It looks like a field full of colorful flowers, including T-shirts and caps, hands waving towards the sky, smiles, dances, like in an Impressionist painting, or, even better, in a lively naive style, the Campus Misericordiae, when Pope Francis arrives in his Popemobile earlier than programmed, at 6.50 p.m., for the Prayer Vigil with young people. Pope Bergoglio was anxious to meet young people. And they are all here, rejoicing, waiting for the Holy Father, present at the meeting with God, with Jesus Christ. They are part of the Church. Over one million people from all over the world. These World Youth Days of Mercy have been a continuous party from the very beginning, since they had welcomed him during the official arrival ceremony, on Thursday 28, with fluttering national flags. Even the symbol of this World Youth Day, a colorful cross burning embraced by the flames of love, with hands facing up. Because faith in Jesus Christ is joy, always Pope Bergoglio always reminds us about it. God is love, and love is joy. He does not ignore pain, suffering, because joy is in the mercy, concrete and tangible in our love for our brother. Yet, pain, suffering, and evil, are not the last word for those who believe in Jesus.
Pope Francis’ first action last night was walking through the Holy Door, holding hands with six young men and women, who represented the five continents (one of which, America, is actually double). Then, the Popemobile took them on a drive, twelve kilometers away from Krakow, to greet everyone, in a huge open embrace even those who cannot be seen among the participants, yet are in the heart of the Pope and in that of the Father. In the background, the face of Jesus, the way he appeared to Sister Faustina Kowalska. It is Jesus, Love, the protagonist. But that face is made up of millions of faces of the young people around the planet, which flow unceasingly, like the pieces of a puzzle that move in an amazing way. The Holy Father said it during the Eucharistic celebration at the Shrine of John Paul II, on Saturday 30: “The Gospel has blank pages where to write works of mercy.” And he repeated it again last night to the youth during the Vigil of Prayer: “God invites us to leave a mark in history, in life.” The footstep left by His foot. “To follow Jesus, we must have courage, decide to switch our sofas for a pair of shoes that will help us walk paths we have never dreamed or even thought of, paths that may open new horizons, capable of transmitting joy, the joy that springs from God’s love, the joy that leaves in our heart every gesture, every attitude of mercy,” said Pope Bergoglio.
Faith is courage, risk, dream, and madness. Christian faith is the “madness” of God’s mercy, “which teaches us to meet him in the hungry, thirsty, undressed, sick, in the friend who chose the wrong path, in the prisoner, the refugee, and the migrant, in the neighbor who is alone.” Faith in Jesus is eternally young love. This is what Pope Bergoglio came to say in Krakow, during his first journey to Eastern Europe, where one can watch the sun early rising in the morning. “We do not want to defeat hatred with hatred, violence with violence, war with war, terror with terror. Our response is called fraternity, brotherhood, fellowship, and family,” said the Holy Father in his speech during the Prayer Vigil.
“Are you ready? Are you in? What do your hands and feet answer the Lord,” the Pontiff asked each one of the young people who were present, each one of us, every Christian, every believer.” God expects something from you, He wants something from you, He is waiting for you. God comes to open the doors of our lives, of our visions, and that of our sight. God comes to open whatever closes you. He is inviting you to dream, he wants to show you that the world may be different with you. If you do not give the best of you, the world will not be different.” Thus, on that night, which actually marked the end of the World Youth Day 2016, Pope Francis’ long Homily continued uninterruptedly for five days, made of silence, words, of reproaches and praises, truth, and life, approaches the Polish conclusion, leaving the door open to hope, trust, and to the eternal youth of faith. “I hope that you will not lose hope, he told a young man during the dinner at the Archbishopric.” Because “God transforms, changes, and restores us.” He is always ready to forgive.
While a Syrian girl brings her testimony, the Prayer Vigil with the Holy Father in Poland, in the martyr city of Aleppo, devastated by bombing, over one thousand young people gathered with their bishop to also celebrate their World Day of Youth, in the Church St. Matilda of the Salesians. They sent a video, to feel united with other young people of the world. “Thank you, Pope Francis, for the things you do for us” is their message.
“God bless your dreams,” the Pope said during the vigil. God bless the dreams of peace, because peace is not a dream, but something we built day after day, wearing heavy boots to walk the streets of life, with only one hand to serve as a soundtrack for our choices and our actions: “Jesus, I have faith in you.” A better world is possible, it depends on us.
After meeting the volunteers and the benefactors of the WYD, with a farewell ceremony at 6.30 p.m., Pope Francis will be heading to the Vatican City.