In an intense ceremony marked by the presence of thousands of young people waving palms, Pope John Paul II called on young people this Palm Sunday, on the occasion of World Youth Day, to not be afraid of preaching the cross of Christ to the world.
“On the cross, Jesus dies for each one us. The Cross is, therefore, the greatest and most eloquent sign of his merciful love, the only sign of salvation for each generation and for all humanity,” said the Pope.
The Holy Father recalled that twenty years ago, “at the conclusion of the Holy Year of Redemption, I entrusted young people with the great Cross of that Jubilee.” “Since then, the cross continues to travel across the world, in preparation for the World Youth Days. Its journeys have taken it to the five continents. Like a torch passed from one hand to another, it has been transported from one country to the next. It has become the luminous sign of the trust that animates the young generations of the third millennium."
John Paul later told the young people that “as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the extraordinary spiritual adventure, let me repeat the same appeal I gave you then: ‘I entrust to you the Cross of Christ! Carry it to the world as a sign of the love of the Lord Jesus for humanity, and announce to all that only in Christ died and risen is there salvation and redemption.”
The Pope underscored that “the message that the Cross communicates is not easy to comprehend in our age, in which material well-being and comfort are proposed and sought after as the primary values.” “But you, dear young people, do not be afraid to proclaim, in every circumstance, the Gospel of the Cross.”
“Do not be afraid to go against the current!,” the Pope concluded.