Beauty, creation and each human life are gifts of God to be treasured and shared, not enslaved to current societal ideas of what is valuable, perfect or productive, Pope Francis said at a Mass in the famous Tokyo Dome.
“We are invited as a Christian community to protect all life and testify with wisdom and courage to a way of living marked by gratitude and compassion, generosity and simple listening,” the pope told an estimated 50,000 people gathered in the stadium for Mass on 25th November.
At the Mass, with young people earlier in the day and later during a meeting with government officials and cultural leaders, Pope Francis shared his concern about the high rates of suicide in Japan and about the enormous pressure the culture places on young people to succeed.
In his homily, the pope said the freedom people should enjoy as children of God “can be repressed and weakened if we are enclosed in a vicious circle of anxiety and competition” or if people are convinced that what they produce or consume determines their worth.
When Jesus tells his followers not to be anxious, Pope Francis said, he’s not saying basic necessities like food and shelter are unimportant, but he is telling them that a single-minded focus on success and individual happiness “in reality leaves us profoundly unhappy and enslaved, and hinders the authentic development of a truly harmonious and humane society.”
Picture: Pope Francis greets a baby as he arrives to celebrate Mass in Tokyo Dome in Tokyo on 25th November 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).