Vatican City, 28 April 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father Francis has sent a video message to the young of Buenos Aires for National Youth Day. The message, in which the Pope speaks off the cuff, had been requested in advance by Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli, archbishop of Buenos Aires, and was rebroadcast on Saturday afternoon.
“While making this recording I was thinking of what they would say”, says the Pope in the video. “’What are you going?’, I have already said. ‘That they must not be afraid’: I have already told them’. ‘That they are free’: I have already said so. Then some of the young people in the Gospel came to mind. The young people who came across Jesus, or those he spoke about. … I thought about the young apostles, the young rich man, the prodigal son who seeks a new life with his father’s inheritance, the widow’s son, dead; … how they were moved by Jesus, filled with enthusiasm, with that wonder that comes from the encounter with Jesus. .. And some of the apostles faltered, some did not behave so well. … There is the struggle to be faithful to this encounter, the encounter with Jesus. … God is very good”, he continues. “God takes advantage of our failures to speak to our hearts. God doesn’t say, ‘You’re a failure, look what you have done’. He reasons with us”.
Pope Francis lists a number of examples of young men in the Gospel, and remarked that young women might complain, “’Father, you are unjust … your examples are all men. What about us?’ … You aspire in your lives to consolidate tenderness and fidelity. You are on the path of the women who followed Jesus, through thick and thin. Women have the great gift of being able to give life, of being able to give tenderness, of being able to give peace and joy. There is one model for you, Mary: the woman of fidelity, who did not understand what was happening to her but obeyed nonetheless; who, as soon as she knew her cousin needed her, ran to her, the Virgin of Readiness. Mary, who helped to raise her Son and to accompany Him, and followed Him when he began to preach; who suffered through all that happened to the boy as he grew. She who stayed by His side and told Him of problems: ‘Look, they have no wine’. She who, at the moment of the Cross, stayed next to Him. … You are women of the Church … who is female, like Mary. This is your place. Being Church, forming the Church, being with Jesus, with tenderness, to accompany the Church and help her grow”.
Pope Francis joked with the young women, with a cheerful tone and Argentine accent, “So don’t be angry, you got a better deal than the men!”, and he commended them to “Mary, Lady of the Caress, Lady of Tenderness, Lady of the Readiness to Serve”, who shows them the way. Addressing all the young people, he concluded, “May each one of you encounter Jesus, the Risen Jesus. And I say one thing to you: do not be afraid! Look at Jesus, look at Mary, and go forward!”.