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Follow Christ closely, build on rock, Pope tells WYD participants

Catholic World News - August 18, 2011

In his first meeting with the thousands of young people who have gathered in Madrid for World Youth Day (WYD), Pope Benedict XVI exhorted them to listen carefully to the teachings of Jesus Christ:

There are words which serve only to amuse, as fleeting as an empty breeze. Others, to an extent, inform us. Those of Jesus, on the other hand, must reach our hearts, take root and bloom there all our lives. If not, they remain empty and become ephemeral. They do not bring us to him and, as a result, Christ stays remote, just one voice among the many others around us which are so familiar.

Arriving in Madrid on Thursday, August 18, the Pope traveled in a motorcade through the city’s streets, which were lined with cheering young people. Arriving eventually at the Plaza de Cibeles for an evening Liturgy of the Word, he received a noisy welcome from the massive crowd, with many of the young participants wearing their distinctive national garb and waving flags as they roared in support.

In his remarks, Pope Benedict told the young people to follow Christ’s lead closely. When we lose sight of Christ, he said, “we get lost on other paths, like the path of our blind and selfish impulses, or the path of flattering but self-serving suggestions, deceptive and fickle, which leave emptiness and frustration in their wake.”

On the other hand, the Holy Father continued, those who build their lives on Christ can be confident. “If you build on solid rock, not only your life will be solid and stable, but it will also help project the light of Christ shining upon those of your own age and upon the whole of humanity, presenting a valid alternative to all those who have fallen short.”

The Pope encouraged the young people to use their time at WYD well, to enrich their faith and find ways to bring the Gospel message to their contemporaries.

“Today Madrid is also the capital of the world’s young people, and the gaze of the whole Church is fixed here,” the Pope said. He asked for prayers that from Madrid this week, the message of Christ “will also resound in the hearts of those who are not believers or who have grown distant from the Church.”

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