By Devin Watkins
“How many of you read the Gospel for two minutes every day?” That was the question and invitation Pope Francis posed to the young people of Argentina.
The Holy Father sent a fifteen-minute video message to the participants in the II National Youth Meeting taking place in Rosario on May 25th to 27th.
He invited them to carry a small book of the Gospels with them and to read it when they’re on the bus or sitting at home. It will change their lives, he said. “Why? Because you will encounter Jesus. You are encountering the Word.”
Pope Francis also reflected on the importance of presence, communion, and mission in the life of a young person.
Presence: ‘Jesus is with us’
Reflecting on presence, he said Jesus is always with us. “Jesus made himself our brother, and he invites us to make ourselves incarnate, building together that beautiful ideal of a civilization of love, as his disciples and missionaries in the here-and-now.”
He said this can be done in the situations that daily life presents us. But, he said, we must be with Jesus “in prayer, in the Word, and the Sacraments. Dedicate time to him. Be silent so that you may hear his voice.”
Communion: ‘Walk as people of God’
Turning to the second word – communion – Pope Francis said history is made by a people, not ideologues. “We are a community; we are Church.”
“The people of God is the Church, which includes all people of goodwill, young people, the elderly, infirm, healthy, and sinners, which all of us are!... Walk as a people.”
The Holy Father also mentioned the upcoming Synod of Bishops on Young People, saying the Church is living through “a special time”. He invited Argentina’s young people to participate wholeheartedly. “The Pope wants to listen to you. The Pope wants to dialogue and seek out together new paths of encounter to renew our faith and revitalize our evangelizing mission.”
Mission: ‘Reach out as a Church’
Pope Francis went on to speak about the universal call to mission.
“We are called to be a Church reaching out in mission: A missionary Church; not shuttered up in our comfortable lifestyle and outlooks, but one which goes out to meet the other.”
Jesus, the Pope said, “convokes, sends, and accompanies us as we draw near to all the men and women of our age.”
Build future based on past roots
Finally, Pope Francis told young people that they are the future and that they must be “a solid, fertile future, one which has deep roots.”
“Return to your roots,” he told them, “and build your future out of the roots from which you draw your lifeblood: Do not deny the history of your homeland, your family, or your grandparents.
Seek out your roots; find your past. And from there, build your future.”