Here is a translation of the Message read yesterday evening, August 1, which the Holy Father Francis sent to young people gathered in Medjugorje, on the occasion of their annual meeting, and delivered to the Apostolic Nuncio in Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Monsignor Luigi Pezzuto.
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The Holy Father’s Message
The annual meeting of young people in Medjugorje is a time rich in prayer, catechesis, and fraternity. It offers you all the possibility to encounter Jesus Christ alive, especially in the Eucharist, celebrated and adored, and in Reconciliation. And thus it helps you to discover another way of living, which is different from the one offered by the culture of the provisional, according to which nothing can be definitive but the only thing that counts is to enjoy the present. In this atmosphere of relativism, in which it is difficult to find true and certain answers, the guiding words of the Festival: “Come and See” (John 1:39), which Jesus addressed to the disciples, are a blessing. Jesus turns His gaze also to you and invites you to go and be with Him.
Do not be afraid! Christ lives and He wants each one of you to live. He is the true beauty and youth of this world. Everything He touches becomes young, becomes new, is filled with life and meaning (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit, 1). We see it in fact in that evangelical scene when the Lord asks the two disciples to follow Him: “What do you seek?” And they responded: “Rabbi, where are you staying?” And Jesus says: “Come and see” (John 1:35-39). And they go, see and stay. In the memory of those disciples, the experience of the encounter with Jesus remained so impressed that one of them even registered the hour: “It was about 4 o’clock in the afternoon” (v. 39). The Gospel narrates that, after being in the Lord’s house, the two disciples became “mediators” which enabled others to meet Him, to know Him, and to follow Him. Andrew went immediately to tell his brother Simon and led him to Jesus. When the Master saw Simon, He gave him immediately a nickname: “Cephas,” that is, “Rock,” which would become the name Peter (cf. John 1:40-42). This makes it seen that by encountering Jesus one becomes a new person, one receives the mission to transmit this experience to others, but always keeping one’s gaze fixed on Him, the Lord.
Dearest young people, you have encountered this gaze of Jesus who asks you: “What do you seek?” You have heard His voice that says to you: “Come and see.” Have you have felt that impulse to set off? Take the time to stay with Jesus, to be filled with His Spirit, and be ready for the fascinating adventure of life. Go to encounter Him; be with Him in prayer, entrust yourselves to Him who is an expert of the human heart.
This most beautiful invitation of the Lord: “Come and see,” recounted by the young and beloved disciple of Christ is addressed also to the future disciples. Jesus invites you to encounter Him and this Festival becomes an occasion to be able to “come and see.” The word “come,” in addition to indicating a physical movement, has a more profound, spiritual meaning. It indicates an itinerary of faith whose object is to “see,” namely, to experience the Lord and, thanks to Him, to see the full and definitive meaning of our existence.
The Virgin Mary is ever the Church’s great model of a young heart, ready to follow Christ with freshness and docility. The strength of Her “Yes” and of that “let is be done unto me” that She says o the Angel always strikes us. Her “yes” means to be involved and to risk with no other guarantee than the certainty to be the bearer of a promise. Her “behold the handmaid of the Lord” (Luke 1:38), is the most beautiful example, which tells us what happens when man, in his freedom, abandons himself in God’s hands. May this example fascinate and guide you! Mary is the waking Mother who watches “over us her children who walk in life often tired, needy, but with the desire that the light of hope not be extinguished. This is what we want: that the light of hope not be extinguished. Our Mother looks at these pilgrim people, young people that love Her, that seek Her, being silent in their heart despite the fact that along the way there is so much noise, conversations, and distractions” (Christus Vivit, 48).
Dear young people, “run attracted by that much-loved Face, which we adore in the Holy Eucharist and recognize in the flesh of a suffering brother. May the Holy Spirit drive you on this course henceforth The Church needs your impetus, your intuitions, your faith” (Ibid., 299). In your race for the Gospel animated also by this Festival, I entrust you all to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, invoking the light and blessing of the Spirit, so that you are able to be true witnesses of Christ. I pray for this and I bless you and I ask you too to pray or me.
Rome, Saint John Lateran, June 29, 2020
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester