Day 3: World Youth Day 2016

Thursday, July 28, 2016

World Youth Day 2016 continues in Krakow, Poland, and runs through Sunday, July 31. Our Editorial Department staffer Melanie Williams is providing daily coverage all week long.

This morning, Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle addressed 18,000 young people in the Mercy Centre at Tauron Arena in Krakow yesterday at the Knights of Columbus School of Mercy for English-speaking pilgrims.

He said, "Let us allow ourselves to be touched by Mercy."

On the parable of the lost sheep, Cardinal Tagle said, "If you are the lost sheep, would you not welcome someone who wants to take you home? Let us allow ourselves to be touched by God's mercy. Why do we need to talk about this? Because we often do not allow God to touch us."

He said, "My dear young people, today we are being invited to open our hearts to be touched by God's mercy."

Why do we close our hearts?

Why do we reject God's mercy?

The Cardinal said, "We live in a world where we measure everything according to success. ... We don't tolerate failure. We say our greatest sin is our failure. Allowing others to help us or guide us doesn't qualify us for achievement. You have to do it by yourself. It's an insult to say that somebody else made me who I am. And we deny our wounds. We hide in our pride. It is embarrassing, we want to do it our way."

He said, "If we deny our wounds, we will inflict wounds on others. We will lose compassion."

How do we be compassionate? He said, "We need to know we need to be found. We need to know that someone would leave the 99 to find us. Someone who will sweep the whole house for you."

He said, "The Shepherd will say to you, 'Yes, you may be a wounded sheep, a lost coin, but you are mine. You belong to me. You don't have to prove. You don't have to earn my love. You may be wounded and scarred, but here I am. I will carry you home. Simply because you are mine. Have no fear, I know who you are, and your wounds and sins can never diminish your worth for Me."

The Cardinal said, "Live with the conviction that you will never be alone. Jesus promised He will be with you. Courage. There is nothing wasted in your following of Jesus."

This was such a moving catechesis! It brought many to tears.

Young people asked questions, such as, "How can I experience His true love of me?"

"It's a matter of faith," the Cardinal said. "We have what St. John called 'signs.' Rely on the Word of God. According to the Letter of Hebrews, He is our compassionate Brother who was tested just as we are tested. Make sure that no one around you feels alone. Make the love and compassion of Jesus real."

Chris from New York asked, "We are all searching for happiness. What is the real happiness Christ promises us?"

"Love one another as I have loved you," the Cardinal answered. "Love makes us happy, but not just any type of love, but the love of Jesus has. Also, go therefore and make disciples. As you are loved you are sent."

We are about to have Mass, I will talk to pilgrims afterwards!

In the meantime, thanks to CTV, here's a video of the Pope Francis welcome ceremony today at B?onia, in Krakow:

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Follow me on pilgrimage this week on Twitter and Instagram.

Melanie Williams is a recent graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville and now works as a writer at the Marian Helpers Center in Stockbridge, MA.

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