Pope encourages young people to be the critical conscience of society

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis told young people that with Jesus, people can find the courage to swim against the tide, to be free and genuine, and to stand up for their dreams and ideals of truth, love , justice and peace.

“Be the critical conscience of society. Don’t be afraid to criticize. We need your criticism,” he said, citing for example the disapproval of many young people about the destruction of the environment. “Be passionate about the truth, so that with your dreams you can say, ‘My life is not captive to the mentality of the world. I am free, for I reign with Jesus for righteousness, love and justice. peace !’ “

Celebrating the feast of Christ the King in Saint Peter’s Basilica on November 21, the Pope addressed a large part of his homily to the young people of the world. It was the first year that dioceses around the world celebrated World Youth Day locally on the Feast of Christ the King rather than Palm Sunday. Pope Francis announced the change last year.

As the church begins its journey towards the next intercontinental celebration of World Youth Day in Lisbon in 2023, the Pope asked young people to reflect on the image of the Gospel reading of Jesus’ Day standing in front of Pontius Pilate and declaring, “I am a king.”

“We are struck by Jesus’ determination, his courage, his supreme freedom,” said the Pope, because he could have tried to defend himself or to make compromises to avoid being condemned to death.

Instead, Jesus did not hide his identity and he took responsibility for his own life and his mission to bear witness to the truth, he said.

Jesus came without duplicity to show that his kingdom is different from the kingdoms of the world, ”said the Pope. “God does not reign to increase his power and to crush others; he does not rule by force of arms. His is the kingdom of love, “a kingdom of people who lay down their lives for the salvation of others.

Pope Francis encouraged young people to let the freedom of Jesus “resonate in us, challenge us, awaken in us the courage born of the truth”. He encouraged everyone to seek and face the truth about themselves: what they are ashamed of, the ways in which they can be deceitful or duplicative, and the ways in which they displease God.

“It is good to stand before Jesus, who is the truth, in order to be free from our illusions,” to see life as it really is, “and not to be fooled by the fashions of the moment and consumer manifestations that dazzle but also sleepy, ”he said.

Pope Francis urged young people not to be “enchanted by the sirens of the world, but to take our lives in hand, to” bite into life “, in order to live it fully!

With the freedom of Jesus “we find the courage we need to swim against the tide,” which is “not the daily temptation to swim against other people, like these perpetual victims and conspiracy theorists who always blame others, ”he said. . It goes against the “unhealthy stream of our own egoism, closed-mindedness and rigidity that often seek out like-minded groups to survive.”

We swim against the tide “to become more like Jesus. Because he only teaches us to face evil with the gentle and humble force of good. Without shortcuts, without deception, without duplicity,” declared the Pope.

“Our world, beset by so many evils, no longer needs ambiguous compromises, people who come and go like the tide – wherever the wind blows them, wherever their interests take them – or who turn right or left, whichever is more convenient, those who “sit on the fence,” he said.

“You have been given an exciting but also challenging task: to stand up straight when everything seems to be crumbling around us; to be sentries prepared to see the light in night visions; to be builders in the midst of ruins; to be able to dream, ”the Pope told the young people.

He thanked them for working courageously “to make your dreams come true”, to make the world more beautiful, more human and more fraternal, to heal the wounds of God’s creation, to protect the dignity of the vulnerable and to spread the word. spirit of solidarity and sharing.

“Thank you first of all, because in a world which only thinks of present gain, which tends to stifle great ideals, you have not lost the ability to dream! It helps us adults and the church also, “who also needs to dream and be filled with a youthful enthusiasm to be witnesses of the God who is always young,” he said.

During his address from the Angelus to the visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope was joined by two young people from the diocese of Rome.

In his greetings after the midday prayer, he said he hoped that all young people around the world could feel part of the church and active protagonists of its mission.

“And don’t forget that to rule is to serve,” he said.

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