2. Live lifeWhat do we want it to live a full life, satisfied one hundred percent ...? We want to live! Just live! Withoutprohibitions that limit us! We want to live in wealth and plenitude.However, what is life? Where do we find? Why do some who seek only to live with empty and meaninglesslives?Choose life! What does it mean? How do you do? Where is it?
1.2 What do we understand for being alive?I think that the vast majority of human beings spontaneously have the same concept of life as the Prodigal Son of the Gospel. He had his shareof the patrimony given to him and then felt free; in the end, what he wanted was to live no longer burdened by the duties of home, but just tolive. He wanted everything that life can offer. He wanted to enjoy it to the full - living, only living, immersed in lifes abundance, missing noneof all the valuable things it can offer.In the end he found himself caring for pigs and even envying those animals - his life had become so empty and so useless. And his freedom wasalso proving useless. When all that people want from life is to take possession of it, it becomes ever emptier and poorer; it is easy to end upseeking refuge in drugs, in the great deception. And doubts surface as to whether, in the end, life is truly a good.No, we do not find life in this way. Jesus words about life in abundance are found in the Good Shepherd discourse. His words are set in adouble context.Concerning the shepherd, Jesus tells us that he lays down his life. "No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord" (cf. Jn10: 18). It is only in giving life that it is found; life is not found by seeking to possess it. This is what we must learn from Christ; and the HolySpirit teaches us that it is a pure gift, that it is Gods gift of himself. The more one gives ones life for others, for goodness itself, the moreabundantly the river of life flows St Peters Square. Saturday June 3, 2006 1.2.a2.2Ways of living through dead menFor the people of the Old Testament, this question was just as urgent as it is for us today. No doubt they listened attentively when Moses saidto them: “I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live in the love of the Lordyour God, obeying his voice, clinging to him – for in this your life consists” (Dt 30:19-20). It was clear what they had to do: they had to turnaway from other gods and worship the true God who had revealed himself to Moses – and they had to obey his commandments. You mightthink that in today’s world, people are unlikely to start worshipping other gods. But sometimes people worship “other gods” without realizingit. False “gods”, whatever name, shape or form we give them, are nearly always associated with the worship of three things: materialpossessions, possessive love, or power. Let me explain what I mean.Material possessions, in themselves, are good. We would not survive for long without money, clothing and shelter. We must eat in order tostay alive. Yet if we are greedy, if we refuse to share what we have with the hungry and the poor, then we make our possessions into a falsegod. How many voices in our materialist society tell us that happiness is to be found by acquiring as many possessions and luxuries as we can!But this is to make possessions into a false god. Instead of bringing life, they bring death.WYD, Sydney. Friday July 18, 2008 2.2.aAuthentic love is obviously something good. Without it, life would hardly be worth living. It fulfils our deepest need, and when we love, webecome most fully ourselves, most fully human. But how easily it can be made into a false god! People often think they are being loving whenactually they are being possessive or manipulative. People sometimes treat others as objects to satisfy their own needs rather than as personsto be loved and cherished. How easy it is to be deceived by the many voices in our society that advocate a permissive approach to sexuality,without regard for modesty, self-respect or the moral values that bring quality to human relationships! This is worship of a false god. Insteadof bringing life, it brings death.The power God has given us to shape the world around us is obviously something good. Used properly and responsibly, it enables us totransform people’s lives. Every community needs good leaders. Yet how tempting it can be to grasp at power for its own sake, to seek todominate others or to exploit the natural environment for selfish purposes! This is to make power into a false god. Instead of bringing life, itbrings death.The cult of material possessions, the cult of possessive love and the cult of power often lead people to attempt to “play God”: to try to seizetotal control, with no regard for the wisdom or the commandments that God has made known to us. This is the path that leads towards death.By contrast, worship of the one true God means recognizing in him the source of all goodness, entrusting ourselves to him, opening ourselvesto the healing power of his grace and obeying his commandments: that is the way to choose life.WYD, Sydney. Friday July 18, 2008 2.2.bIn the end, life is not about accumulation. It is much more than success. To be truly alive is to be transformed from within, open to the energyof God’s love. In accepting the power of the Holy Spirit you too can transform your families, communities and nations. Set free the gifts! Letwisdom, courage, awe and reverence be the marks of greatness!WYD, Sydney. Saturday July 19, 2008 2.2.c3.2 Lets say Not to the culture of the death"Choose life!" What does it mean? How do you do? What is life? To have the most? Power "have it all, afford all know no limits other thanthose of your own desire? "Power can have everything and do everything, enjoy life without limitation? Is not this the life? Does not it seemthis way, as in all times, the only possible answer? But if we look at our world, we see that this lifestyle just a diabolical circle of alcohol, sexand drugs, that this apparent choice of life should be considered a rival neighbor, always feel what you possess as too little, and has preciselythe anti-culture of death, the boredom of life, lack of self-love, which we see everywhere today. The glory of this choice is a misleading pictureof the devil. In effect, gets to the truth, because it presents the man as a god, but as a false god, who knows no love, only to himself, and 2
referred everything to himself. The benchmark for the man is the idol, not God, in this attempt to be a god. This way of choosing life is a lie,because it leaves God on your side and it distorts everything. "Choose life!". Contemplating Christ. The meaning of the Jubilee Year 2000 3.2.aAnd if we think about it now, we can say that also in our time we need to say "no" to the widely prevalent culture of death.It is an"anticulture" manifested, for example, in drugs, in the flight from reality to what is illusory, to a false happiness expressed in deceit, fraud,injustice and contempt for others, for solidarity, and for responsibility for the poor and the suffering; it is expressed in a sexuality thatbecomes sheer irresponsible enjoyment, that makes the human person into a "thing", so to speak, no longer considered a person whodeserves personal love which requires fidelity, but who becomes a commodity, a mere object.Let us say "no" to this promise of apparent happiness, to this "pompa" of what may seem to be life but is in fact merely an instrument ofdeath, and to this "anticulture", in order to cultivate instead the culture of life. For this reason, the Christian "yes", from ancient times to ourday, is a great "yes" to life. It is our "yes" to Christ, our "yes" to the Conqueror of death and the "yes" to life in time and in eternity. Sistine Chapel, Sunday January 8, 2006. 3.2.bThis is the philosophy of life, the culture of life that becomes concrete and practical and beautiful in communion with Christ, the living God,who walks with us in the companionship of his friends, in the great family of the Church. Baptism is a gift of life.It is a "yes" to the challenge of really living life, of saying "no" to the attack of death that presents itself under the guise of life; and it is a "yes"to the great gift of true life that became present on the Face of Christ, who gives himself to us in Baptism and subsequently in the Eucharist.Sistine Chapel, Sunday January 8, 2006. 3.2.cA vivid illustration of what it means to turn back from the path of death onto the path of life is found in a Gospel story that I am sure you allknow well: the parable of the prodigal son. When that young man left his father’s house at the beginning of the story, he was seeking theillusory pleasures promised by false “gods”. He squandered his inheritance on a life of indulgence, and ended up in abject poverty and misery.When he reached the very lowest point, hungry and abandoned, he realized how foolish he had been to leave his loving father. Humbly, hereturned and asked forgiveness. Joyfully his father embraced him and exclaimed: “This son of mine was dead, and has come back to life; hewas lost, and is found” (Lk 15:24)Many of you must have had personal experience of what that young man went through. Perhaps you have made choices that you now regret,choices that led you down a path which, however attractive it appeared at the time, only led you deeper into misery and abandonment. Thechoice to abuse drugs or alcohol, to engage in criminal activity or self-harm, may have seemed at the time to offer a way out of a difficult orconfusing situation. You now know that, instead of bringing life, it brings death. I wish to acknowledge your courage in choosing to turn backonto the path of life, just like the young man in the parable. WYD, Sydney. Friday July 18, 2008 3.2.d4.2 Jesus wants to give us life galoreJesus, and through him God himself, actually comes to us and draws us to himself. "He sends forth the Holy Spirit" - this is what Scripture says.What effect does this have?I would like first of all to pick out two aspects: the Holy Spirit, through whom God comes to us, brings us life and freedom. Let us look at boththese things a little more closely."I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly", Jesus says in the Gospel of John (10: 10). Life and freedom: these are the things forwhich we all yearn. But what is this - where and how do we find "life"?Jesus words about life in abundance are found in the Good Shepherd discourse. His words are set in a double context.Concerning the shepherd, Jesus tells us that he lays down his life. "No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord" (cf. Jn10: 18). It is only in giving life that it is found; life is not found by seeking to possess it. This is what we must learn from Christ; and the HolySpirit teaches us that it is a pure gift, that it is Gods gift of himself. The more one gives ones life for others, for goodness itself, the moreabundantly the river of life flowsSt. Peter´s square.Saturday June 3, 2006 4.2.aSecondly, the Lord tells us that life unfolds in walking with the Shepherd who is familiar with the pasture - the places where the sources of lifeflow.We find life in communion with the One who is life in person - in communion with the living God, a communion into which we are introducedby the Holy Spirit, who is called in the hymn of Vespers"fons vivus", a living source.The pasture where the sources of life flow is the Word of God as we find it in Scripture, in the faith of the Church. The pasture is God himselfwho we learn to recognize in the communion of faith through the power of the Holy Spirit.St. Peter´s square.Saturday June 3, 2006 4.2.b 3
Where the true source of life no longer flows, where people only appropriate life instead of giving it, wherever people are ready to dispose ofunborn life because it seems to take up room in their own lives, it is there that the life of others is most at risk.If we want to protect life, then we must above all rediscover the source of life; then life itself must re-emerge in its full beauty andsublimeness; then we must let ourselves be enlivened by the Holy Spirit, the creative source of life.St. Peter´s square.Saturday June 3, 2006 4.2.c5.2 How to live aliveI, but no longer I: this is the formula of Christian life rooted in Baptism, the formula of the Resurrection within time. I, but no longer I: if we livein this way, we transform the world. It is a formula contrary to all ideologies of violence, it is a programme opposed to corruption and to thedesire for power and possession."I live and you will live also", says Jesus in Saint John’s Gospel (14:19) to his disciples, that is, to us. We will live through our existentialcommunion with him, through being taken up into him who is life itself. Eternal life, blessed immortality, we have not by ourselves or inourselves, but through a relation - through existential communion with him who is Truth and Love and is therefore eternal: God himself.Simple indestructibility of the soul by itself could not give meaning to eternal life, it could not make it a true life. Life comes to us from beingloved by him who is Life; it comes to us from living-with and loving-with him. I, but no longer I: this is the way of the Cross, the way that"crosses over" a life simply closed in on the I, thereby opening up the road towards true and lasting joy. Vatican Basilica. Holy Saturday, April 15, 2006 5.2.a In this context we may recall that Moses’ mother placed him in a basket in the Nile. Then, through God’s providence, he was taken out of thewater, carried from death to life, and thus – having himself been saved from the waters of death – he was able to lead others through the seaof death. Jesus descended for us into the dark waters of death. But through his blood, so the Letter to the Hebrews tells us, he was broughtback from death: his love united itself to the Father’s love, and thus from the abyss of death he was able to rise to life. Now he raises us fromthe waters of death to true life. This is exactly what happens in Baptism: he draws us towards himself, he draws us into true life.He leads us through the often murky sea of history, where we are frequently in danger of sinking amid all the confusion and perils. In Baptismhe takes us, as it were, by the hand, he leads us along the path that passes through the Red Sea of this life and introduces us to everlasting life,the true and upright life. Let us grasp his hand firmly! Whatever may happen, whatever may befall us, let us not lose hold of his hand! Let uswalk along the path that leads to life. St. Peters Basilica. Holy Saturday March 22, 2008 5.2.bWith Baptism you are already born to new life in virtue of Gods grace. Nonetheless, since this new life has not eliminated either the weaknessof human nature or the inclination to sin, we are given the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Confession. Every time that you do so withfaith and devotion, after an attentive examination of conscience, Gods love and mercy open your heart to Christs minister. To him, andthereby to Christ himself, you express your sorrow for the sins you have committed with the firm determination to sin no more in the futureand the readiness to accept joyfully the acts of penance to which he will direct you, to make reparation for the damage caused by the sin. WYD, St. Peters Basilica. Holy Saturday March 22, 2008. 5.2.cTo be immersed in God’s truth and thus in his holiness – for us this also means to acknowledge that the truth makes demands, to stand up, inmatters great and small, to the lie which in so many different ways is present in the world; accepting the struggles associated with the truth,because its inmost joy is present within us. Nor, when we talk about being sanctified in the truth, should we forget that in Jesus Christ truth andlove are one. Being immersed in him means being immersed in his goodness, in true love. True love does not come cheap, it can also prove quitecostly. It resists evil in order to bring men true good. If we become one with Christ, we learn to recognize him precisely in the suffering, in thepoor, in the little ones of this world; then we become people who serve, who recognize our brothers and sisters in him, and in them, weencounter him. St. Peters Basilica. Holy Thursday April 9, 2009 5.2.d This is what is new about Baptism: our life now belongs to Christ, and no longer to ourselves. As a result we are never alone, even in death, butare always with the One who lives for ever. In Baptism, in the company of Christ, we have already made that cosmic journey to the very abyssof death. At his side and, indeed, drawn up in his love, we are freed from fear. He enfolds us and carries us wherever we may go – he who is Lifeitself. Vatican Basilica. Holy Saturday, April 7, 2007. 5.2.e 4
Never doubt his presence! The One who comes to meet us, the Emmanuel, "God-with-us", assures us that he is always among hisfollowers: "And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world" (Mt 28: 20).Always seek the Lord Jesus, grow in friendship with him, learn to listen and to know his words and to recognize him in the poor who live inyour communities. Live your lives with joy and enthusiasm, certain of his presence and his free, generous and faithful friendship until his deathon the Cross. Monday December 19, 2005 5.2.fIf we understand the announcement of the resurrection, then we recognize that the sky is not fully enclosed above the ground. Then some ofthe light of God but in a shy but strong-enters our life. Then turns south ¬ us the joy that would otherwise expect in vain, and every person thathas penetrated some of this joy can be, in its way, an opening through which the sky looks at the ground and reach us . So what can happenprovided the revelation of John: Every creature in heaven and earth, beneath the earth and sea, all things in the world are filled with the joy ofthe saved. To the extent that we recognize, is fulfilled the word that Jesus spoke on the bounce, which heralds a new arrival: "Your sorrow willturn into joy." And, as Sara, men who believe in the Easter under state: "Reason cheerful smile God has given me: anyone who knows mesmile!" Hope Images, Encuentro Editions , Madrid 1998 5.2.g6.2Lets live through the life as an opened projectHuman life is not by itself. Our life is an open question, an incomplete project that require further progress. The fundamental question of everyman is: how is this project of self-fulfillment? How does one learn the art of living? What is the path to happiness?Evangelizing means showing the way, teaching the art of living. Jesus says at the beginning of his public life I have come to evangelize the poor.This means: I have the answer to your fundamental question, I will show you the way of life, the way that leads to happiness, indeed, Im thatway. The deepest poverty is the inability to be happy blood, the tedium of a life considered absurd and contradictory. This poverty iswidespread today, in very different ways, both in the materially rich and poor countries. The inability to be happy means and produces theinability to love, produces jealousy, greed ... all the vices that ruin the lives of people and the world. Therefore, we need a new evangelization.If you know the art of living, everything else is not working. But this art is not the subject of science, only you can tell who has life, which is theGospel in person. The new evangelization, lecture delivered at the congress of catechists and religion teachers, Rome, December 10, 2003 6.2.aLife is something biological. In humans it is necessary to add a new level. It is the spirit that lives and gives life. The spirit merges with thebiological existence, giving life to another dimension.Furthermore, Christian faith is convinced of the existence of another level, namely the encounter with Christ. We present already in theprocess of human love: if I am loved, the dynamics of the spirit in me a new level through you the other. Something similar happens when,through Christ, God himself turns to me, making my life a living with creative early life.Life has many stages. And it reaches the highest when it becomes live with God. Precisely here lies the boldness of the human adventure. Theperson can and should be the synthesis of all these stages of creation. Can and should be up and restore the living God from Him what I havesaid that the freedom factor enters into the dynamics of each existence, and this factor is opposed to absolute predestination. ABC interview with the Journal, 3/31/2002 6.2.bwhat is life? What is death? How should one live? How should one die? To enable us to understand better this mystery of life and Jesusanswer, St John uses two different terms for this unique reality to suggest the different dimensions in this reality of "life"; the word bíosandthe word zoé. Bíos, as can easily be understood, means this great biocosmos, this biosphere that extends from individual, primitive cells to themost organized, most developed organisms; this great tree of life where all the possibilities of this reality, bios, are developed. Man belongs tothis tree of life; he is part of this living cosmos that begins with a miracle: in inert matter a vital centre develops, the reality that we call anorganism.But although man is part of this great biocosmos, he transcends it, for he is also part of that reality which St John calls zoé. It is a new level oflife in which the being is open to knowledge. Of course, man is always man with all his dignity, even if he is in a comatose state, even if he is atthe embryonic stage, but if he lives only biologically, the full potential of his being is not fulfilled. Man is called to open himself to newdimensions. He is a being who knows. Church of San Lorenzo in Piscibus, Rome, 9 in March 2008. 6.2.c7.2 TO SURVIVEReading Isaiah (1:3), the Fathers concluded that beside the manger of Bethlehem there stood an ox and an ass. At the same time theyinterpreted the text as symbolizing the Jews and the pagans – and thus all humanity – who each in their own way have need of a Saviour: theGod who became a child. Man, in order to live, needs bread, the fruit of the earth and of his labour. But he does not live by bread alone. Heneeds nourishment for his soul: he needs meaning that can fill his life. Thus, for the Fathers, the manger of the animals became the symbol of 5
the altar, on which lies the Bread which is Christ himself: the true food for our hearts. Once again we see how he became small: in the humbleappearance of the host, in a small piece of bread, he gives us himself.Vatican Basilica, Sunday December 24, 2006 7.2.aPrisoners of war who were held in Russia for ten years or more, exposed to cold and hunger, after returning said, "I survived because I knew Ihad expected. I knew there were people waiting for me, I knew I was needed and expected. " This love was waiting for effective medicine oflife against all evils. In fact, there is someone waiting for us all. The Lord awaits us, and not just waiting for us: it is present and reaches out tous. Accept the hand of the Lord and ask Him to give us actually live, live the abundant life, to be able to communicate well to ourcontemporaries the true life, life in abundance. Amen. Santa Happiness parish and children, martyrs. Sunday 25 March 2007 7.2.b 6