What did Pope Francis really ask young people to do?

In his off the cuff address in the cathedral of Rio during WYD on Thursday, 25 July, the Pope told young people to make some chaos back home (“quiero lío en las diócesis”), to pay attention to the elderly, and get to work, and not to water down the faith.  He gave them as a kind of plan of action to read (and then, presumably, to act according to the Beatitudes and Matthew 25.

Because of your solid catechism, you know, I am sure, the Beatitudes.  I need not list them. I would add, however, that spiritual giants of our Faith, such as St. Ambrose (when writing about the beatitudes presented in Luke) and St. Thomas Aquinas, have connected the Beatitudes to corresponding virtues, and to the Gifts and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.  This is no small thing Francis is asking.  Priests and bishops and teachers should help young people make the connections.

Turning to Matthew 25, let’s review it in the RSV version.  Please pay special attention to the fact that the Lord speaks of the eternal fate of those who are on the wrong side of the Lord.  It is possible to get on His wrong side!

The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids

25 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.[a] 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise replied, ‘Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he replied, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

The Parable of the Talents

14 “For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. 17 So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’

The Judgment of the Nations

31 “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. 34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ 46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

I will also remind you that an indulgence is granted under the usual conditions for the devout reading of Sacred Scripture for at least one half hour.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. HighMass says:

    Lets Face it…..From one who is a Benedict person….this Holy Pope Francesco is over the top!!!!!!!!
    He says it like it is……and what we ALL need to hear……Love you Papa Francesco! The Holy Spirit was really on target with YOU as He was With Pope Benedict, & John Paul II……

    Viva Papa Francesco :):):)

    [I’ll take that as a “Yes” vote.]

  2. Scarltherr says:

    My niece mentioned this last night while giving a talk on her FOCUS missionary work. It was amazing to see a young person so on fire for spreading the faith. If you don’t know, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students is a direct response to the spiritual darkness on state university campuses, and Catholic campuses.

    It is extremely effective, with over 400 ordained or professed religious vocations, 300 priests and 100 women religious, and they only count them when they’ve taken vows!!! That’s in 15 short years.

    They are on 83 campuses “making a mess” already. They would be in more places, but they need the permission of bishops, Neuman Centers, and religious orders to get started. You can follow this link to see what they do. (http://www.focusonline.org/site/TR?pg=fund&fr_id=1070&pxfid=10241)

    Pope Francis is absolutely right. We need young people willing to mess up the secular world.

  3. jhayes says:

    In his adress to Bishops (only) today, Francis said:

    “Let us not reduce the involvement of women in the Church, but instead promote their active role in the ecclesial community. By losing women, the Church risks becoming sterile.”


    “Another lesson which the Church must constantly recall is that she cannot leave simplicity behind; otherwise she forgets how to speak the language of Mystery. Not only does she herself remain outside the door of the mystery, but she proves incapable of approaching those who look to the Church for something which they themselves cannot provide, namely, God himself. At times we lose people because they don’t understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity and import an intellectualism foreign to our people. Without the grammar of simplicity, the Church loses the very conditions which make it possible “to fish” for God in the deep waters of his Mystery.”

  4. jhayes says:


    “Peaceful coexistence between different religions is favoured by the laicity of the state, which, without appropriating any one confessional stance, respects and esteems the presence of the religious dimension in society, while fostering its more concrete expressions.”

    Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/07/27/pope_francis:_my_advice_is_always_%E2%80%9Cdialogue,_dialogue,_dialogue/en1-714506
    of the Vatican Radio website

  5. Gratias says:

    Papa Francisco may have confused many. Youths should make a mess in their dioceses. Whether this would be in favor of abortion or against he did not say. In the Chilean Cathedral yesterday the abortionist feminists mob desecrated the Cathedral. We have learned from the American experience that communist agitators are popular but spread poverty throughout the land. No word from our Papa Francis on Abortion. Not a Papal peep about Abortion which will be decree tend by Commie President Roussef in early August. The part about the elderly giving continuity was great. We should make a mess in our dioceses demanding an EF Mass in every parish. Our argument is that the TLM provided continuity with 1500 years of history of the Church. The TLM gives institutional memory to our Ecumenical Church. Finally the TLM should not be placed in a blender like a banana. We want to preserve the entire faith with its diversity, not a homogeneous blend. If the Pope really wants diversity, we Una Voce types working day in and day out for greater glory could certainly provide that. All we need is for the stingy bishops to be commanded to offer the EF Mass generously so as to nourish diversity. As for Matthew 25 He was likely referring to the last parable about our neighbors, but did not say.

  6. Gratias says:

    Listening to Pope Francisco address the Argentinian youth is very informative about where he is taking us. The speech was in Spanish.


  7. Gratias says:

    Sorry, to get to pope Francisco’s Speech one needs to scroll down to the comments in the link above before the YouTube comes up.

  8. “Whether this would be in favor of abortion or against he did not say. ” I am SURE he is opposed to abortion but share your concern. Thought about this a great deal given what is going on in the United States. The surest way to abolish abortion eventually is for Catholics to be on fire for their faith THEN they will take those beliefs into every part of their life. Unfortunately many Catholics voted for Obama.The MOST pro abortion Pres we have ever seen. If Catholics had been on fire for their faith we could have put a stop to him before he was re-elected. I am guessing that is where Pope Francis intends to focus. You can’t change anything unless you change hearts. I doubt he goes out of his way to kiss babies and persons with disabilities because he is pro abortion. Sometimes actions speak louder than words?

  9. Oliveira says:

    Let me add a contribution to the understanding of Pope Francis’s words. I think you have to be used to latin american culture to understand it better. When he speaks about Matthew 25 he is speaking about the passage of the “Judgment”… he is trying to say: “you have to concretely help the poor, visit the sick etc…” That’s his “Lío”, that’s the “noise” he wants young people to do. And about the “get a job” thing, well… he is not saying people should be humble and accept a job that pays little. He is saying the youngs are excluded because society doesn’t give them opportunities.

  10. acardnal says:

    jhayes quoted the Pope as saying, “Let us not reduce the involvement of women in the Church, but instead promote their active role in the ecclesial community. By losing women, the Church risks becoming sterile.”

    I hope this means that the Pope expects the bishops do a better job of promoting vocations to the religious life! It certainly needs them as they have declined horribly since VC II.

  11. As we compare Blessed John Paul II,Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI and Pope Francis we probably ought to keep in mind that John Paul came from Poland,Benedict from Bavaria(?)and Francis from Argentina. They brought with them the cultural background they grew up in and their own life experiences. Of course they have a great deal in common(the obvious)but they are also going to be different. We don’t get clones. One thing i will say for Pope Francis-you can see the Italian in him when he speaks.

  12. Lucchesi says:

    Pope Francis conceded this interview to TV Globo’s “Fantástico”, one of the most famous programs in Brazil:
    (questions in Portuguese, answers with Spanish audio and Portuguese subtitles)

    At 19:50 he starts talking about the youth:

    Among other things, he said that he doesn’t like young people that do not protest, that not all utopia is bad, since “utopia is breathing up and gazing forward”. We should always listen to the youth, just as a father must listen to his sons. However, we have to take care so that the youth’s legitimate desire to change the world is not manipulated: just like there are people oppressing people by slavery, etc, there are people oppressing the young by manipulating their utopia.

    The bottom line, I think, is that with all this “lío” thing he is telling us not to be lukewarm, not to be sitting on our hands all day.

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