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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Pope Francis in Lisbon

“The Holy Pontiff conveyed impactful messages during his various speeches to audiences such as young people, political leaders, bishops, and the sick”

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During his highly awaited visit to Lisbon, Portugal, for the World Youth Day, Pope Francis inspired both young individuals and adults to advance without apprehension and embrace their essential roles within the Church and the global community.

The Holy Pontiff conveyed impactful messages during his various speeches to audiences such as young people, political leaders, bishops, and the sick.

In his inaugural official event, he urged the Western world to rediscover its fundamental principles.

In the Final Mass of Transfiguration on August 6, Pope Francis delivered a stirring homily about the Gospel of the Transfiguration, which we shall reproduce here in part.

After these exciting days, surely, we feel like repeating the words of the Apostle Peter on the mount of the Transfiguration: “Lord, it is good for us to be here!” (Mt 17:4). xxx in the wake of these grace-filled days, we can also ask an important question: What will we take back with us as we come down from the mountain to resume our daily lives?

Drawing from the Gospel, the Holy Father answered his question with three verbs: to shine, to listen, and to be unafraid.

To shine. Jesus is transfigured and — as the Gospel tells us — “his face shone like the sun” (Mt 17:2). His face shines like the sun and his clothes become dazzling white.

Through this brilliant burst of light, Jesus prepares the disciples for the dark night they will have to endure; this overwhelming experience of light would help them to endure the dark hours of Gethsemane and Calvary.

Dear friends, we too need a burst of light if we are to face the darkness of the night, the challenges of life, the fears that plague us, and the gloom that often overtakes us.

That light, the Gospel tells us, has a name.

Yes, the light that has come to illumine the world is Jesus himself (cf. Jn 1:9). He is the sun that never sets but continues to shine even amid the darkness of the night. able to break down certain walls and prejudices, and to bring the light of Christ’s saving love to the world.

May you always radiate that love! May you always radiate Jesus, “the light of the world” (Jn 8:12)! x x x

The second verb is to listen.

On the mount of the Transfiguration, a bright cloud overshadows the disciples and the Father’s voice proclaims that Jesus is his beloved Son.

The command that the Father gives is simple and direct: “Listen to him” (Mt 17:5).

Those words say it all.

The entire Christian life is contained in these, the last words spoken by the Father in Matthew’s Gospel: Listen to him. We are to listen to Jesus, talk to him, read his words and put them into practice, and follow his footsteps. Jesus has words of eternal life for us because he reveals that God is both Father and love, and because, in the Holy Spirit, we too become his beloved children.

That is what we need in this life, then: not fame, success or money, but the realization that we are not alone, that we always have Christ at our side, that we can start and end each day certain of the Lord’s embrace.

We need to listen to Jesus in order to trust that we are loved, embraced by a love that never fails x x x.

To shine, to listen and, finally, to be unafraid.

These were the last words spoken by Jesus on the mount of the Transfiguration, to encourage his fearful disciples: “Get up and do not be afraid!” (Mt 17:7).

After having a foretaste of Easter glory, after being bathed in light divine and hearing the Father’s voice, the disciples can come down from the mountain and face the challenges that await them on the plain below.

It is the same for us: if we cherish the light of Jesus and his words within us, we can live each day with hearts free of fear x x x.

He then exhorts the youth: “As young people, you have great dreams, but often you may fear that they cannot come true.

Sometimes you can think that you are not up to the challenge, and you may be tempted to lose heart, to think you fall short, or to disguise your pain with a smile.

As young people, you want to change the world and work for justice and peace.

You devote all your energy and creativity to this, yet it still seems insufficient.

Yet the Church and the world need you, the young, as much as the earth needs rain.

Jesus now speaks to you, dear young people, who are the present and the future of our world. To all of you he says: “Do not be afraid!”

Francis exhorts: “And do not be afraid, for the Lord loves you and walks at your side. With Jesus, life is born anew, always.”


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