Read the Pope’s World Youth Day 2011 Homily

FINAL MASS

WORDS OF THE HOLY FATHER
AT THE BEGINNING OF THE EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION

Cuatro Vientos Air Base, Madrid
Sunday, 21 August 2011

Dear Young Friends:

I have been thinking a lot about you during this time in which we have been separated.  I hope you have been able to get some sleep in spite of the weather.  I am sure that since dawn you have raised up your eyes more than once, and not only your eyes but above all your hearts, turning this occasion into prayer.  God turns all things into good.  With this confidence and trusting in the Lord who never abandons us, let us begin our Eucharistic celebration, full of enthusiasm and strong in our faith.

***

HOMILY

 Dear Young People,

In this celebration of the Eucharist we have reached the high point of this World Youth Day.  Seeing you here, gathered in such great numbers from all parts of the world, fills my heart with joy.  I think of the special love with which Jesus is looking upon you.  Yes, the Lord loves you and calls you his friends (cf. Jn 15:15).  He goes out to meet you and he wants to accompany you on your journey, to open the door to a life of fulfilment and to give you a share in his own closeness to the Father.  For our part, we have come to know the immensity of his love and we want to respond generously to his love by sharing with others the joy we have received.  Certainly, there are many people today who feel attracted by the figure of Christ and want to know him better.  They realize that he is the answer to so many of our deepest concerns.  But who is he really?  How can someone who lived on this earth so long ago have anything in common with me today?

The Gospel we have just heard (cf. Mt 16:13-20) suggests two different ways of knowing Christ.  The first is an impersonal knowledge, one based on current opinion.  When Jesus asks: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”, the disciples answer: “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets”.  In other words, Christ is seen as yet another religious figure, like those who came before him.  Then Jesus turns to the disciples and asks them: “But who do you say that I am?”  Peter responds with what is the first confession of faith: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”.  Faith is more than just empirical or historical facts; it is an ability to grasp the mystery of Christ’s person in all its depth.

Yet faith is not the result of human effort, of human reasoning, but rather a gift of God: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah!  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven”.  Faith starts with God, who opens his heart to us and invites us to share in his own divine life.  Faith does not simply provide information about who Christ is; rather, it entails a personal relationship with Christ, a surrender of our whole person, with all our understanding, will and feelings, to God’s self-revelation.  So Jesus’ question: “But who do you say that I am?”, is ultimately a challenge to the disciples to make a personal decision in his regard.  Faith in Christ and discipleship are strictly interconnected.

And, since faith involves following the Master, it must become constantly stronger, deeper and more mature, to the extent that it leads to a closer and more intense relationship with Jesus.   Peter and the other disciples also had to grow in this way, until their encounter with the Risen Lord opened their eyes to the fullness of faith.

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The real story of World Youth Day

Let us take our eyes away from the news for a moment, in order to look at the news. That is to say, let us ignore for a moment how it is being reported, and look instead at what is happening.

A very large public Mass is taking place, today, in Madrid, the capital of a once very great, and once very Catholic country. It is held outdoors, because there is no building in the world that can accommodate (way) more than a million people.

This Mass is to be sung by a gentleman who is in his 85th year. There are few progressive intellectuals (including nominal Catholics) who will not assure us that he is totally out of touch with our times.

According to official estimates, some 1,500,000 young persons – most, I should think, of the Roman persuasion – had checked into the Madrid area at the outset of “World Youth Day.” If you have ever been to a hockey game in Ottawa, you may know what roughly 20,000 people looks like. Assuming, of course, a full house. Now multiply that by 75 to get some idea. Then add those who did not need to find a bed, in the Madrid area.

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Australian Catholics: Spain will greatly benefit from WYD in many unexpected ways.

Madrid, Spain, Aug 16, 2011 / 08:18 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Catholic Church in Spain will benefit greatly from this week’s World Youth Day – and in ways that can’t be imagined yet, say Australian Catholics who hosted the 2008 gathering in Sydney.

“God works in many and mysterious ways – but God is at work,” said Cardinal George Pell of Syndey, after attending a rally of over 4,000 Australian pilgrims in Madrid on August 16.

“One of things we’ve learned in Sydney is that so many spontaneous growths and activities have sprung up themselves since World Youth Day. We haven’t really organized them, but when you plant seeds in the hearts of people they germinate and flower in very different ways,” he told CNA.

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Pilgrim’s Update: World Youth Day 2011

Greetings from Madrid, Spain! We have had a wonderful trip so far.

We spent our first two days in Fatima, Portugal. What a beautiful, peaceful place! There was just a wonderful presence there as pilgrims from all over the world came together in candlelight vigils, prayer, Mass, and processions. Our last night there we celebrated a candlelight vigil with about 40,000 pilgrims. We could feel the Lord’s presence among us.

Now we are in Madrid and the opening Mass is today.

Thank you for your prayers. So many young people have left their families and homes to come together to worship the Lord together. They are now expecting 1.5 million people here. May the Lord bless all those who are here. May hearts be turned to the Lord.

May God bless you and your family.

Peace,

Fr. Burke

Editor’s note: Father Burke Masters is the Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois. After this trip, he might also qualify as director of vacations!

Follow the events on video

Visit the Michael Voris/Real Catholic TV “No Bull In Madrid” WYD website


Visit the site

Reader comments on Michael Voris’ exclusion from World Youth Day are worth reading

Read the referenced article. Then be sure to read all the comments below.

Link

The Diocese of Joliet Vocation Office is sponsoring a raffle to help send our seminarians to World Youth Day in Spain

The Diocese of Joliet Vocation Office is sponsoring a raffle to help send our seminarians to World Youth Day in Spain.

Tickets are $10 each.

Winning prizes ($3000, $1500 and $500)
will be drawn at the Seminarian Sendoff Dinner
on August 7, 2011.
Winners do not need to be present.

This trip is a great opportunity for our seminarians to celebrate Mass with Pope Benedict XVI, and to meet their fellow Catholic youth, from all over the world.

Please consider supporting the trip by buying a raffle ticket and praying for their safety, as they travel.

Make checks payable to:

Diocese of Joliet Vocation Office

c/o Fr. Burke Masters

101 West Airport Road

Romeoville, IL 60446

Yo qualify for the raffle, your payment must arrive no later than August 1, 2011.

Thank you for your support!