Photo: Three million people attend World Youth Day closing Mass on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro July 28 — one of the largest crowds in the history of World Youth Day. (CNS photo/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters)
Today, Sunday at noon, the Holy Father brought World Youth Day, Rio de Janeiro, to a great fulfillment with the Mass on Copacabana Beach with more than three million young people from all over the world. It was a faith-filled, joyful and amazingly reverent act of worship to God. Word has it that, before the Mass began, even the bishops (Does this mean our Bishops Brennan and Perez?) were dancing to the rhythms of the music composed for the occasion.
The Pope was greeted by this enormous gathering which stretched 2.5 miles from one end of the beach to the other. His arrival was hailed by one and all. And when the music of the Mass began, there was only the joy that is a gift of the Holy Spirit on the faces and in the hearts of all the participants. How attentive they were to the Word of God and the Holy father’s homily. How reverent they were during the Eucharistic prayer. With what devotion did they receive the Eucharist. And then an especially extraordinary moment came after Holy Communion was distributed! The speakers asked all to be one in silence and give thanks silently in their hearts for the gift of the Body and Blood of Jesus.
Just as happened the day of the Pope’s election when he asked everyone in St. Peter’s Square to pray for him, the whole congregation strung along Copacabana Beach fell silent. Not a sound. Only hearts as one giving thanks to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Truly a blessing that will reverberate in their lives and the lives of all who are open to the call of the Holy Spirit.
In his homily, Pope Francis made his now “usual three points:” Go; Do Not be Afraid, Serve!
Where does Jesus send us?, he asked. There are no borders, no limits; he sends us to everyone.
Fear? Jeremiah was afraid but God sends us and does not leave us alone. He sends us not alone but all of us together. Be aware of the companionship of the whole Church and also the communion of the saints in this mission.
And the final word: Serve! Sing to the Lord a new song…not a melody…not words. This is the song of your life, it is allowing our life to be identified with that of Jesus…And the life of Jesus is a life for others. It is a life of service.
Go. Do not be afraid and serve. Bringing the Gospel is bringing God’s power to pluck up and break down evil and violence, to destroy and overthrow the barriers of selfishness, intolerance and hatred, so as to build a new world.
Jesus Christ is counting on you! The Church is counting on you! The Pope is counting on you! May Mary accompany you with her tenderness: Go and make disciples of all nations!