The theme of the XXXI World Youth Day Krakow 2016 is: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’ (Mt 5:7). Pope Francis chose the fifth of the eight Beatitudes, given by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, to show the importance of the Beatitudes which are at the heart of Jesus’ teaching. In his first Sermon, Jesus presents us with eight examples of qualities that bring us closer to the Kingdom of God.
The choice of Krakow and World Youth Day’s motto lead us to the Spark of Mercy. Since the appearance of Jesus to St. Sister Faustina, Mercy has been radiating from Krakow-Lagiewniki to the whole universal Church. Krakow is widely known as the centre of worship of God’s mercy, and young pilgrims who come will surely want to see the place of the revelations, Sister Faustina’s tomb, and the shrine – the place where St. John Paul II entrusted the world to God’s Mercy.
It’s worth noting that the fifth Beatitude sums up the first two years of Pope Francis’ pontificate as well. During that time he has striven to show the Church God’s love towards man and the necessity of being merciful to each other. At a meeting with young Argentinians in Rio, Pope Francis advised: ‘Read the Beatitudes, it will do you good.’ Our task is to re-read the message of the Beatitudes. For three consecutive years, the Pope has chosen three out of the eight Beatitudes as the themes for the WYDs. Each one is elaborated on in his addresses, in which he comments on theological matters and gives the youth some tasks for the next year of spiritual work.