10TH WORLD YOUTH DAY
MESSAGE of the HOLY FATHER POPE JOHN
the Father has sent me, so I send you" (Jn 20:21).
Dear Young People,
"Peace be with you!" (Jn 20:19). This is the
greeting, rich in meaning, which the risen Lord extended
to the disciples, so fearful and dismayed after his
With the same intense and deep feeling I now address you,
as we prepare to celebrate the Ninth and Tenth World
Youth Days. They will take place, as is now the pleasant
custom, on Palm Sunday of 1994 and 1995, while the great
international meeting, which gathers young people from
all over the world around the Pope, is set for January
1995 in Manila, capital of the Philippines.
In the previous meetings that have marked our journey of
reflection and prayer, like the disciples, we have had
the opportunity of "seeing" which also
means believing and knowing, almost "touching"
(cf. 1 Jn 1:1) the risen Lord.
We "saw" him and welcomed him as teacher and
friend in Rome in 1984 and 1985, when we began our
pilgrimage from the centre and heart of Catholicism in
order to give a reason for the hope that is in us (cf 1
Pt 3:15), carrying his cross along the highways of the
world. We asked him insistently to be with
us in our daily journey.
We "saw" him in Buenos Aires in 1987 when,
together with the young people of every continent,
especially from Latin America, "we came to know and
believe in the love God has for us" (1 Jn 4:16) and
we proclaimed that his revelation, like the sun that
sheds light and warmth, nourishes the hope and renews the
joy of the missionary commitment to build the
civilization of love.
We "saw" him in Santiago de Compostela in 1988,
where we discovered his face and recognized him as the
way and the truth and the life (Jn 14:6), while together
with the Apostle James we meditated on the ancient
Christian roots of Europe.
We "saw" him in 1991 in Czestochowa, when
with barriers fallen all together, young
people from East and West, under the kindly gaze of our
heavenly Mother, we proclaimed the fatherhood of God
through the Spirit and we acknowledged that we are - in
him - brothers and sisters: "You received a spirit
of adoption" (Rom 8:15).
Man is driven to seek the face of God
Recently we "saw" him again in Denver, in the
heart of the United States of America, where we sought
him in the face of contemporary man in a substantially
different context from the previous pauses, but no less
exalting for the depth of its significance, experiencing
and tasting the gift of life in abundance: "I came
that they might have life and have it more abundantly"
As we keep before our eyes and in our hearts the
wonderful and unforgettable spectacle of that great
meeting in the Rocky Mountains, our pilgrimage continues
and this time pauses in Manila, in the vast continent of
Asia, the crossroads of the Tenth World Youth Day.
The desire to "see the Lord" has always
occupied the heart of man (cf. Jn 12:21) and it drives
him unceasingly to seek his face. We too, as we start out,
express this longing and, with the pilgrim of Zion, we
repeat: "Your presence, O Lord, I seek" (Ps 27:8).
The Son of God comes to meet us, he welcomes us and shows
himself to us, he repeats to us what he said to the
disciples on the evening of Easter: "As the Father
has sent me, so I send you" (Jn 20:21).
Once again, young people from all over the world are
summoned by Jesus Christ, the centre of our lives, the
basis of our faith, the reason for our hope and the
source of our charity.
Called by him, young people from every corner of the
globe ask themselves about their commitment to the "new
evangelization", continuing the mission entrusted to
the Apostles and in which every Christian, through his
Baptism and membership in the community of the Church, is
called to participate.
and missionary commitment of the Church spring from the
central mystery of our faith: Easter. It is in fact
"on the evening of that first day" that Jesus
appeared to the disciples, barricaded behind locked doors
"for fear of the Jews" (Jn 20:19).
We hope to triumph in the fullness of time
Having given proof of his boundless love by embracing the
cross and offering himself in sacrifice for the
redemption of all people he had in fact said:
"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's
life for one's friends" (Jn 15:13) the divine
Master returns among his own, among those whom he had
loved most intensely and with whom he had spent his
It is an extraordinary encounter, during which their
hearts are filled with happiness for the refound presence
of Christ, after the events of his tragic passion and his
glorious resurrection. The disciples "rejoiced when
they saw the Lord" (Jn 20:20).
Meeting him on the day after his resurrection meant for
the Apostles that they could see with their own eyes that
his message was not false, that his promises were not
written in the sand. He, alive and blazing with glory, is
the proof of the almighty love of God, which radically
changes the course of history and of our individual lives.
The meeting with Jesus is therefore the event which gives
meaning to human life and profoundly alters it, by
opening the spirit to horizons of authentic freedom.
Our time too occurs "on the day after the
resurrection". It is "the acceptable time",
"the day of salvation" (2 Cor 6:2).
The risen Christ returns among us with the fullness of
joy and with overflowing richness of life. Hope becomes
certainty, because if he has conquered death, we too can
hope to triumph one day in the fullness of time, in the
period of the final contemplation of God.
meeting with the risen Lord does not reflect only a
moment of personal joy. It is rather the occasion when
the call that awaits every human being is shown in all
its breadth. Strong in our faith in the risen Christ, we
are all invited to open the doors of life, without fear
or doubt, to welcome the Word which is the Way, the Truth
and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6), and to shout it courageously
to the whole world.
The salvation offered to us is a gift that should not be
jealously hidden. It is like the light of the sun, which
by its nature breaks through the darkness; it is like the
water of a clear spring, which gushes from the heart of
"God so loved the world that he gave his only Son"
(Jn 3:16). Jesus, sent by the Father to mankind,
communicates the abundance of life to every believer (cf.
Jn 10:10), as we reflected and proclaimed on the occasion
of the recent Day in Denver.
His Gospel must become "communication" and
mission. The missionary vocation summons every Christian;
it becomes the very essence of every testimony of
concrete and living faith. It is a mission which traces
its origins from the Father's plan, the plan of love and
salvation which is carried out through the power of the
Spirit, without which every apostolic initiative is
destined to failure. It is to enable his disciples to
carry out this mission that Jesus says to them: "Receive
the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20:22). He thus transmits to
the Church his own saving mission, so that the Easter
mystery may continue to be communicated to every person,
in every age, in every corner of the globe.
You, young people, are especially called to become
missionaries of this New Evangelization, by daily
witnessing to the Word that saves.
experience the anxieties of the present historical period,
fraught with hope and doubt, in which it can at times be
easy to lose the way that leads to the encounter with
In fact, numerous are the temptations of our time, the
seductions that seek to muffle the divine voice
resounding within the heart of each individual.
We are sent to proclaim hope and reconciliation
To the people of our century, to all of you, dear young
people, who hunger and thirst for truth, the Church
offers herself as a travelling companion. She offers the
eternal Gospel message and entrusts you with an exalting
apostolic task: to be the protagonists of the New
As the faithful guardian and representative of the wealth
of faith transmitted to her by Christ, she is ready to
enter into dialogue with the new generations; in order to
answer their needs and expectations and to find in frank
and open dialogue the most appropriate way to reach the
source of divine salvation.
The Church entrusts to young people the task of
proclaiming to the world the joy which springs from
having met Christ. Dear friends, allow yourselves to be
drawn to Christ; accept his invitation and follow him. Go
and preach the Good News that redeems (cf. Mt 28:19); do
it with happiness in your hearts and become communicators
of hope in a world which is often tempted to despair,
communicators of faith in a society which at times seems
resigned to disbelief, communicators of love in daily
events that are often marked by a mentality of the most
To be able to
imitate the disciples, who, overwhelmed by the breath of
the Spirit, confidently preached their own faith in the
Redeemer who loves everyone and who wants to save
everyone (cf. Acts 2:22-24; 32-36), it is necessary to
become new people, eradicating the old man within us and
allowing ourselves to be totally renewed by the strength
of the Lord's Spirit.
Each one of you is sent into the world, especially among
your contemporaries, to communicate through the example
of your life and work the Gospel message of
reconciliation and peace: "We implore you on behalf
of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2 Cor 5:20).
This reconciliation is in the first place the individual
destiny of every Christian who receives and continuously
renews his personal identity as a disciple of the Son of
God in prayer and through receiving the sacraments,
especially Penance and the Eucharist.
But it is also the destiny of the whole human family. To
be a missionary today in the heart of our society also
means making the best use of the media for that religious
and pastoral task.
Having become enthusiastic communicators of the saving
Word and witnesses to the joy of Easter, you will be
builders of peace in a world that searches for this peace
as if for a utopia, often forgetting its origin. Peace
as you well know resides in the heart of
every man, if only he knows how to open himself to the
greeting of the risen Redeemer: "Peace be with you"
In view of the imminent arrival of the third Christian
millennium, to you young people the task of becoming
communicators of hope and peacemakers is entrusted in a
special way (cf. Mt 5:9) in a world that is ever more in
need of credible witnesses and consistent messengers.
Know how to speak to the hearts of your contemporaries,
who thirst for truth and happiness, in a constant, even
if often unconscious, search for God.
people of the whole world!
As the journey towards the Ninth and Tenth World Youth
Days officially begins with this Message, I wish again to
express my affectionate greeting to each one of you,
especially to all who live in the Philippines: in 1995
the world meeting of young people with the Pope will be
celebrated for the first time on the Asian continent, so
rich in tradition and culture. Young people of the
Philippines, it is your turn to prepare a welcome for
your many friends from all over the world. So, the young
Church of Asia is called in a special way to give a
lively and vibrant testimony of faith at the appointment
in Manila. My wish is that she will know how to receive
this gift that Christ himself is about to offer her.
To you all, young people from every part of the world, I
extend my invitation to journey in spirit towards the
next Youth Days. Accompanied and guided by your Pastors,
in your parishes and Dioceses, in the ecclesial
associations, movements and groups, be ready to receive
the seeds of holiness and grace which the Lord will
surely bestow with generous abundance.
I hope that the celebration of these days may be for you
all a privileged occasion of formation and growth in the
personal and community knowledge of Christ; may it be an
interior stimulus to consecrate yourselves to the Church
in the service of your brothers and sisters to build the
civilization of love.
To Mary, the Virgin present in the Upper Room, the Mother
of the Church (cf. Acts 1:14), I entrust the preparation
and success of the next World Youth Days: may she share
with us the secret of how to receive her Son into our
lives so we may fulfil his will (cf. Jn 2:5).
May my heartfelt and paternal Blessing accompany you.
From the Vatican, 21 November 1993, Solemnity of
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Universal King.