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Christians are ever youthful

Tuesday, 28 May 2019



“You are either young at heart, of soul, or you are not fully Christian”: Pope Francis shared this reflection with the faithful in his homily on Tuesday, 28 May. Indeed the homily, inspired by the day’s Gospel reading (Jn 16:5-11) on Jesus’ parting from his Apostles, was a true ode to life, vitality and “the youthfulness of the Holy Spirit”. Although Jesus says many things on that occasion, “the heart of this discourse is the Holy Spirit”; it is truly a “catechesis on the Holy Spirit”. Christ, the Pope noted, sees the sadness and inner turmoil felt by the Apostles as they “begin to understand the tragedy of the Passion”.

But, he observed, Jesus gently scolds them for their sorrow. This tells us that “sadness does not enter the Christian heart” because Christians are young, with a youthfulness that renews itself and enables them “to bear on their shoulders many trials, many difficulties”, the Pope affirmed. The Holy Spirit — or “Paraclete”, as Jesus names him — accompanies us throughout life and supports us, the Holy Father explained. “The word ‘Paraclete’ means ‘the one who is beside me to support me’ so that I do not fall, so that I may go forward, so that I may preserve this youthfulness of the Holy Spirit”, he continued. And this explains why Christians are always youthful.

In order to achieve this youthfulness, it is necessary to engage in a “daily dialogue with the Holy Spirit who is always beside us”. Indeed, “we all know that sin ages you.... it ages your soul, it ages everything” the Pope said. “The Holy Spirit, instead, helps us to repent and set sin aside and to go forward with that youthfulness”.

The Holy Father urged the faithful to set aside “pagan sadness”: “I am not saying that life is a carnival... In life there are crosses; there are some difficult moments”, but, he stressed, “in these difficult moments one feels that the Holy Spirit is helping us”.

Pope Francis concluded with a call to prayer: “Let us ask the Lord that we not lose this renewed youthfulness, not be ‘retired’ Christians who have lost joyfulness and do not allow themselves to be led forward”. A true Christian “lives” because “he is youthful”, the Pope stressed.

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