Panama City, Panama: Pope Francis encouraged the youth of the world to say “yes” as he held the closing mass for the 34th World Youth Day in Panama on Sunday.
The pope called on young people to follow in the footsteps of the Virgin Mary, who according to the scripture gave birth to Jesus Christ, by seizing the opportunities presented by God as he addressed the crowd of about 700,000 in Panama City’s Metro Park.
“With Mary, keep saying ‘yes’ to the dream that God has sown in you,” he said.
The mass came after Pope Francis posted on Twitter comparing Mary to the modern day internet “influencers.”
“With her ‘yes,’ Mary became the most influential woman in history. Without social networks, she became the first ‘influencer’: the ‘influencer’ of God,” he wrote.
Pope Francis spoke Sunday of the danger for adults and youth of living in “a kind of waiting room, sitting around until we are called” and thinking “your now has not yet come.”
“Not tomorrow but now,” he said. “Realize that you have a mission and fall in love. We may possess everything, but if we lack the passion of love, we will have nothing.”
He added that for Jesus there is no “meantime” and called for young people to not be paralyzed by “fear and exclusion, speculation and manipulation.”
“He is not an interval in life or a passing fad. He is generous love that invites us to entrust ourselves,” Pope Francis said.
It was also announced Sunday that the next World Youth Day will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2022.
Image: Pope Francis called on young people to say “yes” to God during a mass Sunday at World Youth Day at the Campo San Juan Pablo II-Metro Park in Panama City, Panama.