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‘Christus Vivit’: In the Gospels, Jesus was . . . A Youth

April 02, 2019. Pope Invites Young People to Live Friendship with Christ

During His public life, narrated in the Gospels, “Jesus was a youth,” stresses Pope Francis in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Christus Vivit (Christ Is Alive), published on April 2, 2019. He invites young people to find in Him “the great friend” to experience “full youth.”

The Pontiff addresses young people, five months after the Synod of Bishops, which was dedicated to them in the Vatican. In this letter, written in a lively style, the Holy Father says: “You young people, Jesus doesn’t enlighten you from afar or from outside, but in your youth that He also shares with you.”

In fact, he observes, “Jesus was a youth. He gave His life at an age considered today as the age of a young adult. He began His public mission in the fullness of His youth . . . He was truly one of you . . . All young people can find themselves in Jesus.”

The Holy Father described the “characteristics of young hearts,” which are found in Jesus: “Jesus had unconditional confidence in the Father, he took care of the friendship with His disciples and also in moments of crisis, He remained faithful. He manifested profound compassion for the weakest, especially the poor, the sick, sinners and the excluded. He had the courage to face the religious and political authorities of His time: He had the experience of been misunderstood and rejected; He experienced fear of suffering and knew fragility in the Passion; He turned His look to the future, placing Himself in the safe hands of the Father and entrusting Himself to the strength of the Spirit.”

For the Pope, Christ’s youth does not belong to the past.” Jesus resurrected and He wants you to take part in the novelty of His resurrection. He is the true youth of a world grown old.” “Before being an age, to be young is a state of mind.”

Full Youth

 To experience “full youth”,” “the veritable fullness of being young,” it is necessary to encounter every day the great Friend,” to live “in the friendship of Jesus.” It’s about letting oneself be “loved and saved by Him,” to begin “to talk with the living Christ about concrete things of one’s life,” to share “the most secret things,” to tell Him all that happens to us.”

“Friendship with Jesus is indefectible. He never leaves; even if sometimes He seems to be silent . . . He is by our side, wherever we go . . . if we distance ourselves, He remains faithful.” Moreover, it’s possible  “to have the experience of a constant union with Him that goes beyond all that we can live with other persons: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Don’t deprive your youth of this friendship.

To be Christian is not “an ethical decision or a great idea,” but “the encounter with an event, with a Person,” stresses the Pope” “God who loves you as you are, who esteems and respects you but also, who proposes to you always something more: more of His friendship, more fervour in prayer, more hunger for His Word, a greater desire to receive Christ in the Eucharist, a greater desire to live His Gospel, more interior strength, more peace and spiritual joy.”

Social Friendship

 In the document’s pages, the Pope pauses on the friendship between young people “a present of life, a gift of God”: “The Lord refines us and makes us mature through friends. At the same time, faithful friends who are by our side in difficult moments, are a reflection of the Lord’s tenderness, of His comfort and His lovable presence. To have friends teaches us to open ourselves, to take care of others, to understand them, to come out of our comfort and isolation, to share life. That is why: ‘a faithful friend has no price’ (Sirach 6:15).”

 “Friendship isn’t a fleeting or passing relationship but is stable, solid, faithful, which matures with time. It is a relationship of affection, which makes us feel united and, at the same time, it’s a generous love, which leads us to seek the good of a friend.”

 However, the Holy Father suggests to young people “to go beyond groups of friends and to build social friendship,” to “seek the common good.” “It’s not easy,” he admits while daring them “to love with passion,” the “miracle of the culture of encounter.”