Papal Words at World Youth Day, Personal Reflections


One of the things that most struck me about Pope Francis’ homily during the closing Mass at World Youth Day was his call for young people to live and share the faith with others. He said, “Faith is a flame that grows stronger the more it is shared and passed on…”


He told the massive crowd of young people gathered on the beach of Copacabana, “Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent.”  It’s a difficult mission, but it is one that he must have thought the youth of the nation could carry out.  I am thinking of my own life, and know that the idea of evangelization is quite a scary one.  How can I evangelize? 


There was something else that the pope said that helped me to understand how everyone can evangelize. He said, “The opening words of the psalm that we proclaimed are: “Sing to the Lord a new song” (Psalm 95:1).  What is this new song?  It does not consist of words, it is not a melody, it is the song of your life, it is allowing our life to be identified with that of Jesus, it is sharing his sentiments, his thoughts, his actions.”  That is something that makes the thought of evangelization not as scary.  If we live our lives with God in every part of our life—our thoughts, our actions, our words, then it will be easier to evangelize because in a way our own example will be a sort of evangelization. 


The pope really caught my attention when he quoted St. Paul, who is a personal favorite of mine, who said, “I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more” (1 Corinthians 9:19). The pope said, “Evangelizing means bearing personal witness to the love of God, it is overcoming selfishness, it is serving by bending down to wash the feet of our brethren, as Jesus did.”  It’s a good way to live, and it is something that I hope to strive toward as I go further along on my faith journey.


At the end of the pope’s homily, I had to ask myself, right now, am I being an example of Christ to others by how I live?  Do I put Jesus first in all my thoughts and actions?  The honest answer is, no.  But that leaves plenty of room for improvement. 


What did you think of the pope’s words? 


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