VATICAN CITY, AUG. 26, 2004 (Zenit.org).- In his message for World Youth Day 2005, John Paul II presents to young people the beauty and attraction of Christ in face of the idols of a consumerist society.
Commenting on the theme of the meeting, “We have come to worship him,” the words of the Magi to Herod, the Pontiff calls on young people to give “pride of place” to God in their lives.
“Idolatry is an ever-present temptation. Sadly, there are those who seek the solution to their problems in religious practices that are incompatible with the Christian faith,” states the Bishop of Rome’s message.
“There is a strong urge to believe in the facile myths of success and power; it is dangerous to accept the fleeting ideas of the sacred which present God in the form of cosmic energy, or in any other manner that is inconsistent with Catholic teaching,” he continues.
“My dear young people, do not yield to false illusions and passing fads which so frequently leave behind a tragic spiritual vacuum!” the Pope warns.
“Reject the seduction of wealth, consumerism and the subtle violence sometimes used by the mass media,” he adds in the message.
“Worship Christ: He is the Rock on which to build your future and a world of greater justice and solidarity. Jesus is the prince of peace: the source of forgiveness and reconciliation, who can make brothers and sisters of all the members of the human family,” he continues.
“Listening to Christ and worshipping him leads us to make courageous choices, to take what are sometimes heroic decisions. Jesus is demanding, because he wishes our genuine happiness,” he emphasizes.
“He calls some to give up everything to follow him in the priestly or consecrated life. Those who hear this invitation must not be afraid to say ‘yes’ and to generously set about following him,” he stresses.
“But in addition to vocations to special forms of consecration there is also the specific vocation of all baptized Christians: that is also a vocation to that ‘high standard’ of ordinary Christian living which is expressed in holiness.”
“When we meet Christ and accept his Gospel, life changes and we are driven to communicate our experience to others,” the Pope concludes.
The Holy Father has invited all young people of the world to meet for World Youth Day in Cologne from Aug. 11-21, 2005, and has already said that he hopes to be there, his health permitting.
WYD preparatory meetings of young people from around the world will be held in German dioceses from Aug. 11-15, 2005.
The main celebrations will take place in the city of Cologne, with the participation of an expected 800,000 young people between the ages of 16-30; 600 Bishops; and 4,000 international journalists.
For additional information visit the official WYD website.