Pope Francis meets with young people at the Papp László Sport Arena in Budapest and encourages them to “aim high in life”, reminding them that no one can take their place in the history of the Church and the world.
“Invest in the great goals of life! Then, train through dialogue with Jesus, who is the best of coaches”. In the last public event of the second day of his Apostolic Journey to Hungary, Pope Francis encouraged youths to “aim high” in their lives, overcoming their fears and stepping forward, always dialoguing with Jesus, their best friend and brother.
The event, attended by some 12,000 people, was introduced by the greeting speech of the Hungarian lead bishop for Youth Ministry, Bishop Ferenc Palánki, and the testimonies of four youths: Bertalan, Dóra, two high-school students, Tódor, a young Greek-Catholic, and Krisztina, a university student.
Who dares wins
Taking his cue from the first testimony, Pope Francis reminded those gathered that “Jesus wants us to accomplish great things” in life and “never disparages our expectations”.
“Jesus doesn’t want us to be lazy “couch potatoes”; he doesn’t want us to be quiet and timid; instead, he wants us to be alive, active, ready to take charge. Jesus would agree with a proverb of yours, which I hope I pronounce well: Aki mer az nyer [Those who dare, win the prize].”
But how do we win in life?”, the Pope asked. “Just as in sports, there are two basic steps”. The first step, he said, is “to aim high”, putting our talents “to good use”, investing them “in the great goals of life”.
“We don’t achieve greatness by treading upon others, but by serving others!”
Dialoguing with Jesus
The second step is to train through dialogue with Jesus, “who is the best of coaches”. Indeed, said the Pope, “Jesus encourages you, believes in you” and “constantly invites you to be a team player, never alone but with others: in the Church, in the community, sharing your experiences with others”.
Another important element of this training, the Pope further remarked, is silence which was recalled in the testimony of Krisztina. In a world “bombarded with the message that we have to be fast, efficient and practically perfect, like machines”, said the Pope, “we have to learn how to stop and fill our tanks, to recharge our batteries”, without however, indulging “in moodiness or brood” over our troubles.
Silence, he remarked, “is not sitting glued to your cell phone, or on social media”, but rather “the soil on which we cultivate good relationships”. It “allows us to entrust to Jesus whatever we are feeling, (…), to share our difficulties, to remember our friends and to say a prayer for them”.
Silence is therefore, “the door to prayer”, which is a “dialogue with Jesus”, with whom we freely share our vulnerability “without hiding or disguising anything”.
“Prayer is not boring, it is an encounter with Christ”
The Lord wants authentic people
Indeed, “the Gospel tells us that the Lord does not do great things with exceptional people, but with ordinary people. Those who count on their own abilities and are anxious always to look good before others”, the Pope noted ,” keep God away from their hearts”.
“Jesus loves you the way you are”
Helping the world to live in peace by serving others
Pope Francis then reflected on the words of Tódor, a young Greek-Catholic, who in his testimony noted that the zeal for the mission “can be blunted by living in security and comfort”, while not far from us “war and suffering are daily realities”.
“This – the Pope commented – is the real challenge: to take control of our lives in order to help our world to live in peace”, by generously and selflessly serving others, “as Jesus taught us”.
Faith starts with giving
Faith, “starts with giving freely, with enthusiasm and generosity, overcoming our fears and stepping forward!”, insisted Pope Francis at the end of his discourse, recalling the miracle of the Multiplication of the five Loaves and two Fish recounted in John’s Gospel in which a young man shares the little bread and fish he has with Jesus to feed the multitude.
“We have to learn to leave things in the hands of Jesus.”
“Each of you is precious to Jesus, and also to me!”, the Pope concluded. “Remember that no one can take your place in the history of the Church and the world: no one can do what only you can do”.