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Pope to Youth: We are what we choose. Great choices lead to a life of greatness

On the Solemnity of Christ the King, the pope celebrated Mass in St. Peter's Basilica in front of a group of young people from Panama and Portugal. 

The Panamanians were present because they hosted the last World Youth Day. During the ceremony, they presented the symbols of these youth gatherings to the Portuguese, who will organize the next event. 

This gesture was planned for last Palm Sunday but was postponed due to the pandemic.

In his homily, the pope addressed the youth. He reminded them that they must cultivate a desire to do great things in life and gave them this advice: help others.

We were not created to dream about vacations or the weekend, but to make God’s dreams come true in this world. The works of mercy are the most beautiful works in life.

The pope warned young people of the risk of seeking a comfortable life instead of a full one. He said that personal decisions define people

We can waste years thinking about ourselves, without ever actually starting to love.
Trivial choices lead to a trivial life; great choices to a life of greatness. Indeed, we become what we choose, for better or for worse. If we choose to steal, we become thieves. If we choose to think of ourselves, we become self-centered.

Pope Francis told them to be brave because often, the current environment leads in the opposite direction.

Choosing life means resisting the “throwaway culture” and the desire to have “everything now,” in order to direct our lives towards the goal of heaven, towards God’s dreams. To choose life is to live, and we were born to live, not just get by.

Before leaving, the pope announced that the local phase of WYD will be celebrated on the feast of Christ the King from now on. It was previously celebrated on Palm Sunday.

The center of the celebration remains the Mystery of Jesus Christ the Redeemer of Man, as Saint John Paul II, the initiator and patron of WYD, always emphasized.

It was the first time that the young people of the last WYD gave their successors the cross and the image of the Virgin Mary, Salus Populi Romani. This symbolic gesture marks the beginning of the operational phase and preparations for WYD in Lisbon, which will take place in August 2023.

Javier Romero

Translation: Christian Campos