“Young people from all parts of the world are gathering for the World Youth Day. With their gifts of intelligence and heart they represent the future of the world. But they also bear the marks of a humanity that too often does not know peace, or justice. Too many lives begin and end without joy, without hope. That is one of the principal reasons for the World Youth Day. Young people are coming together to commit themselves, in the strength of their faith in Jesus Christ, to the great cause of peace and human solidarity. In a world of great social and ethical strains, and confusion about the very purpose of life, Canadians have an incomparable treasure to contribute — on condition that they preserve what is deep, and good and valid in their own heritage. I pray that the World Youth Day will offer all Canadians an opportunity to remember the values that are essential to good living and to human happiness.”
“To all of you I say: may your contacts with your pastors help you to discover and appreciate more and more the beauty of the Church, experienced as missionary communion. …I have imagined you on a journey, walking in the shadow of the jubilee cross, on this great youth pilgrimage which, moving from continent to continent, is eager to hold the whole world in a close embrace of faith and hope. I invite you then to make the various activities of this World Youth Day which is just beginning a special time when each of you listens attentively to the Lord, with a willing and generous heart, in order to become the "salt of the earth and light of the world." Dear young people, many and enticing are the voices that call out to you from all sides: many of these voices speak to you of a joy that can be had with money, with success, with power. Mostly they propose a joy that comes with the superficial and fleeting pleasure of the senses. People are made for happiness. Rightly, then, you thirst for happiness. Christ has the answer to this desire of yours. But he asks you to trust him. True joy is a victory, something which cannot be obtained without a long and difficult struggle. Christ holds the secret of this victory. Gathered around the Lord's cross, we look to Him: Jesus did not limit himself to proclaiming the beatitudes, he lived them! Looking at his life anew, re-reading the Gospel, we marvel: the poorest of the poor, the most gentle among the meek, the person with the purest and most merciful heart is none other than Jesus. The beatitudes are nothing more than the description of a face, his face! At the same time, the beatitudes describe what a Christian should be: they are the portrait of Jesus' disciple, the picture of those who have accepted the Kingdom of God and want their life to be in tune with the demands of the Gospel. To these Jesus speaks, calling them "blessed." The joy promised by the beatitudes is the very joy of Jesus himself: a joy sought and found in obedience to the Father and in the gift of self to others. Young people of Canada, of America and of every part of the world! By looking at Jesus you will learn what it means to be poor in spirit, meek and merciful; what it means to seek justice, to be pure in heart, to be peacemakers. With your gaze set firmly on him, you will discover the path of forgiveness and reconciliation in a world often laid waste by violence and terror. Dear friends, the Church today looks to you with confidence and expects you to be the people of the beatitudes. Today he calls you to be the salt and light of the world, to choose goodness, to live in justice to become instruments of love and peace. His call has always demanded a choice between good and evil, between light and darkness, between life and death. He makes the same invitation today to you who are gathered here on the shores of Lake Ontario. What call will those on early morning watch choose to follow? To believe in Jesus is to accept what he says, even when it runs contrary to what others are saying. It means rejecting the lure of sin, however attractive it may be, in order to set out on the difficult path of the Gospel virtues. Young people listening to me, answer the Lord with strong and generous hearts! He is counting on you. Never forget: Christ needs you to carry out his plan of salvation! Christ needs your youth and your generous enthusiasm to make his proclamation of joy resound in the new millennium. Answer his call by placing your lives at his service in your brothers and sisters! Trust Christ, because he trusts you.” Prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, proclaim once more your beatitudes in the presence of these young people, gathered in Toronto for the World Youth Day. Look upon them with love and listen to their young hearts, ready to put their future on the line for you. You have called them to be the "salt of the earth and light of the world." Continue to teach them the truth and beauty of the vision that you proclaimed on the mountain. Make them men and women of the beatitudes! Let the light of your wisdom shine upon them, so that in word and deed they may spread in the world the light and salt of the Gospel. Make their whole life a bright reflection of you, who are the true light that came into this world so that whoever believes in you will not die, but will have eternal life.”
“I invite you to be the voice of the young people of the whole world, to express their joys, their disappointments, their hopes. Look to Jesus, the living one, and repeat what the apostles asked: ``Lord, teach us how to pray." Prayer will be the salt that gives flavour to your lives, and leads you to Him, humanity's true light. …And I imagined the World Youth Days as a powerful moment in which the young people of the world could meet Christ, who is eternally young, and could learn from him how to be bearers of the Gospel to other young people. This evening, together with you, I praise God and give thanks to him for the gift bestowed on the Church through the World Youth Days. Millions of young people have taken part, and as a result have become better and more committed Christian witnesses. I am especially thankful to you, who have responded to my invitation to come here to Toronto in order to "tell the world of the happiness you have found in meeting Jesus Christ, of your desire to know him better, of how you are committed to proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the ends of the earth." The question that arises is dramatic: on what foundations must we build the new historical era that is emerging from the great transformations of the 20th century? Is it enough to rely on the technological revolution now taking place, which seems to respond only to criteria of productivity and efficiency, without reference to the individual's spiritual dimension or to any universally shared ethical values?... The question will not go away: on what foundations, on what certainties should we build our lives and the life of the community to which we belong? Dear friends, spontaneously in your hearts, in the enthusiasm of your young years you know the answer, and you are saying it through your presence here this evening: Christ alone is the cornerstone on which it is possible solidly to build one's existence. Only Christ — known, contemplated and loved — is the faithful friend who never lets us down, who becomes our traveling companion, and whose words warm our hearts. …Moved not by fear or violence but by the urgency of genuine love, they must learn to build, brick by brick, the city of God within the city of man. Allow me, dear young people, to consign this hope of mine to you — you must be those "builders." You are the men and women of tomorrow. The future is in your hearts and in your hands. God is entrusting to you the task, at once difficult and uplifting, of working with him in the building of the civilization of love. Dear young people, let yourselves be taken over by the light of Christ, and spread that light wherever you are. "The light of the countenance of Jesus — says the catechism of the Catholic Church — illumines the eyes of our heart and teaches us to see everything in the light of his truth and his compassion for all." If your friendship with Christ, your knowledge of his mystery, your giving of yourselves to him, are genuine and deep, you will be ``children of the light," and you will become "the light of the world." Do not wait until you are older in order to set out on the path of holiness. Holiness is always youthful, just as eternal is the youthfulness of God. Communicate to everyone the beauty of the contact with God that gives meaning to your lives. In the quest for justice, in the promotion of peace, in your commitment to brotherhood and solidarity, let no one surpass you. How beautiful the song that we have been hearing during these days: "Light of the world. Salt of the earth.”
“Dear young people of the seventeenth World Youth Day, dear brothers and sisters, the world you are inheriting is a world, which desperately needs a new sense of brotherhood and human solidarity. It is a world, which needs to be touched and healed by the beauty and richness of God's love. It needs witnesses to that love. It needs you — to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Salt is used to preserve and keep. As apostles for the Third Millennium, your task is to preserve and keep alive the awareness of the presence of our Savior Jesus Christ, especially in the celebration of the eucharist, the memorial of his saving death and glorious resurrection. Salt seasons and improves the flavour of food. Following Jesus, you have to change and improve the "taste" of human history. Even a tiny flame lifts the heavy lid of night. How much more light will you make, all together, if you bond as one in the communion of the church! If you love Jesus, love the church! Do not be discouraged by the sins and fallings of some of her members. …But think of the vast majority of dedicated and generous priests and religious whose only wish is to serve and do good! There are many priests, seminarians and consecrated persons here today; be close to them and support them! And if, in the depths of your hearts, you feel the same call to the priesthood or consecrated life, do not be afraid to follow Christ on the royal road of the cross! At difficult moments in the church's life, the pursuit of holiness becomes even more urgent. O Lord Jesus Christ, keep these young people in your love. Let them hear your voice and believe what you say, for you alone have the words of life. Teach them how to profess their faith, bestow their love, and impart their hope to others. Make them convincing witnesses to your Gospel in a world so much in need of your saving grace. Make them the new people of the Beatitudes, that they may be the salt of the earth and the light of the world at the beginning of the Third Christian Millennium! Mary, Mother of the church, protect and guide these young men and women of the 21st century. Keep us all close to your maternal heart. Amen.”
This World Youth Day must mark a reawakening of pastoral attention to the young in Canada. May the enthusiasm of this moment be the spark that is needed to launch a new era of powerful witness to the gospel! My wish for all of you who are here is that the commitments you have made during these days of faith and celebration will bring forth abundant fruits of dedication and witness. May you always treasure the memory of Toronto! As we prepare to return home, I say, in the words of Saint Augustine; "We have been happy together in the light we have shared. We have really enjoyed being together. We have really rejoiced, but as we leave one another, let us not leave Him" (In lo.ev. tr., 35,9).