The Holy Father, Pope Francis in Loreto, at the shrine of the Holy House, on 25 March, Solemnity of Annunciation of the Lord, in the year 2019, the seventh of his pontificate gave to the young People and to the entire People of God Christus Vivit: Christ is Alive. This phrase is seen at very first line of the document. (CV1)
The document stresses that Christ is in us, with us and he never abandons us (CV 2). In fact, the document seems to suggest that the young and everyone must walk with Christ and live with Christ. Christus Vivit is the fruit of the synod of bishops held in Rome last year October to deliberate on “young people, the faith and vocational discernment”. The document has nine (9) chapters and nine titles with 49 subtitles and 299 paragraphs.
The Pontiff indicates his deep affection for the ‘little ones’: the young, the poor, the marginalized, migrants, refugees to mention but few. He states clearly in the introduction to the document “With great affection, I address this apostolic Exhortation to all Christian young people. It is meant to remind you of certain convictions born of our faith, and at the same time to encourage you to grow in holiness and in commitment to your personal vocation”.
The Pontiff also indicated that since it is a synodal process he addresses this document to the entire people of God because all has the challenge to reflect on the young and for the young. (CV3)
A careful study of the document shows how it touches on theological, scriptural, ecclesial, ecumenical, cultural, sociological, technological, economical, vocational and youthful themes. It is really a document which is youth friendly and apt for our age and time.
This is exhibited by the simple language or the language of the young people that the Holy Father uses. Honestly the Pontiff sounds young and at the same time he sounds like a passionate Father speaking to touch the heart of the young people.
I want to journey with you through this rich and timely document. I do not intend to give a thorough exposition. My aim is to introduce you to the document by scratching the surface and whetting your appetite to read, to study it and implement what is in it “ASAP” (As Soon AS Possible). Like the Pontiff and like the document I would sound young in my presentation so pardon me. I would look the first three chapters together; then the second three chapters and the final three chapters. In a span of three months I hope we would have been able to achieve a lot together.
In the very chapter of the document the Pontiff under the heading “What does the word of God have to say about young people?” presents how God regards young ones. As if to say that God highly regards young ones, the Holy Father begins by looking at the young people in the Holy Scriptures: The Old Testament and New Testament.
Under this one really understands that the old cannot be separated from the new. This holds true with the statement of St. Augustine that the New Testament lies hidden in the Old Testament. The document highlights on Young people in the Old Testament like Joseph whom God showed him great things in dreams(Gen 37-47)
Gideon who is frank and not use to sugar- coating reality(Jdg. 6:14); Samuel whom the Lord spoke to though young(1sam 3:9-10); King David who was chosen while still a boy(1 Sam 16:6-13); Solomon also chosen while still young(1kg 3:7) ;the Jewish girl of the foreign commander Naaman who intervened with faith and helped him to be cured of his illness(cf 2kg 5:2-6) and Ruth a model of generosity(Ruth1:1-18).
From the New Testament the Pontiff highlights the young people like the prodigal son a model of one who is ready to change, to turn back, get up and learn from life; Jesus as a model for the young and his messages on the young; and the group of wise young women who were ready and waiting while others were distracted and slumbering(Mt. 25: 1-13). These and subsequent ones in the document shed light on the young ones…….
By: Rev. Fr. Alphonse Bulloro // Radio Angelus