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Pope Francis’ homily at the Missioning Mass


Pope Francis delivered three key verbs in his closing homily at World youth Day on the morning of Aug. 6.  “Shine, listen, do not fear,” he said to the estimated 1.5 million people who attended the international festival in Lisbon, Portugal. 

Pope Francis is greeted as he makes his way to the altar at the closing Mass of World youth Day 2023 in Lisbon. (Photo courtesy of WYD 2023)

The Gospel of Matthew describes Jesus’ face shining like the sun as he was being crucified.

“In order to help them accept God’s loving plan, which reaches glory by the way of the cross, Jesus takes three of them with him – Peter, James and John – leads them to the top of a mountain and transfigures himself: his face becomes radiant and his garments limpid. This ‘bath of light’ prepares them for the night they will have to go through,” the pope said.

“Dear friends, we too need something of light today to face the darkness that assails us in life, so many daily defeats, to confront them with the light of Jesus’ resurrection. He is the light that does not go out, the light that shines even at night. The words of Ezra the priest come to mind, which we find in Sacred Scripture and which we too can repeat after these days spent together: ‘Our God has willed to make our eyes shine’ (Ezra 9:8). Our God enlightens our eyes, enlightens our hearts, enlightens our minds and our will to do something with our lives. 

Pope Francis continued looking at the Gospel of Matthew to explain the need to listen.

“The Father’s command is simple and direct: ’Listen to him’ (Mt 17:5). Everything is here: everything that must be done in the Christian life is in this word: listen to him. Listen to Jesus, listen to what Jesus says, take the Gospel and read what Jesus says and your heart, because he has for us words of eternal life for all of us. He reveals that God is Father and love, He teaches us the way of love. Listen to Jesus, because although we have the best of wills, we follow paths that seem to be paths of love, but are selfishness disguised as love. Listen to the Lord, because he will tell us the way of love.  

“To shine, to listen and, finally, not to fear. These are the last words that Jesus utters on the mountain to encourage the frightened disciples: ‘Arise and do not be afraid’ (Mt 17:7). An idea that is repeated so often in the Gospels: ‘Do not be afraid.’ To you, young people, who have big dreams but are often overshadowed by the fear of not seeing them realized; to you, young people, who sometimes think that you will not succeed; to you, young people, tempted at this time to be discouraged, to think you are inadequate or to hide your pain by disguising it with a smile; to you young people who want to change the world and who strive for justice and peace; to you young people who invest the best of your effort and imagination, but are left feeling that they are not enough; to you young people, whom the Church and the world need like the earth needs rain; to you young people who are the present and the future. It is precisely to you, young people, that Jesus says: ’Do not be afraid.’ 

“Dear young people, I wish I could look each of you in the eye and say: do not be afraid! But I can tell you something much more beautiful. Jesus himself is looking at you now, he who knows you and reads your innermost being; he looks into your heart, he knows your joys and sorrows, your successes and defeats. And he says to you today, here in Lisbon, at this World Youth Day: ‘Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid! Be encouraged!.’” 

The full text of Pope Francis homily can be found here.


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