Later, a star guided men from the East to the young child.
We learn who caused them to see that star, and how Jesus was saved from the efforts to kill him. Next, we find Jesus, when he was 12 years old, talking with the teachers in the temple. Eighteen years later Jesus was baptized, and he then began the Kingdom preaching and teaching work that God sent him to earth to do. To help him in this work, Jesus chose 12 men and made them his apostles.
Jesus also did many miracles. He fed thousands of people with only a few small fishes and a few loaves of bread. He healed the sick and even raised the dead.
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Finally, we learn about the many things that happened to Jesus during the last day of his life, and how he was killed. Try to look for him, and you will have the beautiful experience of seeing that he is always at your side. Seen that way, it puts us off. Christianity is a person who loved me immensely, who demands and claims my love. The dream for which Jesus gave his life on the cross, for which the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost and brought fire to the heart of every man and woman, to your heart and mine.
To your heart too, he brought that fire, in the hope of finding room for it to grow and flourish.
A dream whose name is Jesus, planted by the Father in the confidence that it would grow and live in every heart. Many young people are concerned about their bodies, trying to build up physical strength or improve their appearance. Others work to develop their talents and knowledge, so as to feel more sure of themselves. Some aim higher, seeking to become more involved and to grow spiritually. Seeking the Lord, keeping his word, entrusting our life to him and growing in the virtues: all these things make young hearts strong.
Just as you try not to lose your connection to the internet, make sure that you stay connected to the Lord. I hope that you will be serious enough about yourselves to make an effort to grow spiritually. This does not involve losing anything of your spontaneity, boldness, enthusiasm and tenderness. Becoming an adult does not mean you have to abandon what is best about this stage of your lives. Adults, too, have to mature without losing the values of youth.
The life, times and teachings of Jesus Christ
Every stage of life is a permanent grace, with its own enduring value. The experience of a youth well lived always remains in our heart. It continues to grow and bear fruit throughout adulthood. Young people are naturally attracted by an infinite horizon opening up before them. The very opposite should happen: as we mature, grow older and structure our lives, we should never lose that enthusiasm and openness to an ever greater reality.
At every moment in life, we can renew our youthfulness. When I began my ministry as Pope, the Lord broadened my horizons and granted me renewed youth. The same thing can happen to a couple married for many years, or to a monk in his monastery. Growing older means preserving and cherishing the most precious things about our youth, but it also involves having to purify those things that are not good and receiving new gifts from God so we can develop the things that really matter.
At times, a certain inferiority complex can make you overlook your flaws and weaknesses, but that can hold you back from growth in maturity. Instead, let yourself be loved by God, for he loves you just as you are. He values and respects you, but he also keeps offering you more: more of his friendship, more fervour in prayer, more hunger for his word, more longing to receive Christ in the Eucharist, more desire to live by his Gospel, more inner strength, more peace and spiritual joy. Becoming a saint means becoming more fully yourself, becoming what the Lord wished to dream and create, and not a photocopy.
Your life ought to be a prophetic stimulus to others and leave a mark on this world, the unique mark that only you can leave. Whereas if you simply copy someone else, you will deprive this earth, and heaven too, of something that no one else can offer. Your spiritual growth is expressed above all by your growth in fraternal, generous and merciful love. Yet we can also experience ecstasy when we recognize in others their hidden beauty, their dignity and their grandeur as images of God and children of the Father. The Holy Spirit wants to make us come out of ourselves, to embrace others with love and to seek their good.
That is why it is always better to live the faith together and to show our love by living in community and sharing with other young people our affection, our time, our faith and our troubles. The Church offers many different possibilities for living our faith in community, for everything is easier when we do it together. There are times when all our youthful energy, dreams and enthusiasm can flag because we are tempted to dwell on ourselves and our problems, our hurt feelings and our grievances. You will grow old before your time.
Each age has its beauty, and the years of our youth need to be marked by shared ideals, hopes and dreams, great horizons that we can contemplate together. God loves the joy of young people. May your youthful spontaneity increasingly find expression in fraternal love and a constant readiness to forgive, to be generous, and to build community. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of fraternity. At times, seeing a world so full of violence and selfishness, young people can be tempted to withdraw into small groups, shunning the challenges and issues posed by life in society and in the larger world.
They may feel that they are experiencing fraternity and love, but their small group may in fact become nothing other than an extension of their own ego.
This is even more serious if they think of the lay vocation simply as a form of service inside the Church: serving as lectors, acolytes, catechists, and so forth. They forget that the lay vocation is directed above all to charity within the family and to social and political charity. It is a concrete and faith-based commitment to the building of a new society. Social enmity, on the other hand, is destructive. Families are destroyed by enmity. Countries are destroyed by enmity. The world is destroyed by enmity. And the greatest enmity of all is war. If, as a result of our own simple and at times costly efforts, we can find points of agreement amid conflict, build bridges and make peace for the benefit of all, then we will experience the miracle of the culture of encounter.
This is something which young people can dare to pursue with passion. Alongside some who are indifferent, there are many others who are ready to commit themselves to initiatives of volunteer work, active citizenship and social solidarity. They need to be accompanied and encouraged to use their talents and skills creatively, and to be encouraged to take up their responsibilities. Very often, they come to realize that there they receive much more than what they give.
We grow in wisdom and maturity when we take the time to touch the suffering of others. The poor have a hidden wisdom and, with a few simple words, they can help us discover unexpected values. Other young people take part in social programmes that build houses for the homeless, or reclaim contaminated areas or offer various kinds of assistance to the needy. It would be helpful if this shared energy could be channelled and organized in a more stable way and with clear goals, so as to be even more effective. University students can apply their knowledge in an interdisciplinary way, together with young people of other churches or religions, in order to propose solutions to social problems.
As in the miracle of Jesus, the bread and the fish provided by young people can multiply cf. As in the parable, the small seeds sown by young people can yield a rich harvest cf. All of this has its living source in the Eucharist, in which our bread and our wine are transformed to grant us eternal life. Young people face immense and difficult challenges.
following jesus from his birth through his death and his resurrection Manual
Mercy, creativity and hope make life grow. I have been following news reports of the many young people throughout the world who have taken to the streets to express the desire for a more just and fraternal society. Young people taking to the streets! The young want to be protagonists of change.
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Please, do not leave it to others to be protagonists of change. You are the ones who hold the future!
Through you, the future enters into the world. I ask you also to be protagonists of this transformation.
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You are the ones who hold the key to the future! Continue to fight apathy and to offer a Christian response to the social and political troubles emerging in different parts of the world.