In today's throwaway culture, young people are being anesthetized against the desire for a better world, Pope Francis said Monday, celebrating Mass in Mexico's Chiapas region.
“In many ways there have been endeavours to subdue and lull our children and young people into a kind of lassitude by suggesting that nothing can change, that their dreams can never come true,” the Pope said.
The pontiff spoke of the attempts to “silence and dull this yearning” and to “anaesthetize” the soul, especially in young people.
“Exposed to a culture that seeks to suppress all cultural heritage and features in pursuit of a homogenized world, the youth of today need to cling to the wisdom of their elders!”
The Feb. 15 Mass was celebrated at the San Cristóbal de las Casas municipal sport's center with representatives of the indigenous communities of Chiapas, marking the start of Pope Francis' third full day in Mexico.
He centered his homily on the Psalm from the day's Mass: “The law of the Lord is perfect; it revives the soul.”
The law referred to here is that which was given by Moses to the people of Israel — who had endured slavery, suffering, and oppression — to help them “live in the freedom to which they were called,” he explained.
“And here the true face of God is seen, the face of the Father who suffers as he sees the pain, mistreatment, and lack of justice for his children,” he said.
“His word, his law, thus becomes a symbol of freedom, a symbol of happiness, wisdom and light.”
Pope Francis observed how the experiences of the people of Israel are reminiscent of a prayer originating from the Popol Vuh, a work originating from the Guatemalan highlands.
“The sun rose for the people who at various times have walked in the midst of history’s darkest moments,” he said.
“In this expression, one hears the yearning to live in freedom, there is a longing which contemplates a promised land where oppression, mistreatment and humiliation are not the currency of the day.”
“In the heart of man and in the memory of many of our peoples is imprinted this yearning for a land, for a time when human corruption will be overcome by fraternity, when injustice will be conquered by solidarity and when violence will be silenced by peace.”
This longing, he said, is shared by the Father, who “himself inspired it and continues to do so in giving us his son Jesus Christ,” in whom “we discover the solidarity of the Father who walks by our side.”
“In him, we see how the perfect law takes flesh, takes a human face, shares our history so as to walk with and sustain his people.”
“He becomes the Way, he becomes the Truth, he becomes the Life, so that darkness may not have the last word and the dawn may not cease to rise on the lives of his sons and daughters.”
Meanwhile, efforts are made dissuade people, especially the youth, against the yearning for fraternity, justice. As a result, “creation itself also raises an objection,” the Pope said.
He added, quoting his encyclical on the environment, Laudato, Si: “The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.”
“We can no longer remain silent before one of the greatest environmental crises in world history,” he said.
While the people throughout Latin America “know how to interact harmoniously with nature,” they have often, “in a systematic and organized way... been misunderstood and excluded from society,” the Pope said, addressing the region's bishops.
“Some have considered your values, culture and traditions to be inferior. Others, intoxicated by power, money and market trends, have stolen your lands or contaminated them.”
“How sad this is! How worthwhile it would be for each of us to examine our conscience and learn to say, 'Forgive me!'”
He stressed the responsibility toward the world which has become ravaged “by a throwaway culture.”
“Today’s world, overcome by convenience, needs to learn anew the value of gratitude!
Pope Francis' Feb. 12-17 trip to Mexico is his first as pontiff. He is the third Pope to visit the nation: St. John Paul II visited Mexico five times over the course of his 27 year pontificate, and Benedict XVI in 2012.