Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Love Is Life's Purpose, Pope Says

Palm Sunday Homily Directed to Youth

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 1, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The purpose of life does not consist in making money but in love and in truth, Benedict XVI explained during his Palm Sunday homily.

Addressing around 50,000 young people today, the Pope advised them "to not be satisfied with what everyone thinks, says and does. Be attentive to God, seek God." The youth were celebrating diocesan-level World Youth Day, held today.

The Holy Father began Holy Week with a procession of palms in a St. Peter's Square adorned with olive tree branches from the region of Puglia in Italy.

This procession, the Pontiff explained, "is above all a joyous testimony that we give to Christ, in whom the face of God is made visible to us and thanks to whom the heart of God is open to all of us."

Following Christ

"What does 'the following of Christ' mean concretely?" Benedict XVI asked in his homily.

"It has to do with an interior change of life," he answered. "It demands that I no longer be closed in considering my self-realization as the principal purpose of my life."

The Pope continued: "What we are talking about here is the fundamental decision to no longer consider utility and gain, career and success as the ultimate goal of my life, but to recognize truth and love instead as the authentic criteria.

"We are talking about the choice between living for myself and giving myself � for what is greater. And let us understand that truth and love are not abstract values; in Jesus Christ they have become a person. Following him, I enter into the service of truth and love. Losing myself, I find myself."

At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in seven languages. In English he said: "May the great events of Holy Week, in which we see love unfold in its most radical form, inspire you to be courageous 'witnesses of charity' for your friends, your communities and our world."

At the end of Mass, the Pontiff entered the Apostolic Palace and, to the surprise of all those present, appeared at the window of his private study to impart his benediction. "Benedetto!" shouted the young people during the applause.

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