Pope Francis reflected on the experience of World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro as he addressed the crowds of pilgrims present for his weekly General Audience on Wednesday. “Three words: hospitality, celebration and mission. These words are not only a reminder of what happened in Rio, they are also the soul of our lives and of our communities that help to build a world of greater justice and solidarity,” the Pontiff declared, using the occasion of the first papal General Audience of the new season after the summer break to reflect on the meaning of the World Youth Day Pilgrimage to the former Brazilian capital.
“We think about the meaning of the crowd of youths that met the risen Christ in Rio de Janeiro and who carry their love to the life of others each day, they live it, they communicate it. They aren’t going to appear in newspapers, just because they don’t do violent or scandalous things, they are not news,” said the Pope. “But if they stay united to Jesus, build up his Kingdom, build fraternity and sharing, they are a potential force to make the world more just and beautiful, to transform it!” The Holy Father said that “the true, great story of the news, the Good News, although it does not appear in newspapers or television: we are loved by God, who is our Father, and that he has sent his Son Jesus to be close to each of us and to save us.”
“He sent Jesus to save us, to forgive us all, because he always forgives: He always forgives, because he is good and merciful,” Francis taught. The Pope said that he is thankful that his first apostolic voyage as Pontiff was to Latin America. “For me, coming from the Americas, it was a beautiful gift! The reception by Brazilian families and parishes was one of the nicest features of this World Youth Day. Good people, these Brazilians. Good people!," said the Pope. “They have a great heart.”