KRAKOW, Poland—The head of the Archdiocese of Manila called on the world’s young people to show mercy in everyday life, saying “now is the time for mercy.”
Speaking before World Youth Day (WYD) audience on Wednesday morning, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said Pope Francis is calling on the faithful to be authentic witnesses to God’s mercy.
“Today mercy is fulfilled in our homes. Find avenues to make everyday an experience of mercy. You do not need big and extravagant events for mercy,” he said.
“Every moment, every moment, you should be able to say: with Jesus and only Jesus today, this message of mercy is fulfilled in your home,” said the prelate, who also heads Caritas Internationalis, an umbrella group for 165 Catholic relief, development and social-service organizations operating in over 200 countries.
The cardinal was speaking in one of several WYD catechetical sessions held outside the Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Poland’s city of Wadowice, where Saint John Paul II grew up.
Saint John Paul II left a legacy for the youth in his institution of WYD 30 years ago as pope, inviting the youth as Christ’s disciples to be faithful witnesses.
More than 300,000 people attended the WYD opening Mass in Krakow’s Błonia Park on Tuesday, including cardinals and bishops from all over the world. Underlining that the WYD pilgrims had traveled from many different places, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow welcomed everyone in six languages.
“From today we will speak to one another in the language of the Gospel…the language of brotherhood, solidarity and peace,” the prelate said.
Persecution of Christians
He pointed out that some of the pilgrims who had come to Krakow were from regions of the world that enjoyed prosperity. But “among us,” Dziwisz added, “are also young people from countries whose people are suffering due to wars and other kinds of conflicts, where children are starving to death and where Christians are brutally persecuted.”
“Among us are young pilgrims from parts of the world that are ruled by violence and blind terrorism, and where authorities usurp power over man and nations, following insane ideologies,” he added.
From Rome, Francis has also arrived in Krakow on Wednesday afternoon, a visit eagerly awaited by pilgrims gathered for the WYD that runs until Sunday.
‘Only the wounded can give mercy’
In simple, yet clear, language, a bishop told young people that it is precisely one’s hurts, suffering and pain that makes one capable of showing mercy to others.
“No one can share mercy except through his or her wounds…. No one can share God’s mercy apart from his or her wounds. You cannot love as Jesus loves unless in some way He asks from you a lot,” Bridgeport Bishop Frank Joseph Caggiano said during a WYD catechesis in the parish of Saint Bartolomeo in Mogilany, a town south of Krakow.
“Only wounded hearts are capable of loving. And the truth is… we are all wounded by our sins, our faults, mistakes, things we have done. And those things once they are forgiven and healed…they are still there. But they make us more loving, compassionate and merciful.”
Roy Lagarde and Maria Go/CBCPNews