Among the world leaders none has ever promoted the empowerment of  youths as Pope Francis. He is not just a father to the young people; he is also a mentor, a motivator and a dynamic leader. He prays with and for the youths. He enlightens their minds through his life-transforming homilies and he actually celebrates with them in a unique and friendly way. One of the remarkable invents in his life as a Pope was his meeting with the entire young people across the globe during the World Youth Day at Brazil.
For the Pope, the world Youth day is indeed an unforgettable encounter: “How vividly I recall the remarkable meeting we had in Rio de Janeiro for the Twenty-eighth World Youth Day.  It was a great celebration of faith and fellowship!  The wonderful people of Brazil welcomed us with open arms… There, on the seashore, Jesus renewed his call to each one of us to become his missionary disciples.  May we perceive this call as the most important thing in our lives and share this gift with others, those near and far, even to the distant geographical and existential peripheries of our world.”
It was at this very encounter that the Holy Father declared that “the youths are the Agents of Evangelization.” The Pope reflected on the mandate given by our Lord Jesus Christ to his young disciples when he said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18,19).
Commenting on this mandate the Pope said, “The word “Go!” connotes movement. It demands leaving a particular place to somewhere else. It requires traveling from place to place. Jesus did not commission his disciples to stay one place. He sent them out, at times, in twos; with the mission to proclaim that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand, to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and to cast out demons” (Matthew 10:7-8). An evangelizer is a soul winner. He should not just restrict himself to a parish or a particular territory; he is expected to move out in search of the lost sheep.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Pope Francis, is sending the youths to all corners of the world where there are human beings: “There are no borders, no limits: he sends us to everyone. The Gospel is for everyone, not just for some. The Lord seeks all; he wants everyone to feel the warmth of his mercy and his love.” Anywhere you find people, created in God’s image and likeness, that is where Jesus is sending you.
If you are in a classroom God is sending you to preach to your classmates. People in your office can receive Jesus through you. Even if you are travelling, it is an opportunity to preach to your co-travelers. Tell people about Jesus Christ. If you are working in media house use the media as a channel of evangelization. If you are on Internet or facebook, you are expected to use your facebook account for evangelization. Let your customers and business associates know about Christ Jesus through you.
By declaring the youths as agents of evangelization the Pope has indirectly solved the perennial problem of unemployment. So many young people in our society today have no job. Since an idle mind is devil’s workshop the Pope has decided to employ them for the glory of God. The Holy Father proudly said to the youths, “The Church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of you.” Fellow youths, the Church needs you more than ever!
The world leaders may not know the worth of our youths. They may not even care about their talents and wellbeing but the Holy Father is aware of these gifts and he is ready to harness them for the glory of God and for the good of humanity. The promotion of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is the most lucrative and most fulfilling job anyone can do. Working for Jesus is working for success. It is rewarding! Our Lord Jesus Christ even said, “A laborer deserves his wages” (Matthew 10:10).
If you are working for Jesus you cannot die of hunger. I am a living testimony. If not for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ maybe I would have ended up becoming one of the youths that are looking for job.  When you consider the number of young priests and religious and even lay faithful who have been empowered through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, you will agree with me that the Church is one of the institutions that promote Youth empowerment.
The Holy Father, has declared 2016 the next intercontinental youth pilgrimage; this meeting will take place in Krakow. The Holy Father has marked out a three year reflection programme in preparation for this great event: “As a way of accompanying our journey together, for the next three years I would like to reflect with you on the Beatitudes found in the Gospel of Saint Matthew (5:1-12).  In the year 2014 we will begin by reflecting on the first Beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3).  For 2015 I suggest: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8).  Then, in 2016, our theme will be: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7).
The Pope pointed out some of the current challenges facing the youths: “We face so many challenges in life: poverty, distress, humiliation, the struggle for justice, persecutions, the difficulty of daily conversion, the effort to remain faithful to our call to holiness, and many others.” The only way to surmount these challenges is to cooperate with our Lord Jesus Christ: “But if we open the door to Jesus and allow him to be part of our lives, if we share our joys and sorrows with him, then we will experience the peace and joy that only God, who is infinite love, can give.” Jesus Christ is the solution to every existential problem.
The Pope further addresses the youth as his friends: “Jesus challenges us, young friends, to take seriously his approach to life and to decide which path is right for us and leads to true joy.  This is the great challenge of faith. This was exactly what Jesus meant when he told his young disciples, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Our Lord Jesus Christ is the friend of young people.
Jesus does not treat young people as slaves, as most leaders are doing. The politicians, for instance, will use the youths during election and afterwards dump them. Jesus, on the other hand, treats everyone with love, respect and dignity. He provides for all irrespective of their religious or political affiliation. That is why the Holy Father is recommending Jesus Christ as the Mentor and Saviour of young people: “If you too are able to say “yes” to Jesus, your lives will become both meaningful and fruitful.” Jesus rightly told his followers, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Youth empowerment cannot take place without Jesus Christ. This is one of the reasons why the world has not succeeded. They were trying to progress without Jesus.  Jesus Christ is the foundation of youth empowerment.
Pope Francis admonish the youths in the following words, “In an age when we are constantly being enticed by vain and empty illusions of happiness, we risk settling for less and “thinking small” when it come to the meaning of life.  Think big instead! Open your hearts!  If you are really open to the deepest aspirations of your hearts, you will realize that you possess an unquenchable thirst for happiness, and this will allow you to expose and reject the “low cost” offers and approaches all around you.  When we look only for success, pleasure and possessions, and we turn these into idols, we may well have moments of exhilaration, an illusory sense of satisfaction, but ultimately we become enslaved, never satisfied, always looking for more.  It is a tragic thing to see a young person who “has everything”, but is weary and weak.” Life without Christ is in crises.
Finally, the Pope advised the youths to “Say no to an ephemeral, superficial and throwaway culture, a culture that assumes that you are incapable of taking on responsibility and facing the great challenges of life!” Charity begins at home. Youth empowerment begins with the self. If you believe you can make it you will surely make it. The ball is in your court. Remember, heaven help those who help themselves.