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Pope John Paul II’s 2002 WYD homily

April 28, 2011

Gabriel Bouys, AFP/Getty Images

As Sunday approaches for Pope John Paul II’s beatification, I am reflecting upon his past words that still strike a chord in my heart. I miss him greatly. I know his prayers has led me back to the Church after wandering in the desert. Here is an excerpt of his homily in Toronto, Downsview Park, Sunday July 28, 2002 that I’ve read for the first time:

The “spirit of the world” offers many false illusions and parodies of happiness. There is perhaps no darkness deeper than the darkness that enters young people’s souls when false prophets extinguish in them the light of faith and hope and love. The greatest deception, and the deepest source of unhappiness, is the illusion of finding life by excluding God, of finding freedom by excluding moral truths and personal responsibility.

The Lord is calling you to choose between these two voices competing for your souls [...]

Although I have lived through much darkness, under harsh totalitarian regimes, I have seen enough evidence to be unshakably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young. You are our hope, the young are our hope. [...]

Do not let that hope die! Stake your lives on it! We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.

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