S. John Paul II Homil. 525





Stockholm (Sweden)

Thursday,8 June 1989

We hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God (Ac 2,11).

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

1. On Pentecost day, the apostles who had gathered together in the Upper Room in Jerusalem “were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ibid. 2, 4). A sound was heard “like the rush of a mighty wind” (Ibid. 2, 2), and over the heads of those present there appeared “tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them” (Ibid. 2, 3). Among these miraculous signs, however, one is especially striking. We are told that nearby there were many people from different lands of the Mediterranean world and the Near East, each of whom heard the apostles speaking in his own tongue.What united these various languages was the truth spoken by the apostles under the influence of the Spirit, the Paraclete. It was the truth of “the mighty works of God”.

This event is the most important sign of “the miracle of Pentecost”. It shows the Church in her unity: a unity that embraces diversity and that is verified in diversity. The variety of languages represents “every nation under heaven” (Ac 2,5) to which the apostles were sent by Christ when he ascended from this world to the Father. Arising from the foundation of the apostolic witness to the Crucified and Risen Christ, the Church will always be a unity in diversity.

2. [Text in Swedish]

Mina kära bröder och systrar!

Det är en stor glädje för mig att fa vara här i Globen. Fran hela Sverige och fran manga delar av världen har ni kommit för att närvara idag. Ni har samlats som Guds folk, som bröder och systrar i Kristus för att inspirerade av den helige Ande fira mässen tillsammans. Ma Herren vara med oss i detta firande och ma vi genom hans moderns förböner komma närmare den ende sanne Guden.

526 Jag vill vända mig till det svenska folket som sa varmt har tagit emot manga människor fran olika delar av världen och till de svenska katolikerna, som är grundstenarna i den katolska kyrkan i Sverige. Jag hälsar ocksa representanterna för den Kungliga Familjen, för regeringen, Svenska kyrkan, de olika fria samfunden, Svenska Ekumeniska Nämnden och den diplomatiska karen.

To the many of you who are immigrants I offer a special greeting in the Lord: Peace be with you.

La paz esté con vosotros
La pace sia con voi
A Paz esteja convosco
Mir s vama
Béke veletek!
Bình an o cùng anh chi em
Pokój Wam!

[Text in Spanish]

Quiero dirigir un saludo especial a los españoles y a los latinoamericanos aquí presentes que han encontrado en Suecia su nuevo país. Os animo a mantener vuestra fe y a compartir con vuestros amigos los valores cristianos permanentes que vosotros vivís en vuestra vida familiar.

527 [Text in Croatian]

Mir s vama! Dragim mojim Hrvatima srdacan pozdrav i vama izseljenicima! Našli u Švedsko j svoj dom i ostanite vjerni vjeri otaca i Crkve, što je casni dio vaše stoljetne kulture i kršcanstva.

[Text in Polish]

Pokój wam!

Zwracam sie do moich rodaków z tym pozdrowieniem Chrystusa Zmartwychwstalego: Pokój wam! Jest to pozdrowienie liturgii Kosciola. Zwracam sie w tych slowach do was tu obecnych, do wszystkich, którzy znajduja sie na szlaku moich odwiedzin i do wszystkich, którzy zyja w Szwecji, a takze w innych krajach skandynawskich.

Moi drodzy Bracia i Siostry! Obraliscie ten kraj jako druga ojczyzne dla was, dla waszych dzieci i wouków. Stanowicie juz czesc tego spoleczenstwa, w które stopniowo wchodzicie, i stanowicie czesc Kosciola na tych ziemiach. Jestescie – razem z innymi bracmi i siostrami – tym Kosciolem! Jest toKosciól maly, jak owo ewangeliczne ziarno gorczyczne. Sklada sie przewaznie z przybyszów.

Losy tego Kosciola w bliskim juz trzecim tysiacleciu, zaleza takze od was. Nosicie w sobie milenijne dziedzictwo ochrzczonego narodu. Owoc laski, ofiary, modlitwy, cierpienia oraz zwyciestw naszych przodków, a takze naszego pokolenia. Pamietajcie o tych, którzy zyja w Polsce – pamietajcie i te swiadomosc przekazujcie mlodemu pokoleniu.

Nie czujcie sie opuszczeni. Odbudowujcie i budujcie wasze zycie w oparciu o to, co wam tu ofiarowuja. Wspólpracujcie w tworzeniu i pomnazaniu wspólnego dobra tego kraju. W ten sposób takze przysluzycie sie naszej Ojczyznie nad Wisla.

Budujcie jednosc Kosciola, budujcie jego przyszlosc. Pokój Chrystusa Zmartwychwstalego niech bedzie z wami: w waszych sercach i myslach, w waszych rodzinach i srodowiskach, w calym spoleczenstwie.

To klade na wasze serca i sumienia, jako ludzkie i chrzescijaniskie powolanie oraz odpowiedzialnosc.

Takie tez jest moje najlepsze zyczenie dla was wszystkich, tu zgromadzonych, i dla wszystkich Polaków w Szwecji i w Skandynawii. Serdecznie was blogoslawie.

528 All of you who are immigrants can be grateful that your Swedishborn brothers and sisters have welcomed you in a true spirit of Christian fellowship and love. What is needed now is for all Catholics in Sweden to work together for the common good of the Church. The one Body of Christ must be built up out of the rich diversity of Swedish culture and the new contributions of the various ethnic groups. The diversity of the Church is that of nations, peoples, cultures and social groups in different periods of history; our unity is a “mighty work of God”, the work of truth, which is also the source of new life for man.

3. The readings of today’s liturgy contrast two events: Pentecost in Jerusalem, which marks the birth of the Church, and the biblical Tower of Babel, which is described in the Book of Genesis. The Tower of Babel symbolizes the disintegration of unity, humanity’s loss of a common language. Unity had given way to division. Pentecost, on the other hand, symbolizes a new search for unity in diversity and through diversity. We see that differences of language need not lead to the scattering of humanity. Amid the variety of tongues we can attain unity when people are united in the truth, and above all when they are united in an awareness of “ the mighty works of God ”.

These “mighty works” reveal to us the great mystery of communion within God, a communion which is the ultimate source of our unity with one another. Through Christ we come to know that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are a Trinity of divine persons, united in one nature from all eternity. It is precisely this communion of persons which is the primary source and model for the Church.

Quoting Saint Cyprian, the Second Vatican Council says that the universal Church is “a people brought into unity from the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” (Lumen Gentium
LG 4). We see this in Christ’s prayer in the Upper Room on the eve of his Passion: “That they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Jn 17,21). Communion with God and with one another is therefore the ultimate vocation of the Church. It is an invitation addressed to Christians in every age in the midst of their historical divisions.

This call to unity also extends to the whole human family. The division and antagonisms symbolized by the Tower of Babel must be overcome within the temporal order too. Unity must be built out of the rich diversity of the human race so that the invitation of Pentecost may triumph in history. For the “mighty works of God” not only give rise to the Church; they are also inscribed deep within man and in all of his work.

4. Today’s liturgy shows how each of us and indeed every Christian must respond to the invitation of Pentecost and act upon it. In the Gospel Christ speaks of this through the images of “salt” and “light”. His words to his followers are also addressed to us, the disciples of today: “You are the salt of the earth... You are the light of the world” (Mt 5,13-14). Light is needed so that “the mighty works of God” can be seen. We need the “enlightened eyes of faith” (Cfr. Eph Ep 1,18) to see these works within the depths of our personal “I”. The light of apostolic testimony is also necessary, so that “the things of God” can be seen. We need the these things can speak to people, enter their minds and hearts and “give light to all” (Cfr. Mt 5,15). The “salt of the earth” is also needed. Salt signifies consistency between faith and works. It signifies an inner Christian unity. It signifies the spiritual maturity of those born from an awareness of “the mighty works of God”.

The images of salt and light apply to each of us as individuals. They refer to the fundamental diversity of the Church and of the human family, which embraces a variety of persons. In the end, diversity is determined by the fact that every individual’s life is unique and unrepeatable. At the same time each of us is called to be salt and light “for others” and “with others” so that unity will be built out of diversity, so that people will join together, so that the life of the Church and of the human community will take on a likeness to the unity which is God himself: the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

5. The “mighty works of God” not only call us to faith in God and obedience to his law; they also reveal the greatness of man, the dignity and transcendent vocation of every human person. Love of God and neighbour is what makes us “salt” and “light”. This love is the true measure of all human development for the individual and for society.

Dear brothers and sisters: we must never allow material things to take precedence over God or other human beings. No human theory, project or purpose can ever be pursued at the cost of the loving obedience we owe to God and the loving respect we owe to others.

No economic or technological consideration should be the decisive norm for the way that we treat others. This applies to every human person: to the unborn child, to the elderly, to the sick and dying, to the poor, to those who are different from us because of race or culture.

Those of you who have come to Sweden from other countries may have experienced material poverty before settling here. The abundance of goods in your new homeland may dazzle you. Always remember that these things are valuable only to the extent that they serve the true good of the human person, both spiritually and materially. Once they become an end in themselves, or their true worth is lost sight of, you can easily be tempted to act as though people were only “things”. Keep Christ’s words before you always: “What will it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and then lose his own life?” (Mt 16,26).

529 6. The “invitation of Pentecost” and the vocation to be “salt” and “light” for the world also commit us to solidarity with others. Sweden has a well-deserved reputation for assisting developing countries and for promoting greater justice and peace in the human family. The Tower of Babel must give way to a common search for world solutions to poverty, hunger, disease, to intolerance, injustice and persecution, to violence and war, and to environmental problems. The fact that so many nationalities are represented here today – native Swedes as well as refugees and workers who have been welcomed here – shows that it is possible to live and work together.

Solidarity also calls you to promote the common good of the country and local community in which you live. Catholics and Christians of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities should be active in transforming society from within through love of God and neighbour. This requires their full participation in the social, political and cultural life of Sweden, as well as in the economic sphere, in particular the trade unions and employers’ organizations. Not only native-born Swedes but also immigrants need to take their proper place in society so that they too can make a positive contribution to the country to which they now belong.

We cannot speak of solidarity in the modern community without also mentioning family life.This is so because “it is within the family that citizens find the first school of the social virtues that are the animating principle of the existence and development of society itself” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Familiaris Consortio
FC 42). It is not always easy today for married couples to live in a lifelong covenant marked by mutual fidelity, respect and love.Nor is it always easy for Christian parents to bring up their children in the faith, teaching them – in a word – to love God above all things and to love others as themselves.

We must be ever more deeply convinced that the future of humanity comes by way of the family.Everyone should feel the need to preserve and foster the values and requirements of the family. This is especially important for the sons and daughters of the Church. Faith gives us full knowledge of God’s wonderful plan. We therefore have an extra reason to promote family life in this time of grace and challenge (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Familiaris Consortio FC 86).

7. Dear brothers and sisters, in order to accept the “invitation of Pentecost”, in order to be “salt” and “light” in bearing witness to the unity of the human race, we must live the “mighty works of God”. We do this through prayer and our reception of the sacraments, especially Penance and the Eucharist, through the example of a holy life, through self-sacrifice and active charity (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 10).

In this way “the miracle of Pentecost” abides and grows here among you, the beloved sons and daughters of Sweden:

The “mighty works of God” draw near.
They touch the human heart.
They form the Church.
They serve the good of the human community.

And the prayer of Christ is thus fulfilled: Father, may they all be one, so that the world may believe (Cfr. Io Jn 17,21). Amen.






Uppsala (Sweden)

Friday, 9 June 1989

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Dear Parents and Children,

[Text in Swedish]

1. Mini Kära barn, mina systrar och bröder!

Vi befinner oss idag pa en av de platser där kristendomen tog sin, början i detta land, en plats som ansags helig redan innan kristendomen kom till Sverige. Och det är pa denna historiska mark som jag gläder mig at att möta Sveriges katolska barn och deras föräldrar. Vi är alla Guds barn och i den andan kommer vi tillsammans att fira denna mässa.

Jag vänder mig ocksa speciellt till representanterna för Svenska kyrkan och för frikyrkorna / och även till representanterna för kommunen, som har hjälpt till sa att vi kan fira denna mässa i Gamla Uppsala.

Det är med extra stor glädje som jag välkomnar alla de manga flyktingfamiljer som har kommit till denna mässa fran olika flyktingläger i landet. Det finns i Sverige manga människor som varit tvungna att lämna sina hemländer för att finna ett nytt hem här. För dem av er som nyligen tvingats lämna era länder för att i Sverige finna ett nytt hemn för er själva och era barn känns mahända smärtan särskilt stor. Lat oss tillsammans be att Gud skänker er sin frid i det land som välkomnat er.

2. As we come together to celebrate the mystery of Christ present in word and sacrament, let us reflect on the promise which is referred to in the First Reading of today’s Mass where we read that “the promise is to you and to your children” (
Ac 2,39). What is this promise?

It is the message of salvation for all people. It was preached by Christ and is still being preached by the Church through the power of the Holy Spirit. Before he ascended into heaven, Christ had assured his apostles that he would not abandon them. He promised them the gift of the Spirit, and he kept this promise! On the day of Pentecost, when the apostles had come together, “there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ibid. 2, 3-4).

531 My dear friends: the promise of salvation, handed on by the apostles, is truly meant for you and your children. You too have received the gift of the Holy Spirit as a pledge of salvation in Christ. But this gift also brings a responsibility. You are called to make promises and to keep them: the promises of your Baptism, especially as they are lived in lifelong commitments to God in marriage, the priesthood, and the religious life. Today I wish to speak to you on the vocation of marriage in particular, on parenthood and the mission of the family according to the plan of salvation.

3. As boys and girls grow into young adulthood, they are attracted to one another. They begin to share their experiences of life, their family backgrounds, their interests and their hopes for the future. Little by little a relationship of love develops and deepens, until it reaches a stage when it must be lived in the union of marriage.

In marriage, a man and a woman pledge themselves to each other in an unbreakable covenant of total mutual self-giving, and they promise to remain faithful to one another to the end, in spite of whatever difficulties may come. In this sacramental bond, a man and a woman form a union of love, a love that is not a passing emotion or infatuation, but a responsible and free decision to unite themselves completely “in good times and in bad”. It is a love to be proclaimed before the world – Good News to be shared. The marriage contract is an unconditional and enduring covenant. The love which is pledged before the altar and which is blessed in the Rite of Marriage has a stability which is not subject to change. Christian marriage is a sacrament established as such by Christ. It has the elements of the mystery of Christ’s love for his Church, the Bride of Christ (Cfr. Eph
Ep 5,32). The word “love” has a sacred meaning and in the context of Christian marriage should be used with special reverence and respect.

Love of this kind and the commitment to lifelong fidelity call for careful preparation from early childhood to wedding day. And after the wedding day, after the exchange of vows, love continues to grow and deepen; it does not diminish with the passing years. True love lasts and will not be overturned by the storms of change. The grace of God helps sustain the sacramental bonds and strengthens the couple to meet the challenges of life.

4. In God’s plan the love of husband and wife points beyond itself; new life is generated, a family is born. A family is a community of love and of life. Children express in a concrete way the love pledged at the altar. A “family” and a “home”: these are beautiful words, which evoke a sense of security and intimacy. They are words with a deep meaning which must be cherished and protected.

Being a parent brings worries and difficulties, as well as joy and fulfilment. I would remind you who are parents: your children are your great treasure. They love you very much, even if they find it hard at times to express that love. It is a sad reality that due to the pressures of work and the quickening pace of life, many parents find it increasingly difficult to give enough time to their children. I urge you today: find opportunities for talking and sharing at a deep level with your children. Do not let them become strangers living under the same roof. The years spent in the home pass so quickly. They are precious years. Every moment spent with your children will enrich them, and you in turn will find your own lives immeasurably enriched. The future of the Church, the future of humanity itself, depends in great part on the quality of family life and the closeness of family ties nurtured in the home. The greatness of this nation, and any nation, can be measured by the greatness of its families.

5. I also wish to say some words to a special group present here: to the children.

[Text in Swedish]

Kära barn!

Inte kunde väl paven komma hit ände fran Rom utan att tala om för er hur ofta han tänker pa er och pa alla andra barn i Sverige. När jag är ute och reser i olika delar av världen sa blir jag särskilt glad när jag far möta barnen. Var och en av er är Guds gava till era föräldrer. Men ert liv är pa samma gang en gava fran Gud. Ni är ocksa en gava för ert land och det är ni som är dess framtid. Ni är även en gava och en tilgang för Kyrkan, bade i er forsamling, i skolan och i era andra sselsättningar.

Jag vet att ni förstar att ni har fatt sa mycket. Det har finte alla andra barn fatt. Inte alla barn är lyckliga. Inte alla är friska, välnärda och välskötta. Jag hoppas att ni växer upp med en stark längtan att kunna fa göra nagot för dem som är mindre lyckligt lottade än ni och att ni försöker skapa en värld där det finns en varm hand för alla som behöver hjälp. Det vill Jesus att ni skall göra.

532 Och ni skall alltid, även när ni är ledsna, komma ihag att Jesus är er vän. Han bad att barnen skulle komma till honom och han visade all omsorg för dem. Eftersom han är er vän vill han att ni skall tala med honom i bön. Tänker ni pa att be för era föräldrar, era syskon och far och morföräldrar?

Tackar ni honom för all hans gavor? Vill ni be för mig ocksa?

Tack för det, och ni kan vara säkra pa att ni alltid har en plats i mitt hjärta och mina böner.

A todos los hispano-hablantes, todos los españoles, todos los latino-americanos, especialmente los chilenos aquí presentes, mis mejores deseos para ustedes, para vuestras familias. Que Dios bendiga las familias, los padres, como también los niños en todas las familias.

A teraz pragnie to samo zyczenie powtórzyc wszystkim przybyszom z Polski, zarówno tym, którzy tu juz zapuscili korzenie od dawna, jak i swiezo przybylym. Drodzy bracia i siostry, starajcie sie ze wszystkich sil zachowac, utrzymac te najswietsza, sakramentalna wiez malzenstwa i rodziny – dla was samych, dla was, mezów i zon, dla was, ojców i matek, dla waszych dzieci, dla waszych wnuków, dla przyszlosci narodu, takze i tego szwedzkiego narodu i Kosciola. Tego wam z calego serca zycze i o to sie wraz z wami i wszystkimi tu zgromadzonymi dzisiaj modle, a Msza sw. jest za rodziny. Niech bedzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.

6. Dear friends in Christ: As Christian families, parents and children together, you are sent out to bear prophetic witness, to discover with others the presence of the Holy Spirit in your lives. Your joy in receiving the Good News is great but it can be made greater by sharing it with others. Swedish Saints like Saint Birgitta and Saint Eric realized this: the Good News is meant to be shared. They took to heart this command of our Lord, and today I ask all Swedish families to do the same.

With Christ, I say first of all – “Go”! Go into the world with confidence in God’s love. For some people the world can be an empty place because they are afraid to believe in the light, love and goodness which flow from God’s grace. Go to those who are confused or who have lost their way in life, to those in despair, to those whose hearts are so filled with life’s cares or material things that there is little or no room left for God.

With Christ I also say to you: “Make disciples”. It is our privilege to point out Christ to those who are searching for him and to invite them to follow him. We should not be afraid to answer those who ask basic questions about our faith and to proclaim the Gospel by word and deed. Do not be afraid to make disciples of those who are completely indifferent to Christ and his message.

“Baptize”. Jesus has called us to membership in the Church, and he wishes us in turn to lead others to the Church. He wants all people to immerse themselves in his love, to purify themselves of their sins, to wash and become clean. He wants all to be converted and to live.

“Teach”, said Jesus. Teach one another the love that God has for each one of you. Teach by faith and example. Parents: teach your children the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus, our loving Saviour and Friend. Teach them the importance of prayer. Teach them how to pray. You are the first teachers of your children in the ways of faith and holiness. Nobody can take your place in this work.

Go make disciples, baptize and teach! This can be the basis of a vigorous family apostolate in Sweden.

533 7. On the day of Pentecost, the people were so struck with Peter’s words that they asked the apostles: “Brethren what shall we do?” (Act. 2, 37). You can ask yourselves the same question. What shall you do? You have received the Holy Spirit in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. His gifts are not meant to be hidden but to be used to further God’s Kingdom on earth. What shall you do? You have the freedom to decide. The world is waiting for your response. This can be the moment of your decision!

“The promise is for you and your children”.

The Lord has been faithful to his promises. You must be faithful to him. Go forward together in faith, hope and love, alive in the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.





Vadstena (Sweden)

Saturday, 10 June 1989

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

[Text in Swedish]

1. Kära unga vänner!

Idag befinner vi oss i den heliga Birgittas stad. Birgitta, Sveriges skyddshelgon, är en kvinna som i sitt liv förenade giftermäl, karriär och grundandet av en ny orden inom kyrkan. Birgittas systrar finns fortfarande i denna stad och i detta land.

Här i Vadstena har ni samlats, representanter för ungdomen i Norden. Det är till ungdomen jag vill rikta mig nu när jag kommit till slutet av min nordiska resa, jag vill vända mig speciellt till er som är den katolska kyrkans och andra kristna kyrkors framtid i dessa länder.

Jag vänder mig ocksä speciellt till representanterna för Linköpings stift och framför allt till dess ungdomsgrupp. Er närvaro är ett bevis för den goda ekumeniska anda som räder bland er och som vi tackar Gud för. Jag vill ocksä vända mig till representanterna för Vadstena och landshövdingen i länet.

534 2. The theme of your preparation for our meeting today has been “From the Margin to the Centre”.Like young people everywhere, you are looking for what is central and important in life. Though you may be far from a geographical centre, and some of you may even be distant as regards faith and commitment to God, you have come here because you are sincerely searching for something worthwhile on which to base your lives. You want to establish firm roots and you realize that religious faith is an important part of the fuller life you yearn for.

Let me say straight away that I understand your problems and your hopes, even though your situation differs in many ways from what your parents and I myself experienced when we were young. When I was nineteen years old, World War II broke out, and there began a period of violence and senseless killing which profoundly affected my country. At times I worried about my own safety and that of my family and friends. Some of you have yourselves experienced hardship, persecution or threats to your lives before you came to your new homes. But the majority of you have lived in the peace, freedom and security that your countries offer. Still, you know that a high standard of living does not automatically bring happiness and inner peace.

Today, young friends, I want to speak to you about the joy and peace that can be found, not in having but in being, in knowing a person and in living according to his teaching. This person is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Friend. He is the Centre, the focal point, the one who draws us together in love.

3. In the Gospel of today’s Mass, Jesus says the following words in the house of Zaccheus: “Today salvation has come to this house” (
Lc 19,9). I wish to repeat these words of Jesus in this house, in the courtyard of Vadstena Castle. For all of us – both in Sweden and in Rome – this Castle is associated with the memory of Saint Birgitta. In her lifetime Sweden was a Catholic country.

Christianity was still new to the region. Living on the far edge of the Christian world of that time she felt called by God to renew the Church, which she saw was turning away from the centre, away from Christ. She went to Rome and there she worked bravely for the unity of the Church. She was a woman strong in character, and heroic in faith, hope and love.

Together with Saint Birgitta, I wish to mention some of the first apostles and missionaries in Scandinavia and elsewhere in Northern Europe, holy men and women who were living witnesses of Christ:

[Text in Swedish]

Ni ungdomar här i Sverige, ni kommer väl ihag den heliga Birgitta, denna framstaende kvinna, och hennes förebildliga dotter Katarina. Bada tva gjorde en stor insats här i livet, ledda av sin kristna övertygelse. Även Sankt Ansgar tog sig till dessa trakter och sadde här trons första frön. Hans modiga missionsarbete har gett honom titeln "Nordens apostel". Kung Erik den nionde är er skyddspatron och en symbol för nationens enhet. Dessa män och kvinnor är en del av det arv ni fatt ta emot. Det var i Evangelierna som de upptäckte det stora äventyret, och de lät det styra hela deras liv. Ma ni ga och göra likaledes, styrkta av deras förböner.

[Text in Finnish]

Tervehdin suomalaisia nuoria, jotka ovat tulleet tänne viettämään juhlahetkeä paavin kanssa. Pyhä Henrik, teidän suojeluspyhimyksenne, muistuttaa teitä siitä, että Kristuksen seuraaminen vaatii rohkeutta ja syvää luottamusta Jumalan rakastavaan läsnäoloon teidän elämässänne. Kun palaatte takaisin kotimaahanne, kertokaa perheillenne ja ystävillenne, että paavi tervehtii heitä ja rukoilee heidän puolestaan.

[Text in Danish]

535 Kere unge danskerev: Jeres traditionelle Skytshelgen er den elskede Kong Knud, men Danmark har ogsa givet mange andre hellige maend og kvinder. For mindre end et ar siden havde jeg den store gglaede at Saligkare den store danske firsker og Biskop Niels Steensen. Matte hans eksempel laere jer at leve i fuld fred i jeres katolske tro.

[Text in Norwegian]

Norske ungdommer, i deres land er minnet om den hellige Olav stadig levende, dere ma forvandle det eksempel pa tro og hengivenhet som han gav til en aktuell kristen innsats. Elsk Gud av hele deres hjerte pg forsøk a se ham i hver av deres brødre og søstre som trenger deres hjelp og solidaritet.

[Text in Icelandic]

Kaeru ungu íslensku vinir,
bekkid bid aevisögu heilags Porláks Pórhallssonar
bisku?s í Skálholti?
Hann var samlandi ykkar, bekktur fyrir laerdóm, gudraekni og kostgaefni.
Hann lagdi mikid af mörkum til ad baeta kristni medal pjódar sinnar.
Pad er sannf aering mín ad bid munud ávallt finna
styrk í kaerleikanum til Jesú Krists og
536 og í kynnum ykkar af honum.

These holy men and women and many others recognized Christ as the centre of their lives even if at times they felt isolated or weighed down by burdens and problems. Dear young people: Christ is the centre of your lives too. He is your hope, your model and your joy, the joy of your youth!

“Today salvation has come to this house”. The “today” that witnessed the first stirrings of Christianity in these lands belongs to history, and subsequent events have distanced us from that time. However, in God’s plan of salvation, that distant “today” of centuries ago has not passed into oblivion; it lives on in God. It survives also in the Church, in the liturgy, in the word and in the Eucharist which is a “memorial” – a remembrance and at the same time a making present. When the Body and the Blood of Christ are made present we experience communion with all the Saints.

4. Truly “salvation has come to this house”. The word “salvation” means God’s saving gift of himself it is a divine self-giving which has to be accepted in the spiritual depths of each person and of all humanity. The saints are a special proof of God’s action in the world: in the world of the human spirit. Today, as always, we are invited to accept his divine action of love. By responding to God’s invitation with love, the saving and sanctifying work of his Spirit fills the human heart and from there extends to others. Is not the life of Saint Birgitta and so many other saints eloquent proof of this?

Dear young people of the North: you come here from different countries and from different backgrounds, but you all hear a common call to be united in Christ, who has given each of you some special gift or talent. In spite of differences, you are united in his name; you are members of a living body (Cfr. 1Cor
1Co 12,27).

Today at Vadstena we are celebrating our unity. It is unity in diversity. It is authentically Nordic and it is authentically Catholic! With different talents and different hopes you are one in Jesus, one in the ideal of Christian service, one in pursuing justice, one in proclaiming the equal human dignity of all people.

5. A special characteristic of the young people of our time is openness – openness to the great cultural diversity of our world. But you must also be open to Christ. Just as he did in the case of the rich young man in the Gospel (Cfr. Marc. 10, 17ss). Jesus looks on you who are rich in talents and material things and he looks on you with love. He asks you to be completely open to him. He will never disappoint you!

At this Mass I will present a cross to a representative from each of your countries as an expression of my hope in you – in all of you – who truly want to follow Christ. In doing this, I say with all the affection I hold for young people: keep close to Christ; walk in the footsteps of your Saint. You know that you will never find true happiness by being closed in on yourselves.

There is no room for selfishness or apathy in your lives. The Cross speaks a language of giving, and you young people have so much to offer, so much to give! By opening yourselves to Christ you will learn the meaning of the Cross. On Calvary, Christ gave himself as the complete and perfect gift and he asks you to give likewise of yourselves. The road to Calvary is the road that leads to the Centre, that will lead you to holiness. It is a road which everyone is called to travel because the vocation to holiness is universal. It excludes no one (Cfr. 1Cor 1Co 12,11).

6. What does it mean to be holy? In order to answer the question, we must return for a moment to the house of Zaccheus in today’s Gospel. Zaccheus was a tax collector, a person who did not enjoy a good reputation in the society of his day. He knew what it meant to live on the margin, so to speak. But when he received Christ into his house he understood the gift being offered to him and he rejoiced saying: “Behold Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold” (Lc 19,8). If Zaccheus was previously a sinner, then these words are proof of a real conversion on his part. At the same time, they express to us what is important for the Christian life: they help us to understand what it means “to be” in Christ, “to live in grace”.

Sometimes the Christian life is presented mainly in terms of keeping the commandments of God and the laws of the Church, and of observing our obligations towards the State. All this is true, but when we consider the matter more deeply, another dimension opens up before us: the Christian life consists in accepting the Gift of God, the Holy Spirit, and in responding to the Gift with a gift of our own. We are talking here of an “exchange of gifts”. Yet, these gifts are not equal in value. What we receive from God in Christ is infinitely greater than anything we can give him in return. We have received everything from God, and there is only one language in which to thank him, the language of giving.

537 7. My dear young friends: today I am returning to Rome, to the centre of the Church, the same Church of which you are the beloved sons and daughters, here in the North! As I say good-bye to you, I wish to leave you a gift – not merely a pleasant memory of this meeting but something more. I wish to give you my love, to leave you my heart! And, if I may, I wish to take back to Rome your gift to the Church, your gift to the world – which is your love for Christ and your fidelity to his Gospel.

Young people of the North: remember that the richest meaning of life lies in giving.Remember that we are willing to give in proportion as we love, and when love is perfect, the gift is complete.

Yes, dear young people, remember the Gift! Amen.

S. John Paul II Homil. 525