Pope Francis has urged Argentina’s young people to “be the Church” and to trust in God’s mercy.
He posed this question in a video message that was broadcasted in Buenos Aires for National Youth Day on Saturday.
Like he did during his Palm Sunday address, Francis again asked his audience which biblical characters they represented.
“Who are you?” – the Argentinian Pontiff asked the young men and women gathered at the planetarium in the capital’s Palermo district. He gave three options.
Asking them if they resemble the Apostles, he questioned if they similarly were enthusiastic fans of Jesus, initially, but then were too attached to worldly things to truly follow him.
Second, he asked if they were like the prodigal son, who – after having wasted his father’s inheritance – came back to feel his father’s embrace of mercy.
Last, he asked, “[Are you] dead like the widow’s son?”
“If you are dead” said the Pope, “know that Mother Church is crying for you” like the widow and that “Jesus Christ can bring you back to life.”
He stressed God’s mercy and trusting in God’s forgiveness repeatedly, giving examples: “The Apostles faltered, Peter denied him, Judas betrayed him.” Francis noted that it is in these moments “in the midst of our sin” that we “can truly encounter the Lord.”
Speaking to the young women present, Francis said: “You are on the path of those women who followed Jesus, through thick and thin.” He said women “have this great treasure to give life, to be able to give tenderness, peace and joy” that men “don’t have.”
“You are women of the Church. The Church is female, it is like Mary.” He concluded, “This is your place. Being the Church, forming the Church, being with Jesus, with tenderness, to accompany the Church and help it grow.” (D.C.L.)