Homily of Pope Francis at the Holy Mass opening of the synod of bishops

By: Pope Francis

Papa Francisco junto a los jóvenes
Logo del Sínodo de los Jóvenes 2018
Youth Synod Logo 2018

Vatican Basilica
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

“The Holy Ghost, who the Father will send in my name, will teach them everything and remind them of all that I have told them” (Jn 14:26).
In this simple way, Jesus offers his disciples the assurance that will accompany all the missionary work entrusted to them: the Holy Spirit will be the first to always guard and keep alive and acting the memory of the Master in the hearts of the disciples. He is the one who makes the richness and beauty of the gospel a source of constant joy and novelty.
As we begin this moment of grace for the whole Church, in tune with the Word of God, we insistently ask the Paraclete to help us remember and rekindle those words of the Lord that made our hearts burn (cf. Lk 24:32). Ardor and evangelical passion that engenders burning and passion for Jesus. I remember you waking up and renewing in us the ability to dream and wait. For we know that our young people will be able to prophecy and vision to the extent that we, whether old or old, are able to dream and thus spread and share those dreams and hopes that nest in our hearts (cf. Jl 3:1).
May the Spirit give us the grace to be Synod Fathers anointed with the gift of dreams and hope so that we may, in turn, anoint our youth with the gift of prophecy and vision; that gives us the grace to be an active, living, effective memory that from generation to generation is not allowed to suffocate or crush by prophets of calamities and unventures or by our own limits, mistakes and sins, but is able to find spaces to light the heart and discern the ways of the Spirit. With this docile attitude of listening to the voice of the Spirit, we have come from all over the world. Today, for the first time, two brother bishops of mainland China are also here with us. Let us give them our affectionate welcome: thanks to their presence, the communion of the whole Episcopate with the Successor of Peter is even more visible.
Anointed in hope, we begin a new ecclesial meeting capable of widening horizons, dilating our hearts and transforming those structures that today paralyze us, set us apart and away from our young people, leaving them out in the open and orphaned of a community of faith that sustains them, from a horizon of meaning and life (cf. Exhortation ap Evangelii Gaudium, n. 49).
Hope challenges us, mobilizes and breaks the conformism of “always became so” and asks us to rise up to look forward to the faces of our young people and the situations in which they find themselves. The same hope asks us to work to reverse the situations of precariousness, exclusion and violence to which our boys are exposed.
Our young people, the result of many of the decisions that have been made in the past, invite us to take together the present with greater commitment and fight against all the ways that hinder their lives so that they develop with dignity. They ask us and demand a creative delivery, an intelligent, enthusiastic and hopeful dynamic, and that we do not leave them alone in the hands of so many merchants of death who oppress their lives and obscure their vision.
This ability to dream together that the Lord today gives us as a Church, demands, as St Paul told us at first reading, to develop among us a definite attitude: “Do not be locked in your interests, but seek all, the interest of others” (Phil 2:4). And it even points higher by asking that we humbly consider estimating others superior to ourselves (cf. v. 3). In this spirit we will try to listen to each other to discern together what the Lord is asking of his Church. And this requires us to be vigilant and ensure that it does not master the logic of self-preservation and self-referentiality that ends up making the superfluous important and making the important superfluous. The love for the gospel and for the people entrusted to us asks us to broaden our gaze and not lose sight of the mission to which it calls us to aim for a greater good that will benefit us all. Without this attitude, this will be all our efforts.
The gift of sincere, prayerful listening and with the least number of prejudices and budgets will allow us to enter into communion with the different situations that the People of God live. Listen to God, until you hear with Him the cry of the people; listen to the people, until they breathe in them the will to which God calls us (cf. Speech during the meeting for the family, 4 October 2014, 3).

This attitude defends us from the temptation to fall into “eticist” or elitist positions, as well as from the fascination with abstract ideologies that never coincide with the reality of our peoples (cf. J.M. Bergoglio: Meditations for Religious, 45-46).
Brothers, sisters: Let us put this time under the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary. May she, a woman of listening and memory, accompany us to recognize the traces of the Spirit so that, “without delay” (cf. Lk 1:39), between dreams and hopes, we may accompany and encourage our young people to continue to prophesy.
Synod Fathers:
Many of us were young or began the first steps in religious life at the end of the Second Vatican Council. The last message from the conciliar parents was addressed to the young people of those years. What we hear from young people will do us good to re-review it in our hearts by recalling the poet’s words: “Let man keep what he promised as a child” (F. Jolderlin).
Here’s how the conciliar parents spoke to us:

“The Church, for four years, has worked to rejuvenate her face, to better respond to the designs of its founder, the great living, Christ, eternally young. At the end of that impressive ‘life reform’ it turns to you. It is for you young people, especially for you, because the Church has just illuminated in her Council a light, a light that will illuminate the future. The Church is concerned that this society that they will constitute respects dignity, freedom, the right of people, and those people are you …
“In the name of this God and his son, Jesus, we exhort you to widen your hearts to the dimensions of the world, to listen to the call of your brethren, and to put your energies at your service. Fight against all selfishness. Refuse to give free course to the instincts of violence and hatred, which engender wars and their courtship of evils. Be generous, pure, respectful, sincere. And build with enthusiasm a better world than that of their elders” (Paul VI: Message to young people, on the occasion of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, 8 December 1965).

Synod Fathers: The Church looks at them with confidence and love. Ω

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