Source: Vatican Media
Pope Francis left Madagascar on Tuesday morning and flew to Mauritius. Upon arrival at Port Louis International Airport, the Holy Father was welcomed by the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and his wife, Cardinal Piat, and three Bishops from the Episcopal Conference of the Indian Ocean.Two children in traditional dress presented Pope Francis with flowers.
Enthusiastic crowds lined the roads waving and cheering as the Holy Father was driven to the Monument of Mary Queen of Peace, where more than 100,000 people were waiting for the celebration of Mass.
The homily Francis gave during the Mass follows below:
Here, in front of this altar dedicated to Mary, Queen of Peace, on this mountain from which we see the city and beyond the sea, we find ourselves part of that multitude of faces that have come from Mauritius and other islands of this region of the Indian Ocean to hear Jesus announcing the Beatitudes. The same Word of Life that, like two thousand years ago, has the same strength, the same fire that makes even the coldest hearts burn. Together we can say to the Lord: we believe in you and, with the light of faith and the beating of the heart, we know that Isaiah's prophecy is true: announce peace and salvation, bring good news ... our God reigns.
The Beatitudes are like the Christian identity card. So, if any of us asks the question: "How do you go about being a good Christian?" In them the face of the Master is outlined, which we are called to reveal in the daily life of our life "(Exhortation ap. Gaudete et exsultate , 63), as did the so-called" apostle of the Mauritian unity ", Blessed Jacques- Désiré Laval, much revered in these lands. Love for Christ and for the poor marked his life in such a way as to protect him from the illusion of carrying out "distant and aseptic" evangelisation. He knew that to evangelize involves making everything to everyone (see 1Cor9,19-22): he learned the language of the newly freed slaves and he simply announced to them the Good News of salvation. He was able to gather the faithful and formed them to undertake the mission and create small Christian communities in neighbourhoods, cities and nearby villages, small communities many of which are at the origin of the current parishes. He was solicitous in giving confidence to the poorest and the rejected, so that they were the first to organize themselves and find answers to their suffering.
Through his missionary dynamism and his love, Father Laval gave the Mauritian Church a new youth, a new breath that we are now invited to continue in the current context.
And this missionary impulse must be preserved, because it may be that, as the Church of Christ, we fall into the temptation to lose evangelising enthusiasm by taking refuge in worldly securities that, little by little, not only condition the mission but make it heavy and incapable to attract people (see Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium , 26). The missionary thrust has a young and capable of rejuvenating face. It is precisely the young people who, with their vitality and dedication, can bring to it the beauty and freshness typical of youth, when they provoke the Christian community to renew itself and invite us to leave for new horizons (see Apostolic Exhortation Post. Christus vivit , 37).
But this is not always easy, because it requires that we learn to recognise and provide them with a place within our community and our society.
But it is hard to see that, despite the economic growth your country has had in recent decades, it is young people who suffer the most, they are the ones who suffer most from unemployment which not only causes an uncertain future, but also takes away from them the possibility of feeling themselves protagonists of their common history. Uncertain future that drives them out of the way and forces them to write their lives so many times on the margins, leaving them vulnerable and almost without reference points to the new forms of slavery of this XXI century. They, our young people, are the first mission! We must invite them to find their happiness in Jesus, not aseptically or remotely, but learning to give them a place, knowing their language, listening to their stories, living by their side, making them feel that they are blessed by God. let us allow ourselves to be robbed of the young face of the Church and of society! We do not allow the merchants of death to steal the first fruits of this earth!
Our young people and those who, like them, feel they have no voice because they are immersed in precariousness, Father Laval would invite them to make Isaiah's announcement resound: "Break up together in songs of joy, ruins of Jerusalem, because the Lord has comforted his people, he redeemed Jerusalem "(52.9). Even when what surrounds us may seem to be without solution, hope in Jesus asks us to recover the certainty of the triumph of God not only beyond history but also in the hidden plot of the small stories that intertwine and see us as protagonists of victory of the One who has given us the Kingdom.
To live the Gospel, we cannot wait for everything around us to be favorable, because often the ambitions of power and worldly interests play against us. St. John Paul II affirmed that "society is alienated which, in its forms of social organization, production and consumption, makes it more difficult to realize [the] gift [of oneself] and the establishment [of] inter-human solidarity" ( Enc. Centesimus annus , 41c). In such a society it becomes difficult to live the Beatitudes; it can even become something disliked, suspected, ridiculed (see Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate , 91). It is true, but we cannot let ourselves be overcome by discouragement.
At the foot of this mountain, which today I would like to be the mountain of the Beatitudes, we too must recover this invitation to be happy. Only joyful Christians arouse the desire to follow that path; "The word" happy "or" blessed "becomes synonymous with" holy ", because it expresses that the person faithful to God and who lives his Word reaches true bliss in the gift of self" ( ibid ., 64).
When we hear the threatening forecast "we are less and less", we should first of all be concerned not with the diminution of this or that form of consecration in the Church, but rather with the lack of men and women who want to live happiness by making paths of holiness, men and women women who make their hearts burn with the most beautiful and liberating announcement. "If something has to worry about us and worry our conscience is that so many of our brothers live without strength, without the light and the consolation of friendship with Jesus Christ, they live without a community of faith that welcomes them, without a horizon of meaning and of life "(Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium , 49).
When a young person sees a project of Christian life realised with joy, this excites and encourages him and he feels a desire that he can express in this way: "I want to climb on that mountain of the Beatitudes, I want to meet the gaze of Jesus and that He tell me what is my path to happiness ".
Dear brothers and sisters, let us pray for our communities, so that by bearing witness to the joy of Christian life, they may see the vocation to holiness flourish in the different forms of life that the Spirit proposes to us. Let's implore him for this diocese, and also for the others who have made the effort to come here today. Father Laval, the Blessed of whom we venerate the relics, also experienced moments of disappointment and difficulty with the Christian community, but in the end the Lord won in his heart. He trusted in the strength of the Lord. Let it touch the hearts of so many men and women of this earth, let us also touch our hearts, so that its newness renews our life and that of our community (see ibid., 11). And let us not forget that he who calls with strength, he who builds the Church, is the Holy Spirit, with his strength. He is the protagonist of the mission, He is the protagonist of the Church.
The image of Mary, the Mother who protects us and accompanies us, reminds us that she has been called the "blessed". To her, who lived the pain like a sword that pierces her heart, to her, who has gone through the worst threshold of pain that is to see her son die, we ask for the gift of openness to the Holy Spirit, of persevering joy, the one that does not come down and does not shrink, the one that always makes you experience and affirm: "The Almighty does great things, and his name is holy".
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