”.

“I will always place my hopes in the young people of Brazil” – Pope Francis said – “and in the young around the world: through them, Christ is preparing a new springtime all over the earth”.

The Pope concluded his farewell speech turning his thoughts to Our Lady of Aparecida and imploring Mary to strengthen all Brazilians in the Christian faith.


Please find below the full text of the Pope's discourse at the Farewell Ceremony:



Madam President,
Distinguished National, State and Local Authorities,
Dear Archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro,
Dear Cardinals and Brother Bishops,
Dear Friends,

I am about to leave your country to return to Rome. I depart with many happy memories which I know will nourish my prayers. Already I am beginning to miss Brazil, this great people showing so much affection and friendship. I shall miss the natural and warm smiles I have seen in so many faces, and the enthusiasm shown by the volunteers. I shall miss the hope filling the eyes of the young people in the Hospital of Saint Francis. I shall miss the faith and joy shown by the residents of Varginha in the midst of their hardship. I know that Christ is truly present in the lives of countless young people and in the lives of many whom I have met during this unforgettable week. Thank you for the warm welcome and the friendship that have been offered to me. This too I shall miss.

In particular, I would like to thank Madam President for expressing the sentiments of the entire population of Brazil towards the Successor of Peter. I warmly extend gratitude to my brother Bishops and to their many collaborators for making this week a splendid celebration of the richness and joy of our faith in Jesus Christ. I thank all those who took part in the eucharistic celebrations and other events, and I thank those who organized them and those who worked to broadcast them through the media. Finally, I wish to thank all those who in one way or another rose to the challenge of hosting and organizing the large numbers of young people. And not least my gratitude goes to the many people who prayed, often in silence and simplicity, for this World Youth Day to be an authentic experience of growth in faith. May God reward all of you, as only he can!

As I express my thanks and bid farewell, my thoughts turn to those who are at the heart of these celebrations: the young people! May God bless you for the beautiful witness of your lives and for your intense and joyful participation over these last few days. Many of you came here as disciples; I have no doubt that all of you will leave as missionaries. Through your joyful witness and service, help to build a civilization of love. Show, by your life, that it is worth giving your time and talents in order to attain high ideals, it is worth recognizing the dignity of each human person, and it is worth taking risks for Christ and his Gospel. It is he that we have come to seek because he first sought us. It is he who has inflamed our hearts with the desire to take the Good News to the large cities and to the small communities, to the countryside and to all the corners of this vast planet. I will always place my hopes in the young people of Brazil and in the young around the world: through them, Christ is preparing a new springtime all over the earth. I have seen its first fruits and I know that others will joyfully reap the full harvest.

Finally, my thoughts turn to Our Lady of Aparecida, to whom I also bid farewell. In that beloved Shrine I knelt to pray for the entire human family and in particular for all Brazilians. I implored Mary to strengthen you in the Christian faith, which forms part of the noble soul of Brazil, as indeed of many other countries; this faith is your culture’s treasure and serves as encouragement and support in the task of building a renewed humanity in harmony and solidarity. 

As he departs, the Pope says to all of you affectionately: “see you soon”. He asks you not to forget to pray for him. The Pope needs the prayers of all of you. I offer you an affectionate embrace. May God bless you! 
SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA
TODAY'S SAINT: JULY 29: ST. MARTHA

St. Martha
SISTER OF ST. LAZARUS AND MARY
Feast: July 29


Information:
Feast Day:July 29
Born:
Palaestina (modern-day Israel)
Died:80, Tarascon, Gaul (modern-day France) or Cyprus
Patron of:butlers; cooks; dietitians; domestic servants; homemakers; hotel-keepers; housemaids; housewives; innkeepers; laundry workers; maids; manservants; servants; servers; single laywomen; travellers
Mentioned only in Luke, x, 38-42; and John, xi; xii, sqq. The Aramaic form occurs in a Nabatfan inscription found at Puteoli, and now in the Naples Museum; it is dated A.D. 5 (Corpus Inscr. Semit., 158); also in a Palmyrene inscription, where the Greek translation has the form Marthein, A.D. 179.
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus are represented by St. John as living at Bethania, but St. Luke would seem to imply that they were, at least at one time, living in Galilee; he does not mention the name of the town, but it may have been Magdala, and we should thus, supposing Mary of Bethania and Mary Magdalene to be the same person, understand the appellative "Magdalene". The words of St. John (xi, 1) seem to imply a change of residence for the family. It is possible, too, that St. Luke has displaced the incident referred to in c. x. The likeness between the pictures of Martha presented by Luke and John is very remarkable. The familiar intercourse between the Saviour of the world and the humble family which St. Luke depicts is dwelt on by St. John when he tells us that "Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus" (xi, 5). Again the picture of Martha's anxiety (John, xi, 20-21, 39) accords with the picture of her who was "busy about much serving" (Luke, x, 40); so also in John, xii, 2: "They made him a supper there: and Martha served." But St. John has given us a glimpse of the other and deeper side of her character when he depicts her growing faith in Christ's Divinity (xi, 20-27), a faith which was the occasion of the words: "I am the resurrection and the life." The Evangelist has beautifully indicated the change that came over Martha after that interview: "When she had said these things, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying: The Master is
come, and calleth for thee."
Difficulties have been raised about the last supper at Bethania. St. John seems to put it six days before the Pasch, and, so some conclude, in the house of Martha; while the Synoptic account puts it two days before the Pasch, and in the house of Simon the Leper. We need not try to avoid this difficulty by asserting that there were two suppers; for St. John does not say that the supper took place six days before, but only that Christ arrived in Bethania six days before the Pasch; nor does he say that it was in the house of Martha. We are surely justified in arguing that, since St. Matthew and St. Mark place the scene in the house of Simon, St. John must be understood to say the same; it remains to be
proved that Martha could not "serve" in Simon's house.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/M/stmartha.asp#ixzz1TSrIwLqo


POPE FRANCIS NEXT WORLD YOUTH DAY IN KRAKOW POLAND

(Vatican Radio) It’s official: the next venue for World Youth Day celebrations will be Krakòw, Poland. Pope Francis made the announcement in Rio de Janeiro Sunday, the final day of his week-long pastoral visit to Brazil for WYD 2013.

Speaking ahead of reciting the Angelus prayer with the faithful gathered in Rio, Pope Francis invoked the intercession of the Virgin Mary in preparation for Krakòw, asking “for the light of the Holy Spirit upon the journey that will lead us to this next stage in our joyful celebration of faith and the love of Christ.”

The decision to hold World Youth Day in Poland’s second largest city will come as no surprise to many. Blessed Pope John Paul II, a Pole who led the Archdiocese of Krakòw for some 15 years and the Universal Church for nearly 27, is soon to be canonized, becoming one of the country’s newest saints.

Not long before departing for WYD in Brazil, on July 4, 2013, Pope Francis confirmed his approval of Karol Wojtyla’s canonization, in a process initiated in 2005 under the pontificate of Benedict XVI. 

The Polish pontiff will be canonized together with Pope John XXIII in a special mass expected to take place before the end of 2013.

Hundreds of thousands of Poles came to Rome to mourn their beloved pope in April 2005 after John Paul II’s death. They credit him with the downfall of the former communist regime and the resurgence of Poland’s Catholic identity.

A university city, Kraków is a major national academic and artistic centre whose old town was one of UNESCO’s first World Heritage sites. Situated on the banks of the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Krakòw has a population of approximately 760,000 but some 8 million people live within a 100 km radius of the centre.

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

POPE FRANCIS AT WORLD YOUTH DAY CLOSING MASS WITH 3 MILLION YOUTH - TEXT - VIDEO

(Vatican Radio) Celebrating the World Youth Day Holy Mass in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, Pope Francis told those present that it was time to go and to pass on this experience to others.

Addressing a crowd of over 3 million people gathered on Copacabana beachfront for the concluding Mass of the weeklong event, the Pope focused his message on the very theme chosen to run through World Youth Day: “Go and make disciples of all nations”. 

To the millions of young people gathered to be with him, Pope Francis offered three simple ideas: “Go, do not be afraid, and serve”. 
Go – he said – during these days here in Rio you have enjoyed a wonderful experience, meeting Jesus with others and sensing the joy of faith. But this experience – he said – must not remain locked up in your life or community, it must be shared and passed on so that everyone may know, love and confess Jesus.
And he pointed out that Jesus’ message of love is not just for some, it is for everyone, and he urged the young people not to be afraid of bringing Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem most indifferent.
Pope Francis galvanized the young people by telling them that Christ’s proclamation is entrusted to them so that it may resound with fresh power. The Church needs you – he said – your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of you. Do not be afraid – he repeated – Jesus never leaves you alone!
And finally: Serve. Just as St. Paul made himself a slave to all – the Pope explained – “evangelizing means bearing personal witness to the love of God, it is overcoming our selfishness, it is serving by bending down to wash the feet of our brethren as Jesus did.”
If you follow these three ideas – Pope Francis concluded – you will experience the joy of faith. So: “go home and do not be afraid to be generous with Christ. He is counting on you! The Church is counting on you! The Pope is counting on you!” 


Please find the full text of his homily below: 


Brother Bishops and Priests,
Dear Young Friends,

“Go and make disciples of all nations”. With these words, Jesus is speaking to each one of us, saying: “It was wonderful to take part in World Youth Day, to live the faith together with young people from the four corners of the earth, but now you must go, now you must pass on this experience to others.” Jesus is calling you to be a disciple with a mission! Today, in the light of the word of God that we have heard, what is the Lord saying to us? Three simple ideas: Go, do not be afraid, and serve.

1. Go. During these days here in Rio, you have been able to enjoy the wonderful experience of meeting Jesus, meeting him together with others, and you have sensed the joy of faith. But the experience of this encounter must not remain locked up in your life or in the small group of your parish, your movement, or your community. That would be like withholding oxygen from a flame that was burning strongly. Faith is a flame that grows stronger the more it is shared and passed on, so that everyone may know, love and confess Jesus Christ, the Lord of life and history (cf. Rom 10:9).

Careful, though! Jesus did not say: “if you would like to, if you have the time”, but: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Sharing the experience of faith, bearing witness to the faith, proclaiming the Gospel: this is a command that the Lord entrusts to the whole Church, and that includes you; but it is a command that is born not from a desire for domination or power but from the force of love, from the fact that Jesus first came into our midst and gave us, not a part of himself, but the whole of himself, he gave his life in order to save us and to show us the love and mercy of God. Jesus does not treat us as slaves, but as free men, as friends, as brothers and sisters; and he not only sends us, he accompanies us, he is always beside us in our mission of love.

Where does Jesus send us? There are no borders, no limits: he sends us to everyone. The Gospel is for everyone, not just for some. It is not only for those who seem closer to us, more receptive, more welcoming. It is for everyone. Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent. The Lord seeks all, he wants everyone to feel the warmth of his mercy and his love.

In particular, I would like Christ’s command: “Go” to resonate in you young people from the Church in Latin America, engaged in the continental mission promoted by the Bishops. Brazil, Latin America, the whole world needs Christ! Saint Paul says: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16). This continent has received the proclamation of the Gospel which has marked its history and borne much fruit. Now this proclamation is entrusted also to you, that it may resound with fresh power. The Church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of you. A great Apostle of Brazil, Blessed José de Anchieta, set off on the mission when he was only nineteen years old. Do you know what the best tool is for evangelizing the young? Another young person. This is the path to follow!

2. Do not be afraid. Some people might think: “I have no particular preparation, how can I go and proclaim the Gospel?” My dear friend, your fear is not so very different from that of Jeremiah, a young man like you, when he was called by God to be a prophet. We have just heard his words: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth”. God says the same thing to you as he said to Jeremiah: “Be not afraid ... for I am with you to deliver you” (Jer 1:7,8). He is with us!

“Do not be afraid!” When we go to proclaim Christ, it is he himself who goes before us and guides us. When he sent his disciples on mission, he promised: “I am with you always” (Mt 28:20). And this is also true for us! Jesus does not leave us alone, he never leaves you alone! He always accompanies you.

And then, Jesus did not say: “One of you go”, but “All of you go”: we are sent together. Dear young friends, be aware of the companionship of the whole Church and also the communion of the saints on this mission. When we face challenges together, then we are strong, we discover resources we did not know we had. Jesus did not call the Apostles to live in isolation, he called them to form a group, a community. I would like to address you, dear priests concelebrating with me at this Eucharist: you have come to accompany your young people, and this is wonderful, to share this experience of faith with them! But it is a stage on the journey. Please continue to accompany them with generosity and joy, help them to become actively engaged in the Church; never let them feel alone! And at this point I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to theYouth Ministery groups, to the Movements and the new Communities that accompany the young people in their experience of being Church. They are so creative, so audacious. Carry on and do not be afraid! 

3. The final word: serve. The opening words of the psalm that we proclaimed are: “Sing to the Lord a new song” (Psalm 95:1). What is this new song? It does not consist of words, it is not a melody, it is the song of your life, it is allowing our life to be identified with that of Jesus, it is sharing his sentiments, his thoughts, his actions. And the life of Jesus is a life for others. It is a life of service.

In our Second Reading today, Saint Paul says: “I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more” (1 Cor 9:19). In order to proclaim Jesus, Paul made himself “a slave to all”. Evangelizing means bearing personal witness to the love of God, it is overcoming our selfishness, it is serving by bending down to wash the feet of our brethren, as Jesus did.

Three words: Go, do not be afraid, and serve. Follow these three words: Go, do not be afraid, and serve. If you follow these three ideas, you will experience that the one who evangelizes is evangelized, the one who transmits the joy of faith receives joy. Dear young friends, as you return to your homes, do not be afraid to be generous with Christ, to bear witness to his Gospel. In the first Reading, when God sends the prophet Jeremiah, he gives him the power to “pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (1:10). It is the same for you. Bringing the Gospel is bringing God’s power to pluck up and break down evil and violence, to destroy and overthrow the barriers of selfishness, intolerance and hatred, so as to build a new world. Jesus Christ is counting on you! The Church is counting on you! The Pope is counting on you! May Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, always accompany you with her tenderness: “Go and make disciples of all nations”. Amen.

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

2 MILLION YOUTH WITH POPE FRANCIS AT WORLD YOUTH DAY PRAYER VIGIL

(Vatican Radio) Two million young people carpeted Rio de Janeiro’s Copacobana beach on Saturday, joining Pope Francis in a huge outdoor evening prayer vigil as part of World Youth Day celebrations in Brazil. The centerpiece of the vigil was a Eucharistic procession. The event featured litanies and hymns, as well as the testimonies of four different young people.

In his remarks to the youthful pilgrims, Pope Francis focused on the image of the field of faith – the name of the venue at which the vigil was originally to have taken place, before the week’s inclement weather rendered it unusable: the field as a place to sow seed and raise crops; the field as a place of training; the field as construction site.

The Holy Father also had words of encouragement for the many young people around the world – and especially in Brazil, who in recent days and weeks have taken to the streets to call for the betterment of their societies in a spirit of greater brotherhood. “I encourage them,” he said, “in an orderly, peaceful and responsible manner, motivated by the values of the Gospel, to continue overcoming apathy and offering a Christian response to social and political concerns present in their countries.”  
Our correspondent in Rio, Sean Patrick Lovett was there and filed this report:

A ritual devotion marking the eve of a holy day. A religious exercise involving silence, waiting and expectation. A keeping watch while others are sleeping. These are some of the ways we try to explain the term “vigil”. I said “try”. While all of them could easily be applied to the event that involved over two million young people on Copacabana Beach on Saturday night, none of them quite does it justice. 

So what kind of a “vigil” was it?

It was part musical spectacle, part theatrical presentation, part religious celebration. Apart from that, it was also a dialogue between Pope Francis and his young listeners. Constantly encouraging them to be “protagonists of history”, “overcoming apathy” and remaining in the forefront of change – he insisted they repeat out loud his 3-point formula for being effective and living stones in Christ’s Church: “Prayer. “The Sacraments. Helping others”. Two million voices dutifully yelled out in Spanish (the language the Pope used throughout his discourse): “Oración. Sacramentos. Ayuda a los demás”. It wasn’t a sound one hears very often. But he also insisted on moments of silence, interrupting their applause (at least three times) and inviting them to reflect on Christ’s personal call for each one of them. It was more like a very personal catechesis rather than a formal papal discourse.

Moments of spectacular creativity alternated with moments of prayerful reflection. From the symbolic building of a huge wooden church (the dismantled pieces of which will be distributed among different Rio parishes) – to the solemn Eucharistic adoration that brought the evening to a meditative close. In fact, probably the most moving moment of the entire celebration was the deafening silence of two million young people, punctuated only by the sound of the wind and waves.

Silence. Watching. Waiting. 
It was a “vigil” alright – in the very deepest sense of the word.
SPL

***************************************************
Below, we publish the full text of Pope Francis' remarks to young people at the Copacobana Prayer Vigil:


Dear Young Friends, 

We have just recalled the story of Saint Francis of Assisi. In front of the crucifix he heard the voice of Jesus saying to him: “Francis, go, rebuild my house”. The young Francis responded readily and generously to the Lord’s call to rebuild his house. But which house? Slowly but surely, Francis came to realize that it was not a question of repairing a stone building, but about doing his part for the life of the Church. It was a matter of being at the service of the Church, loving her and working to make the countenance of Christ shine ever more brightly in her.

Today too, as always, the Lord needs you, young people, for his Church. Today too, he is calling each of you to follow him in his Church and to be missionaries. How? In what way? Well, I think we can learn something from what happened in these days: as we had to cancel due to bad weather, the realization of this vigil on the campus Fidei, in Guaratiba. Lord willing might we say that the real area of ​​faith, the true campus fidei, is not a geographical place - but we, ourselves? Yes! Each of us, each one of you. And missionary discipleship means to recognize that we are God’s campus fidei, His “field of faith”! Therefore, from the image of the field of faith, starting with the name of the place, Campus Fidei, the field of faith, I have thought of three images that can help us understand better what it means to be a disciple and a missionary. First, a field is a place for sowing seeds; second, a field is a training ground; and third, a field is a construction site.

1. A field is a place for sowing seeds. We all know the parable where Jesus speaks of a sower who went out to sow seeds in the field; some seed fell on the path, some on rocky ground, some among thorns, and could not grow; other seed fell on good soil and brought forth much fruit (cf. Mt 13:1-9). Jesus himself explains the meaning of the parable: the seed is the word of God sown in our hearts (cf. Mt 13:18-23). This, dear young people, means that the real Campus Fidei, the field of faith, is your own heart, it is your life. It is your life that Jesus wants to enter with his word, with his presence. Please, let Christ and his word enter your life, blossom and grow.

Jesus tells us that the seed which fell on the path or on the rocky ground or among the thorns bore no fruit. What kind of ground are we? What kind of terrain do we want to be? Maybe sometimes we are like the path: we hear the Lord’s word but it changes nothing in our lives because we let ourselves be numbed by all the superficial voices competing for our attention; or we are like the rocky ground: we receive Jesus with enthusiasm, but we falter and, faced with difficulties, we don’t have the courage to swim against the tide; or we are like the thorny ground: negativity, negative feelings choke the Lord’s word in us (cf. Mt 13:18-22). But today I am sure that the seed is falling on good soil, that you want to be good soil, not part-time Christians, not “starchy” and superficial, but real. I am sure that you don’t want to be duped by a false freedom, always at the beck and call of momentary fashions and fads. I know that you are aiming high, at long-lasting decisions which will make your lives meaningful. Jesus is capable of letting you do this: he is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). Let’s trust in him. Let’s make him our guide!

2. A field is a training ground. Jesus asks us to follow him for life, he asks us to be his disciples, to “play on his team”. I think that most of you love sports! Here in Brazil, as in other countries, football is a national passion. Now, what do players do when they are asked to join a team? They have to train, and to train a lot! The same is true of our lives as the Lord’s disciples. Saint Paul tells us: “athletes deny themselves all sorts of things; they do this to win a crown of leaves that withers, but we a crown that is imperishable” (1 Cor 9:25). Jesus offers us something bigger than the World Cup! He offers us the possibility of a fulfilled and fruitful life; he also offers us a future with him, an endless future, eternal life. But he asks us to train, “to get in shape”, so that we can face every situation in life undaunted, bearing witness to our faith. How do we get in shape? By talking with him: by prayer, which is our daily conversation with God, who always listens to us. By the sacraments, which make his life grow within us and conform us to Christ. By loving one another, learning to listen, to understand, to forgive, to be accepting and to help others, everybody, with no one excluded or ostracized. Dear young people, be true “athletes of Christ”! 

3. A field is a construction site. When our heart is good soil which receives the word of God, when “we build up a sweat” in trying to live as Christians, we experience something tremendous: we are never alone, we are part of a family of brothers and sisters, all journeying on the same path: we are part of the Church; indeed, we are building up the Church and we are making history. Saint Peter tells us that we are living stones, which form a spiritual edifice (cf. 1 Pet 2:5). Looking at this platform, we see that it is in the shape of a church, built up with stones and bricks. In the Church of Jesus, we ourselves are the living stones. Jesus is asking us to build up his Church, but not as a little chapel which holds only a small group of persons. He asks us to make his living Church so large that it can hold all of humanity, that it can be a home for everyone! To me, to you, to each of us he says: “Go and make disciples of all nations”. Tonight, let us answer him: Yes, I too want to be a living stone; together we want to build up the Church of Jesus! Let us all say together: I want to go forth and build up the Church of Christ! 

In your young hearts, you have a desire to build a better world. I have been closely following the news reports of the many young people who throughout the world have taken to the streets in order to express their desire for a more just and fraternal society - (and here in Brazil), they have gone out into the streets to express a desire for a more just and fraternal civilization. These are young people who want to be agents of change. I encourage them, in an orderly, peaceful and responsible manner, motivated by the values of the Gospel, to continue overcoming apathy and offering a Christian response to social and political concerns present in their countries. But the question remains: Where do we start? What are the criteria for building a more just society? Mother Teresa of Calcutta was once asked what needed to change in the Church. Her answer was: you and I! 

Dear friends, never forget that you are the field of faith! You are Christ’s athletes! You are called to build a more beautiful Church and a better world. Let us lift our gaze to Our Lady. Mary helps us to follow Jesus, she gives us the example by her own “yes” to God: “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me as you say” (Lk 1:38). All together, let us join Mary in saying to God: let it be done to me as you say. Amen!

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

POPE FRANCIS INVITES SICK CHILD TO WORLD YOUTH DAY MASS

(Vatican Radio) Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press Office, told Vatican Radio that Pope Francis has personally requested the presence of a sick child when he presides Sunday’s closing mass for World Youth Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The little girl, who suffers from anencephaly, a condition which means she was born without a large part of her brain, will be brought up to the altar during the Offertory procession. Most children affected by anencephaly do not survive this condition or are aborted before the pregnancy comes to term. 

The little girl’s parents presented her to Pope Francis as he was leaving Rio’s Saint Sebastian Cathedral following Saturday’s mass with religious. The couple said that though they could have legally aborted their sick child, they decided to celebrate her life.

Fr. Lombardi said, “the Pope will welcome this very tiny girl during the Offertory procession of the final Mass for World Youth Day as a sign of welcome and of offering of life to God.”
SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

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