Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Self-Gift In Toronto

Even during his last years on earth, when he suffered through illness and old age, Blessed John Paul II continued to give himself. Although travelling takes much energy and mobility, the late Holy Father continued to make his rounds throughout the globe, visiting his people and showing them his love.

One trip he didn’t miss was his pilgrimage to Canada for the 17th World Youth Day. Here, through his witness and through his words, he encouraged young people to embrace their own character of giftedness and to live lives of service to God and to the world.

In his main homily, Blessed John Paul II said:

The world you are inheriting is a world which desperately needs a new sense of brotherhood and human solidarity. It is a world which needs to be touched and healed by the beauty and richness of God's love. It needs witnesses to that loveThe world needs salt. It needs you - to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. 

Salt seasons and improves the flavor of food. Following Jesus, you have to change and improve the "taste" of human history. With your faith, hope and love, with your intelligence, courage and perseverance, you have to humanize the world we live in, in the way that today's Reading from Isaiah indicates: "loose the bonds of injustice ... share your bread with the hungry ... remove the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil.... Then your light shall rise in the darkness" (Is 58, 6-10). 

The late Holy Father sheds light on the gifts that each of these young people possesses, and speaks of the necessity of their sharing these gifts with the world in order to make it more human. It is in sharing our gifts that we can add good taste and good flavor to human history, Blessed John Paul II says. 

Reflecting on a song that was sung multiple times throughout the World Youth Day celebration, the Pope said:
            How beautiful the song that we have been hearing during these days:

"Light of the world! Salt of the earth!
Be for the world the face of love!
Be for the earth the reflection of his light!"

That is the most beautiful and precious gift that you can give to the Church and the                     world. 

Just as Blessed John Paul II challenged young people to be the “face of love” and the “reflection of the Lord’s light” for the world, so should we give these gifts to the world. Our beloved Holy Father, particularly through his witness during the final years of his papacy, was a model of this loving self-gift. As we countdown to his canonization, let us pray for the grace to imitate him, especially during our Lenten journeys. 

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