Pope urges young people to 'put lives on line' against epidemic

Pope Francis in St Peter's Basilica

 VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday by calling on Christians to respond to the tragedy of the coronavirus by rediscovering that "life is of no use if not used to serve others." The pontiff urged young people to "put their lives on the line" in the battle against the epidemic and emulate the "real heroes" emerging from the crisis. 

 Speaking in an almost empty St Peter's Basilica during a Mass beamed the the faithful by video, Francis in his homily asked "Dear brothers and sisters, what can we do in comparison with God, who served us even to the
point of being betrayed and abandoned? We can refuse to betray him for whom we were created, and not abandon what really matters in our lives. We were put in this world to love him and our neighbours. Everything else passes away, only this remains."
 "The tragedy we are experiencing summons us to take seriously the things that are serious, and not to be caught up in those that matter less," the pontiff said, "to rediscover that life is of no use if not used to serve others. For life is measured by love."
 "So, in these holy days, in our homes, let us stand before the Crucified One, the fullest measure of God’s love for us, and before the God who serves us to the point of giving his life, and let us ask for the grace to live in order to serve. May we reach out to those who are suffering and those most in need," Francis added.
 "May we not be concerned about what we lack, but what good we can do for others.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold. The Father, who sustained Jesus in his Passion also
supports us in our efforts to serve. Loving, praying, forgiving, caring for others, in the family and in society -- all this can certainly be difficult. It can feel like a via crucis. But the path of service is the victorious and lifegiving path by which we were saved."
 " I would like to say this especially to young people, on this Day which has been dedicated to them for thirty-five years now. Dear friends, look at the real heroes who come to light in these days: they are not famous, rich and successful people; rather, they are those who are giving themselves in order to serve others. Feel called yourselves to put your lives on the line. Do not be afraid to devote your life to God and to others; it pays! 
 For life is a gift we receive only when we give ourselves away, and our deepest joy comes from saying yes to love, without ifs and buts. As Jesus did for us," the pope said.