HOLY MASS FOR A GROUP OF YOUNG PEOPLE
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Castel Gandolfo, 15 July 1979
1. We listened with deep veneration to the words which the liturgy of the Church dedicates to this Sunday. Now, it is necessary to stop for a little and accept these words, that is, adapt them to the hearts of listeners. Adapt them to our lives. Here are some thoughts along these lines.
2. In the first place: who are we all, members of this assembly, listeners to the Word of God and, shortly, participants in the Body and Blood of the Lord?
The question: "Who am I?" conditions all other questions and all the answers concerning the subject "What must I do?".
Today, in the letter to the Ephesians, St Paul replies to this first and fundamental question. He replies: we are chosen by God in Christ Jesus.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved" (Eph 1:3-6).
This is the answer that St Paul gives us today to the question "Who am I?", and he develops it in the other words of the same text of the letter to the Ephesians.
Here is the further stage of this answer:
We are redeemed; we are brimming over with the forgiveness of sins and grace; we are called to union with Christ and, consequently, to unify everyone in Christ.
And this is not yet the end of this answer of St Paul.
We are called to exist for the glory of Divine Majesty; we participate in the word of truth; in the Gospel of salvation; we are marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit; we are participants in the inheritance, while waiting for complete redemption, which will make us the property of God.
3. This is St Paul's answer to our question. It gives us a lot to think about.
Forgive me if I confine myself to making a few references.
The words of the letter to the Ephesians cannot stop ringing out after one reading, after listening to them only once. They must remain with us. They must continue with us. These are words in keeping with the whole of life. In keeping with eternity.
It would be a good thing if they could continue together with each of you during these weeks and months of summer rest. In whatever direction you turn: whether to some temporary commitment . . . , or to apostolic work . . . or perhaps, as you have already done more than once, to the pilgrimage from Warsaw to Jasna Gora. . . Let these words go with you. The answer to the question "Who am I?", "Who are we?".
May they mould and form your personality, inserted as we are, in the same root, in the dimension of the mystery, which Christ has imprinted on the life of each of us.
The sacrifice in which we participate, holy Mass, also gives us every time the answer to the fundamental question "Who are we?".
4. What must we do?
The answer to this second question does not emerge, perhaps, from today's liturgy of the Divine Word, with the same forcefulness as the answer to the question "Who are we?". But it, too, is strong and firm. God says to Amos: "Go, prophesy to my people! (Amos 7:15).
Christ calls the Twelve and begins to send them out two by two (Mk 6:7). And he bids them enter individual houses and thus bear witness. The Second Vatican Council recalled that all Christians, not only ecclesiastics, but also laity, have their part in Christ's prophetic mission. There is no doubt about "what we must do."
5. The question How are we to do it? still remains, however, a topical one at present.
I am glad that you are looking for an answer to this question, both individually and together with the whole of your Community. He who looks for this answer, finds it in due time.
The responsorial Psalm of today reassures us that "Mercy and truth will meet...".
"Truth will spring from the earth."
Yes, truth must spring from each of us; from each heart.
Be faithful to truth.
Faithful to your vocation.
Faithful to your commitment.
Faithful to your choice.
Be faithful to Christ, who liberates and unites (communion and liberation).
6. Finally, a fervent wish for each of you and for all.
Like a ray of sunshine from today's liturgy, may the God of Our Lord Jesus Christ penetrate our hearts with his light to make us understand what the hope of our vocation is (cf. Eph. 1:17-18).
May this wish come true through the intercession of Our Lady, before whom we have meditated on the Divine Word of today's liturgy, in order to be able to continue to carry out the eucharistic sacrifice.
© Copyright 1979 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana