Pope to Youth at WYD Mass: ÔÇ£You are the Now of GodÔÇØ

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass for the 34th World Youth Day in Panama, announces the next WYD venue, and tells young people to keep saying ÔÇ£YesÔÇØ.

The secret is out: everyone knows that the next World Youth Day will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2022. The announcement was made at the end of the closing WYD Mass which Pope Francis celebrated in Panama CityÔÇÖs Metro Park on Sunday morning before 700,000 people.

ÔÇ£With Mary, keep saying ÔÇ£yesÔÇØ to the dream that God has sown in youÔÇØ, he told them. But the PopeÔÇÖs concluding message to the hundreds of thousands of World Youth Day participants and pilgrims from all over the world can be summarized in one word: ÔÇ£NowÔÇØ.

Not today but Now

ÔÇ£Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearingÔÇØ. Taking his cue from the Gospel of Luke, the Pope interpreted that ÔÇ£todayÔÇØ as ÔÇ£nowÔÇØ. ÔÇ£JesusÔÇØ, he began, ÔÇ£reveals the now of GodÔÇØ. ÔÇ£In Jesus, the promised future begins and becomes lifeÔÇØ. Unfortunately, continued the Pope, ÔÇ£we do not always believe that God can be that concrete and commonplace, that close and realÔÇØ. Because ÔÇ£a close and everyday God, a friend and brother, demands that we be concerned with our surroundingsÔÇØ. ÔÇ£God is real because love is realÔÇØ, he said.

Not tomorrow but Now

The Pope described the danger of living in ÔÇ£a kind of waiting room, sitting around until we are calledÔÇØ. Both adults and young people risk thinking ÔÇ£your Now has not yet comeÔÇØ, he said, ÔÇ£that you are too young to be involved in dreaming about and working for the futureÔÇØ. Pope Francis referenced last yearÔÇÖs Synod of Bishops on Youth, saying it helped us realize that ÔÇ£we need one anotherÔÇØ, that we have to ÔÇ£encourage dreaming of and working for tomorrow, starting todayÔÇØ. ÔÇ£Not tomorrow but nowÔÇØ, he said. ÔÇ£Realize that you have a mission and fall in loveÔÇØ, said the Pope. ÔÇ£We may possess everything, but if we lack the passion of love, we will have nothingÔÇØ.

Not meantime but Now

For Jesus there is no ÔÇ£meantimeÔÇØ, Pope Francis continued. ÔÇ£He is not an interval in life or a passing fad. He is generous love that invites us to entrust ourselvesÔÇØ. The Pope invited all young people not to be ÔÇ£paralyzedÔÇØ by ÔÇ£fear and exclusion, speculation and manipulationÔÇØ. But rather, to recognise the ÔÇ£concrete, close, real loveÔÇØ of Jesus. The Lord and His mission are not ÔÇ£something temporaryÔÇØ, said Pope Francis, ÔÇ£they are our lifeÔÇØ.

The Now of God

At the conclusion of Mass, the Pope thanked all those who have contributed to making this ÔÇ£World Youth Day dream come trueÔÇØ in Panama. But his last words were for the young people themselves: ÔÇ£We are on a journeyÔÇØ, he reminded them. ÔÇ£Keep walking, keep living the faith and sharing itÔÇØ. And do not forget, said Pope Francis, that ÔÇ£you are not the tomorrow, you are not the ÔÇÿmeantimeÔÇÖ, you are the Now of GodÔÇØ.

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