Pope Francis has called on young people to allow the fire of the Spirit to burn inside them.
In his homily at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Bangkok on Nov. 22, the pontiff asked Thai youth: “Do you want to keep alive the fire that keeps you burning brightly amid darkness and difficulties?”
“You need to be deeply rooted in the faith of your ancestors: Your parents, grandparents, and teachers. Not to be stuck in the past, but to learn to find the courage that can help us respond to ever new situations,” he said.
The pope said Thai Catholics “had to endure many trials and much sufferings in their lives.”
Yet, “they discovered that the secret to a happy heart is the security we find when we are anchored, rooted in Jesus.”
Without a “firm sense of rootedness” to the Catholic faith, young people can easily “be swayed by the voices of this world that compete for our attention,” Pope Francis said.
“Many are attractive and nicely packaged; at first they seem appealing and exciting, but in the long run they will leave you only empty, weary, alone, and disenchanted,” he said.
The pontiff said the Thai young people are the “new generation, with new hope, dreams, and questions, and surely some doubts as well, yet firmly rooted in Christ.”
He urged them to” maintain your joy and to look to the future with confidence.” He reminded them that “the Lord has sought us out, found us, and loved us infinitely.”
Early in his homily, the pope said the Thai youth are “heirs to a precious history of evangelization” that their ancestors gave to them as “a sacred treasure.”
“This beautiful cathedral is a witness to your ancestor’s faith in Jesus Christ,” the pope said. “Their deeply rooted faithfulness led them to bring God’s merciful love to the people of their time.”
Pope Francis also told the youth that the Lord is “counting on you to carry out the mission today.” He said that through the young people, “the future is coming into this land and the world.”
The pontiff ended his homily with a challenge to the youth to “go out to meet Christ the Lord, for he is coming.”
“Do not be afraid of the future or allow yourselves to be intimidated. Rather, know that the Lord is waiting for you there, in order to prepare and celebrate the banquet of his kingdom,” he said.
The Mass, which he presided over with the young people, is the last event during his Apostolic Journey in Thailand before he leaves for Japan on Nov. 23, morning.
Accepting an invitation from the Thai government and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand, the pope was visiting the kingdom from Nov. 20-23 as a “pilgrim of peace and to promote inter-religious dialogue.”
The Catholic Church leader’s visit comes also occurs during the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Thailand, formerly known as Siam.
Pope Francis arrived in Thailand on Nov. 20 for the first leg of his Asian tour that will later bring him to Japan. This is the pope’s third trip to Asia — and his 32nd abroad — taking him to two Buddhist-majority countries with minority Catholic populations.