“Today you shall be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
On the cross Jesus was told, “You have saved others. If you are the Messiah from God, the chosen one, save yourself.” He is laughed at by the council members and insulted by the soldiers. But if Jesus had defended himself at this time, he would not have been the Savior. Jesus does not protect himself precisely because he is the Savior. Jesus performed many miracles, but He did none for Himself. If he performed miracles for himself, they would no longer be miracles. Jesus' life and miracles were all for others, to bring faith, hope, and love to their hearts. He gave his life for that purpose.
Today is World Youth Day. The Greek philosopher Plato said to the old people of his time, “Go to the places where young people are exercising, dancing, and playing, and rejoice to see in them the suppleness and beauty of the body that you have lost, and remember the beauty and loveliness of your youth.” And he added, “Praise the young people who have entertained so many old people with these pastimes.” Yet, what characterizes the youth is their great energy and hope, but also their uncertainty about the future and the conflicts that arise from that.
One way to overcome this is to go on a journey. There is a saying, “Go out into the world you don’t know, and you will see a side of yourself you don’t know.” This does not necessarily mean to travel far. It means to change your perspective. Talent is unlimited, lying dormant inside of everyone, waiting for the right moment to blossom. You will never know what you are suited for until you run into it. You never know where you will find a road map in life. To do this, we must first do some reading. There are only a few things we can directly experience in our lifetime, and we learn what we cannot experience through reading. So reading is a kind of journey out into the unknown.
“It was on the shoulders of giants that I was able to see so far,” said Bernard of Chartres, a 12th century philosopher. Bernard studied and developed Plato’s philosophy and thought. He compared the classics and their authors to giants and said that those who live today can see more and further into the world by riding on the shoulders of these giants, that is, by studying the classics and their authors. It is the same in the world of faith. We stand on the shoulders of the great faithful of the past. We can access more distant things, distant worlds we have never known before, by studying the Bible and other traditions and teachings of the Church that they cherished so well. And when we come into contact with people of faith who were so faithful that they gave their lives to God, we know that there is a way prepared for us to live our lives as well. “The blood of martyrs is the seed of faith.” (Tertullian)
It is also necessary to meet many people. Simply put, life is about encounters. Knowledge, in our information society, can be instantly acquired from any source. However, true wisdom for living life cannot be obtained without direct contact with many people. This is because it lives within each person as an individual and irreplaceable way of life. It is something that can never be obtained on the Internet.
Jesus lived and gave his life for the sake of others. When a person decides to live for someone else, he or she can transcend the limits of what they thought they were capable of. You feel an energy welling up from within you that you had never even considered before. The energy to live for others never runs out. On the contrary, when someone does not want to do something, that person is setting his or her own limits.
Youth, go out into the world you do not know. And please discover your own splendor, your own “paradise” (Luke 23:43), which you did not know you had.