Who do you say that I am?
Who do you say that I am?
After a long night spent in the open, camped out in sleeping bags and improvised tents, the young people were awakened this morning by the singing of Lauds.
Still sleepy, but calmly, they arranged their belongings so as to make space for the other pilgrims who were arriving for the Eucharistic Celebration. The Pope arrived, and greeted the young people addressing an affectionate good morning to them.
During the homily Benedict XVI commented on the words of the Gospel:
“And you, who do you say that I am?”, he said: “We, on our part, aware of the greatness of His love, want to correspond with all generosity to this sign of predilection with the intention of sharing also with others the joy we have received. Certainly, there are many who actually feel attracted to the figure of Christ and want to get to know Him better. They perceive that He is the response to many of their personal concerns. But who is He, really? How is it possible that someone who lived on earth so many years ago has anything to do with me, today? But what do the young people tell of Jesus, what do they know and what do they transmit? My dear young people”, continued the Pope, “even today Christ asks you the same question that He asked the apostles: ‘But you, who do you, say that I am?’ “Answer Him with the generosity and daring that corresponds to young hearts like yours. Tell Him: ‘Jesus, I know that you are the Son of God who gave your life for me. I want to follow you with fidelity , allowing myself to be guided by your word. You know me and you love me. I entrust myself to you and place my whole life in your hands. I want You to be the strength that supports me; the joy that will never abandon me.’”
Pope Benedict XVI seemed to respond to the doubts that many young people manifested during their conversations when they said that loving Christ means loving the Church, because no one can be saved on their own.
Once again, he addressed the young people calling them “dear”: “Dear young people allow me, as the successor of Peter, to invite you to strengthen this faith transmitted by the Apostles to place Christ, the Son of God, at the center of your life. The world needs the witness of your faith, and it certainly needs God. I think that your presence here, young people from the five continents, is a marvelous proof of the fruitfulness of Christ’s mandate to the Church: ‘Go out to all the world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature’ (Mk 16, 15). You, too, have the extraordinary task of being disciples and missionaries of Christ in other lands and countries where there are multitudes of young people who aspire to great things, and perceiving in their hearts the possibility of the most authentic values, do not allow themselves to be seduced by the false promises of a life without God”.
To further emphasize once again the importance of being witnesses and disciples, the Pope blessed and entrusted the crucifix to 5 young people representing the 5 continents, the same crucifix that every young person found in their knapsacks.
Before the final blessing, the Pope gave the task to those present of telling of the WYD to their friends, and especially of transmitting his affection to those who are most suffering and to their families.
Immediately following this, he announced that the next WYD would be in Brazil, and after having received the cross from the young people of Spain, he entrusted it to young Brazilians who were already celebrating.
A phrase echoed and re-echoed and was repeated by the Pope during these days and by the young people present: “Do not be afraid to be Christians and to witness to your faith”. This was also the mandate to all present.