YOUR LIFE IS THE GREATEST GIFT FROM GOD
Life is a precious gift and it comes to us with its challenges.
Do you know that the welfare of the world around you can be better because of you?
Do you like to walk on the footsteps of people who made the world a better one?
Do you realise that your life would become very interesting and fulfilling?
Myanmar: Pope Urges Youth to Share Good News of Christ (30 Nov 2017)
‘You are Concrete Signs of the Church’s Faith in Jesus Christ’
Looking out at you, the young people of Myanmar, and all those who are united with us outside this cathedral, I want to share with you a phrase from today’s first reading that resonates within me. Taken from the prophet Isaiah, it was echoed by Saint Paul in his letter to the young Christian community in Rome. Let us listen once again to those words: “The footsteps of those who bring good news are a welcome sound” (Rom 10:15; cf. Is 52:7).
Dear young people of Myanmar, hearing your young voices and listening to you sing today, I want to apply those words to you. Yes, you are “a welcome sound”; you are a beautiful and encouraging sight, for you bring us ‘good news’, the good news of your youth, your faith and your enthusiasm. Indeed, you are good news, because you are concrete signs of the Church’s faith in Jesus Christ, who brings us a joy and a hope that will never die.
To speak the Good News
Some people ask how it is possible to speak of good news when so many people around us are suffering? But I want a very clear message to go out from this place. I want people to know that you are not afraid to believe in the good news of God’s mercy, because it has a name and a face: Jesus Christ. As messengers of this good news, you are ready to bring a word of hope to the Church, to your own country, and to the wider world. You are ready to bring good news for your suffering brothers and sisters who need your prayers and your solidarity, but also your enthusiasm for human rights, for justice and for the growth of that “love and peace” which Jesus brings.
But I also have a challenge to set before you. Did you listen carefully to the first reading? There Saint Paul repeats three times the word unless. It is a little word, but it asks us to think about our place in God’s plan. In effect, Paul asks three questions, and I want to put them to each of you personally. First, how are people to believe in the Lord unless they have heard about him? Second, how are people to hear about the Lord unless they have a messenger, someone to bring the good news? And third, how can they have a messenger unless one is sent?” (Rom 10:14-15).
I would like all of you to think deeply about these questions. Let me offer a few thoughts that can guide you on your journey of faith, and help you to discern what it is that the Lord is asking of you.
1. Paul’s first question
Saint Paul’s first question is: “How are people to believe in the Lord unless they have heard about him?” Our world is full of many sounds, so many distractions that can drown out God’s voice. If others are to hear and believe in him, they need to find him in people who are authentic. People who know how to listen! That is surely what you want to be! But only the Lord can help you to be genuine, so talk to him in prayer. Learn to hear his voice, quietly speaking in the depths of your heart.
2. Paul’s second question
Paul’s second question is: “How are they to hear about Jesus without a messenger?” Here is a great task entrusted in a special way to young people: to be “missionary disciples”, messengers of the good news of Jesus, above all to your contemporaries and friends. Do not be afraid to make a ruckus, to ask questions that make people think! And don’t worry if sometimes you feel that you are few and far between. The Gospel always grows from small beginnings.
3. Paul’s last question
Paul’s last question is: “How can people have a messenger unless one is sent?” At the end of this Mass we will all be sent forth, to take with us the gifts we have received and to share them with others. This can be a little daunting, since we don’t always know where Jesus may be sending us. But he never sends us out without also walking at our side.
Dear young people, with great affection I commend all of you, and your families, to her maternal intercession. And I ask you, please, to remember to pray for me.