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Dear Friends,
Pope Francis’ homily at the Prayer Vigil for World Youth Day concludes below.
“My friends, Jesus is the Lord of risk. He is the Lord of the eternal ‘more.’ Jesus is not the Lord of comfort, security, ease. Following Jesus demands a good dose of courage, a readiness to trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes and to set out on new and uncharted paths. To blaze trails that open up new horizons capable of spreading joy, the joy that is born of God’s love and wells up in your hearts with every act of mercy.

To take the path of the ‘craziness’ of our God, Who teaches us to encounter Him in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the friend in trouble, the prisoner, the refugee and the migrant, and our neighbors who feel abandoned. To take the path of our God, Who encourages us to be politicians, thinkers, social activists. The God who encourages us to devise an economy marked by greater solidarity than our own. In all the settings in which we find ourselves, God’s love invites you to bring the Good News, making of your own lives a gift to Him and to others. This means being courageous, this means being free.”
“You might say to me: ‘Father, that is not for everybody, but just for a chosen few.’ True, and those chosen are all who are ready to share their lives with others. Just as the Holy Spirit transformed the hearts of the disciples on the day of Pentecost, and they were paralyzed, so He did with our friends who shared their testimonies. I will use your own words, Miguel. You told us that in the ‘Fazenda’ on the day they entrusted you with the responsibility of helping make the house run better, you began to understand that God was asking something of you. This is when things began to change.”

“This is the secret, dear friends, and all of us are called to share in it. God expects something from you. Have you understood this? God expects something from you, God wants something from you. God hopes in you. God comes to break down all our fences. He comes to open the doors of our lives, our dreams, our ways of seeing things. God comes to break open everything that keeps you closed in. He is encouraging you to dream. He wants to make you see that, with you, the world can be different. For the fact is, unless you offer the best of yourselves, the world will never be different. This is the challenge.”

“The times we live in do not call for young ‘couch potatoes,’ but for young people with shoes, or better, boots laced. The times we live in require only active players on the field, and there is no room for those who sit on the bench. Today’s world demands that you be a protagonist of history because life is always beautiful when we choose to live it fully, when we choose to leave a mark. History today calls us to defend our dignity and not to let others decide our future. No! We must decide our future; you must decide your future! As He did on Pentecost, the Lord wants to work one of the greatest miracles we can experience; He wants to turn your hands, my hands, our hands, into signs of reconciliation, of communion, of creation. He wants your hands to continue building the world of today. And He wants to build that world with you. And what is your response? Yes or no? A chorus of “Yes” rose from the field.
“You might say to me: ‘Father, but I have my limits, I am a sinner, what can I do’? When the Lord calls us, He doesn’t worry about what we are, what we have been, or what we have done or not done. Quite the opposite. When He calls us, He is thinking about everything we have to give, all the love we are capable of spreading. His bets are on the future, on tomorrow. Jesus is pointing you to the future, and never to the museum.”

So today, my friends, Jesus is inviting you, calling you, to leave your mark on life, to leave a mark on history, your own and that of many others as well. Life nowadays tells us that it is much easier to concentrate on what divides us, what keeps us apart. People try to make us believe that being closed in on ourselves is the best way to keep safe from harm. Today, we adults need you to teach us, as you are doing today, how to live in diversity, in dialogue, to experience multiculturalism not as a threat but as an opportunity. You are an opportunity for the future. Have the courage to teach us, have the courage to show us that it is easier to build bridges than walls! We need to learn this. Together we ask that you challenge us to take the path of fraternity. May you accuse us, if we choose the path of walls, the path of enmity, the path of war. To build bridges … Do you know the first bridge that has to be built? It is a bridge that we can build here and now - by reaching out and taking each other’s hand. Come on, build it now. Build this human bridge; take each other’s hand, all of you: it is the first of bridges, it is the human bridge, it is the first, it is the model. There is always a risk, as I said the other day, of offering your hand but no one taking it. But in life we need to take a risk, for the person who does not take a risk never wins. With this bridge we can move forward. Here, this is the primordial bridge: take each other’s hand.”

When all the young people present joined hands, the Pope exclaimed, “Thank you. This is a great bridge of brotherhood, and would that the powers of this world might learn to build it…not for pictures and ulterior motives, but for building ever bigger bridges. May this human bridge be the beginning of many, many others; in that way it will leave a mark.”

“Today Jesus, Who is the way, the truth and the life, is calling you, you, and you to leave your mark on history. He, Who is life, is asking each of you to leave a mark that brings life to your own history and that of many others. He, Who is truth, is asking you to abandon the paths of rejection, division and emptiness. Are you up to this? ‘Yes!’ cried the crowd. “What answer will you give, and I’d like to see it, with your hands and your feet, to the Lord, Who is the way, the truth and the life? Are you up to this?” Following the answer ‘yes’ from the one and a half million people in attendance, the Pope concluded, “May the Lord bless your dreams. Thank you!”
Pope Francis

God Bless,
Fr. Ron

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Weekend Liturgies
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday
8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,
11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m.,
3 p.m. (Spanish), 6:30 p.m.
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and 12 noon
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. only
Holy Days
Eve: 7:30pm (anticipated)
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