3. Today in this Square, there are many young people: for twenty-eight years Palm Sunday has been World Youth Day!  This is our third word: youth!  Dear young people, I saw you in the procession as you were coming in; I think of you celebrating around Jesus, waving your olive branches.  I think of you crying out his name and expressing your joy at being with him!  You have an important part in the celebration of faith!  You bring us the joy of faith and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart, always: a young heart, even at the age of seventy or eighty.  Dear young people!  With Christ, the heart never grows old!  Yet all of us, all of you know very well that the King whom we follow and who accompanies us is very special: he is a King who loves even to the Cross and who teaches us to serve and to love.  And you are not ashamed of his Cross!  On the contrary, you embrace it, because you have understood that it is in giving ourselves, in giving ourselves, in emerging from ourselves that we have true joy and that, with his love, God conquered evil.  You carry the pilgrim Cross through all the Continents, along the highways of the world!  You carry it in response to Jesus’ call: “Go, make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), which is the theme of World Youth Day this year.  You carry it so as to tell everyone that on the Cross Jesus knocked down the wall of enmity that divides people and nations, and he brought reconciliation and peace.  Dear friends, I too am setting out on a journey with you, starting today, in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI.  We are already close to the next stage of this great pilgrimage of the Cross.  I look forward joyfully to next July in Rio de Janeiro!  I will see you in that great city in Brazil!  Prepare well – prepare spiritually above all – in your communities, so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world.  Young people must say to the world: to follow Christ is good; to go with Christ is good; the message of Christ is good; emerging from ourselves, to the ends of the earth and of existence, to take Jesus there, is good!  Three words, then: joy, Cross, young. 



Let us ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary.  She teaches us the joy of meeting Christ, the love with which we must look to the foot of the Cross, the enthusiasm of the young heart with which we must follow him during this Holy Week and throughout our lives.  May it be so.



Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homily of Pope  Francis I, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.

30 March 2013

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6 April 2013


Extracted from the book of Exodus 12:1-8,11-14:


The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:


              ‘This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say,


“On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires.


You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal.


It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats.


You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings.


Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten.


That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. You shall eat it hastily: it is a Passover in honour of the Lord.


That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt, I am the Lord!


The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt.


This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.”’


You asked, ‘What happened next?”


The Answer: Only the people of God had marks of sheep’s / goat’s blood on the doorposts and the lintels of their houses. Thus the marks of the blood were used to identify them from their oppressors – the Egyptians and all that belong to them.


At midnight, “Yahweh struck down all the first-born in Egypt from the first-born of Pharaoh, heir to his throne, to the first-born of the prisoner in the dungeon, and the first-born of all the livestock.” (Exodus 12:29) (see Encouragements-6-Part2). This was the punishment to the Egyptians who stubbornly held the people of God in bondage/ oppression and refused to let them go…


As the blood of the animal had saved the people from physical death, so the Blood of Jesus Christ (the perfect and sinless Lamb of God sacrificed on the Cross), marks on each Christian who cooperates with Grace, lives uprightly and receives Him faithfully in his lifetime, would save one from eternal death and be assured of eternal happiness with Him forever in heaven.


Psalm 116:12-13,15-18

The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ.


How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me?

The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord’s name.


O precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful.

Your servant, Lord, your servant am I; you have loosened my bonds.


A thanksgiving sacrifice I make; I will call on the Lord’s name.

My vows to the Lord I will fulfill before all his people.

Extracted from the holy Gospel according to John 13:1-15:


It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father.


He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.


              They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him.


Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing.


He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’


‘Never!’ said Peter ‘You shall never wash my feet.’


Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.’


‘Then, Lord,’ said Simon Peter ‘not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’


Jesus said, ‘No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.’ He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, ‘though not all of you are.’


              When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’ he said ‘what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’




It was Maundy Thursday on 28 March 2013, the Universal Church celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper in the evening. Here are the Readings being read in Holy Mass all over the world:


1st Reading: Exodus 12:1-8,11-14 (see above),


Responsorial: Psalm 116:12-13,15-18 (see above),


2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (see Encouragements-10) &


Gospel Reading: John 13:1-15 (see above).


We have extracted the Homilies of Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis I based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you so that you could similarly be encouraged:





Holy Thursday, 8 April 2004


1. "He loved them to the end" (John 13: 1).


Before celebrating the last Passover with his disciples, Jesus washed their feet. With an act that was normally done by a servant, he wanted to impress upon the Apostles' minds a sense of what was about to take place.


Indeed, his passion and death constitute the fundamental loving service through which the Son of God set humanity free from sin. At the same time, Christ's passion and death reveal the profound meaning of the new commandment that he entrusted to the Apostles: "even as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (John 13: 34).