On silencing young people

But today, a third kind of shouting is possible: “And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He replied, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out”” (Lk 19: 39-40).

The temptation to silence young people has always existed. The Pharisees themselves rebuke Jesus and ask him to silence them.

There are many ways to silence young people and make them invisible. Many ways to anaesthetize them, to make them keep quiet, ask nothing, question nothing. “Keep quiet, you!” There are many ways to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive.

Pope Francis, today.

2 Replies to “On silencing young people”

  1. How peculiar that none of the Gospel Texts associated to this episode (Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, Lk 19:39-40; Mt 21:1-11; Mk 11:1-11; Jn 12:12-19 NRSVCE) – including those preceding or following – indicate that youth was being exclusively or predominately addressed or referred to; the text (“people”, “the whole multitude of the disciples”, “a very large crowd”, “the crowds”, “the whole City”, “many people”, “those who went ahead and those who followed”, “the great crowd”, and lastly “His disciples”) does not indicate that our Lord was referring to young people but to the entire People of God, His Chosen Firstborn, the Israelites / Hebrews.

    To the Pharisees, He addresses “… you and your children within you…” (Lk 19:44).

    The commentaries of Cornelius a Lapide, St Thomas’ Catena Aurea, Haydock, and the Navarre Bible does not indicate any reference to youth being addressed or referred to either.

    So how is it that Pope Francis is using this Scripture in connection with his assertion that “The temptation to silence young people has always existed”? Is such an analogy in comportment with the intent of the Divinely Inspired Gospel Authors? With the mind of Holy Mother Church, with the Faith of our Fathers?

    Pax Christi in Regno Christi

  2. top8305,

    Your question is interesting, and I would like to hear more from Scripture and Liturgy scholars about this.

    As far as I can see in the English and Greek, there is no word confusion that would make "crowds," "disciples," or "the people" exclusively young.

    On the other hand, there are antiphons in the liturgy (I quoted one in the previous post) that suggest one of these words–probably "disciples"–was at one time understood as "children."

    I would have guessed that the word confusion would have centered around the Greek word "teknon," which means both child and, by extension, disciple. But the Greek word for disciple in these passages is the more common one, mathetes, which as far as I know does not have the childlike connotation.

    I would be interested in knowing more about this liturgical usage. It comes down to us more colloquially in the refrain of All Glory, Laud, and Honor. I do not believe that it is foreign to the mind of the Church.

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