Pope Francis celebrated a special teens-only Jubliee over the weekend, during which he reminded young people that they are made for happiness. His message reminded teens across the world that they are never alone, and that Jesus wants a relationship with them.
The Pope encouraged the teens of the world to seek happiness in ways that may seem uncomfortable, but that will satisfy their need for communion.
“Your happiness has no price,” the Pope said during Mass in St. Peter’s Square. “It cannot be bought: it is not an app that you can download on your phones nor will the latest update bring you freedom and grandeur in love.”
He said love requires a dedication and self-gift that technology cannot.
“That is because love is a free gift which calls for an open heart,” he said. “It is a noble responsibility which is life-long; it is a daily task for those who can achieve great dreams!”
He reminded the teens that they should not listen to anyone who tries to tell them that their worth is in the clothes they wear or their resemblence to a movie character. He said the teens have worth by virtue of who they are.
Every teen is loved, he said. He begged the young people to recognize this.
“The biggest threat to growing up well comes from thinking that no one cares about us, from feeling that we are all alone,” he said. “The Lord, on the other hand, is always with you and he is happy to be with you.”
He suggested the teens practice being with Jesus by reflecting on his life. He said Jesus will use this time to transform their natural need to give and receive affection into a beautiful experience.
“The Lord, if you let him teach you, will show you how to make tenderness and affection even more beautiful,” the Pope said.
“Love is nurtured by trust, respect and forgiveness,” he said.
He reminded the teens that we all have a perfect example of love in Jesus, who “gives us himself in the Mass. He offers us forgiveness and peace in Confession. There we learn to receive his love, to make it ours and to give it to the world.”
Love must be the identity of every Christian, he said. Sometimes this love will be difficult, but then we all, young people included, should look to Jesus on the cross.
Pope Francis said to see Jesus on the cross as a real human being, whose hand could be grasped, not as a fictional character in a story. He wants to be asked for help when one of us faces a tough decision or makes a mistake.
“And when loving seems hard, when it is difficult to say no to something wrong, look up at Jesus on the cross, embrace the cross and don’t ever let go of his hand. He will point you ever higher, and pick you up whenever you fall,” Pope Francis said.
He encouraged the teens to become like Jesus by practicing acts of mercy. He encouraged them to look at acts of mercy as a sort of athletic training, a training that will help them to love better and become more fully Christian.
“Jesus is waiting patiently for you. He awaits your response. He is waiting for you to say ‘yes,'” the Pope said.