"Young man, I say to you, arise!" (Lk 7:14)


Dear Young People,

WYD20193The Scriptures often speak of the feelings experienced by those who let themselves be touched “viscerally” by the pain of others. Jesus’ own feelings make him share in other people’s lives. He makes their pain his own. That mother’s grief became his own. The death of that young son became his own.

As young people, you have shown over and over again that you are capable of compassion. I think of all those of you who have generously offered help whenever situations demanded it. No disaster, earthquake or flood takes place without young volunteers stepping up to offer a helping hand. The great mobilization of young people concerned about defending the environment is also a witness to your ability to hear the cry of the earth.

To come forward and “touch”

Jesus stops the funeral procession. He draws near, he demonstrates his closeness. Closeness thus turns into a PapaIncontroSinodalecourageous act of restoring life to another. A prophetic gesture. The touch of Jesus, the living One, communicates life. It is a touch that pours the Holy Spirit into the dead body of that young man and brings him back to life.

That touch penetrates all hurt and despair. It is the touch of God himself, a touch also felt in authentic human love; it is a touch opening up unimaginable vistas of freedom and fullness of new life. The effectiveness of this gesture of Jesus is incalculable. It reminds us that even one sign of closeness, simple yet concrete, can awaken forces of resurrection.

“Young man, I say to you, arise!”

The Gospel does not tell us the name of the young man whom Jesus restored to life in Nain. This invites each reader to identify with him. To you, to me, to each one of us, Jesus says: “Arise”. We are very aware that, as Christians, we constantly fall and have to get up again.

Raising of the Son of the Widow of NainLiving the new life as “risen ones”

The Gospel tells us that the young man “began to speak” (Lk 7:15). Those touched and restored to life by Jesus immediately speak up and express without hesitation or fear what has happened deep within them: their personality, desires, needs and dreams. Perhaps they were never able to do this before, for they thought no one would be able to understand.To speak also means to enter into a relationship with others.

In a culture that makes young people isolated and withdrawn into virtual worlds, let us spread Jesus’ invitation: “Arise!” He calls us to embrace a reality that is so much more than virtual. This does not involve rejecting technology, but rather using it as a means and not as an end. “Arise!” is also an invitation to “dream”, to “take a risk”, to be “committed to changing the world”, to rekindle your hopes and aspirations, and to contemplate the heavens, the stars and the world around you. “Arise and become what you are!” If this is our message, many young people will stop looking bored and weary, and let their faces come alive and be more beautiful than any virtual reality.

If you give life, someone will be there to receive it. As a young woman once said: “Get off your couch when you see something beautiful, and try and do something similar”.

Dear young people,

What are your passions and dreams? Give them free rein and, through them, offer the world, the Church and other young people something beautiful, whether in the realm of the spirit, the arts or society. I repeat what I once told you inPopeMozambique my mother tongue: Hagan lío! Make your voices heard! I remember another young person who said: “If Jesus was someone who was only concerned about himself, the son of the widow would not have been raised”.

The resurrection of that young man restored him to his mother. In that woman, we can see an image of Mary, our Mother, to whom we entrust all the young people of our world. In her, we can also recognize the Church, who wants to welcome with tender love each young person, without exception.

So let us implore Mary’s intercession for the Church, that she may always be a mother for her dead children, weeping for them and asking that they be restored to life. In every one of her children who dies, the Church also dies, and in every one of her children who arises, the Church also arises.

I bless your journey. And I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me.

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