Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 12 August 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters, and Dear Italian Young People, Good morning!
In today’s second reading, Saint Paul addresses an urgent invitation to us: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30). But I ask myself: how does the Holy Spirit become saddened? We all received him in Baptism and in Confirmation. Thus, in order not to sadden the Holy Spirit, it is necessary to live in a manner consistent with the promises of Baptism that are renewed in Confirmation. In a consistent manner, not with hypocrisy. Do not forget this. Christians cannot be hypocrites. They must live in a consistent manner. The promises of Baptism have two aspects: rejecting evil and clinging to good.
Rejecting evil means saying ‘no’ to temptation, to sin, to Satan. More concretely, it means saying ‘no’ to a culture of death that manifests itself in escaping from reality towards a false happiness that is expressed in lies, deceit, injustice and in despising others. ‘No’ to all this. The new life given to us in Baptism has the Spirit as its wellspring and rejects any behaviour dominated by feelings of division and discord. This is why the Apostle Paul urges that “all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from your hearts, with all malice” (cf. v. 31). This is what Paul says. These six elements or vices which unsettle the joy of the Holy Spirit, poison the heart and lead to cursing God and our neighbours.
But, it is not enough to refrain from doing evil in order to be a good Christian. It is necessary to cling to good and to do good. And then Saint Paul continues: “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (v. 32). Often, we happen to hear someone say: “I do no harm to anyone”. And they think they are saints. All right, but do you do good? How many people do no evil but, at the same time, do no good, and their life goes by in indifference, apathy and tepidness. This attitude is contrary to the Gospel and it also goes against the temperament of you young people, who are by nature dynamic, passionate and brave. Remember this — if you remember it we can repeat it together: “It is good to do no evil, but it is evil to do no good”. Saint Alberto Hurtado used to say this.
Today, I urge you to be protagonists in good! Protagonists in good. Do not feel all is well when you refrain from doing evil. Everyone is guilty of not doing the good they could have done. It is not enough to refrain from hate. One must forgive. It is not enough to refrain from bearing grudges. One must pray for one’s enemies. It is not enough not to refrain from causing division. We must bring peace where there is none. It is not enough to refrain from speaking ill of others. We must interrupt when we hear others speak badly about someone: stopping the gossip: this is doing good. If we do not oppose evil, we feed it tacitly. It is necessary to intervene where evil spreads because evil spreads in the absence of audacious Christians who oppose it with good, walking in love (cf. 5:2), according to Saint Paul’s admonition.
Dear young people, you have walked a lot in these days! Therefore you are in good shape and I can tell you: walk in charity, walk in love! And let us walk together toward the upcoming Synod of Bishops. May the Virgin Mary sustain us with her maternal intercession so that, every day, each of us may say ‘no’ to evil and ‘yes’ to good, through our actions.
After the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father added:
Dear brothers and sisters, I greet all of you, people of Rome and pilgrims from around the world.
In particular, I greet the young people from the dioceses of Italy, accompanied by their bishops, their priests and teachers. In the last few days, you have poured out your enthusiasm and your faith into the streets of Rome. Thank you for your presence and for your Christian witness! And yesterday, in thanking you, I forgot to say something to the priests who are the ones who are closest to you. I thank the priests very much. I thank them for the work they do day by day, for that patience — because it does require patience to work with you! The patience of priests ... thank you so very, very much. And I have also seen many sisters working with you: also many thanks to the sisters.
And my gratitude also extends to the Italian Episcopal Conference — represented here by Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti — who promoted this encounter with young people in view of the upcoming Synod of Bishops.
Dear young people, as you return to your communities, may you bear witness — to your peers and to those you will meet — to the joy of the fraternity and communion that you have experienced during these days of pilgrimage and prayer.
I wish everyone a happy Sunday. Have a safe journey home. And please do not forget to pray for me! Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci!
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