Pope Exhorts the Young to Go "Against the Current"

Celebrates World Youth Day on Palm Sunday

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 4, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II made a Palm Sunday plea to youth to fearlessly go «against the current» in proclaiming the cross of Christ, the redeeming salvation for mankind.

Addressing some 30,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope began Holy Week by presiding over a long Eucharistic celebration. The occasion was also World Youth Day, celebrated this year at the diocesan level.

«Certainly the message that the cross communicates is not easy to understand in our time, in which material well-being and comfort are proposed and sought as priority values,» the Holy Father said in a clear voice.

"But you, dear young people, do not be afraid to proclaim in every circumstance the Gospel of the cross. Do not be afraid to go against the current!» he exhorted.

Today’s ceremony began with the procession of palms and olives on a sunny morning and continued with the full reading of the passion of Jesus.

The Pope dedicated his homily to explaining, especially to his young listeners, this central mystery of Christianity.

«Jesus died on the cross for each one of us,» he said. «The cross is, therefore, the greatest and most eloquent sign of his merciful love, the only sign of salvation for every generation and for the whole of humanity.»

The celebration also marked the 20 years since young people were entrusted with a cross in Rome — the birth of World Youth Days.

«Since then, the cross has continued to go across numerous countries, in preparation for World Youth Days,» the Pope said.

Last Thursday, in St. Peter’s Square, John Paul II again entrusted to young people the World Youth Day cross he gave them 20 years ago.

Today, in Berlin, that cross was passed on to the thousands of youths who gathered at the Brandenburg Gate and who heard the Pope’s words through a satellite hookup. The cross will be taken around Germany in preparation for the next international-level World Youth Day, in Cologne in August 2005.

«During its pilgrimage, it has gone across the continents,» the Holy Father said of the cross. «Like a torch passed from hand to hand, it has been taken from country to country; it has become the luminous sign of the trust that animates the young generations of the third millennium.»

At the end of the homily, the Holy Father repeated the message he gave 20 years ago: «To you I entrust the cross of Christ! Carry it in the world as the sign of the Lord Jesus’ love for humanity, and proclaim to all that only in Christ, dead and risen, is there salvation and redemption.»

Included in the Prayer of the Faithful was the intention for «the holy city of Jerusalem, that the Lord may grant her peace, lead Christians who live there to reconciliation, and make her a place of meeting and dialogue for believers in the one God.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation