Pope Francis celebrated his final World Youth Day Mass in Lisbon on Sun., Aug. 6 with an uplifting message: be not afraid.

In the presence of approximately 1.5 million people, including 100,000 priests, and 700 bishops, Pope Francis echoed the words of St. John Paul II. The late pope founded International World Youth Day, which began in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1987.

On the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Pope Francis encouraged young people to “shine, listen, and have no fear.”

"Friends, dear young people, today we also need some light, a flash of light that gives us hope to face so much darkness that assails us in life, so many daily defeats, to face them with the light of the resurrection of Jesus," Pope Francis encouraged.

"A word that is repeated so often in the Bible, in the Gospels: be not afraid. These were the last words that at that moment of the Transfiguration, Jesus told the disciples: 'Be not afraid,'" he continued.

"You who cultivate big dreams that sometimes are obscured by the fear of not seeing them come true; to you who sometimes think that you will not be able to —a little pessimism sometimes creeps into us—to you, young people, tempted at this time by discouragement, perhaps by judging yourselves as failures or by trying to hide your pain by disguising it with a smile; to you young people who want to change the world, and it is good that you want to change the world.

"To you who want to change the world and who want to fight for justice and peace; to you, young people, who put enthusiasm and creativity into life, but who think that it is not enough; to you, young people, that the Church and the world need the earth, need the rain (sic); to you, young people, who are the present and the future; yes, precisely to you, young people, today he says: be not afraid, be not afraid."

The Holy Father repeated the words "Be not afraid" at least 10 times. He concluded his homily by assuring the audience that "it is no longer me" but "Jesus Himself who is looking at you in this moment."

"Dear young people, I would like to look into the eyes of each one of you and tell you: be not afraid, be not afraid. Furthermore, I tell you something very beautiful: it is no longer me, it is Jesus Himself who is looking at you in this moment, He is looking at you.

He knows you, He knows the heart of each one of you, He knows the life of each one of you, He knows the joys, He knows the sadness, the successes and the failures. He knows your heart. He sees our hearts. And He tells you today here in Lisbon, on this World Youth Day: be not afraid, be not afraid, take heart, be not afraid.

Here's a clip from his final Mass:

Pope Saint John Paul often repeated the words, "be not afraid" in his many speeches and writings.

In St. John Paul II's speech on June 29, 1999, he encouraged young people to courageously become the "saints of the new millennium."

"Young people of every continent, do not be afraid to be the saints of the new millennium! Be contemplative, love prayer; be coherent with your faith and generous in the service of your brothers and sisters, be active members of the Church and builders of peace."

During St. John Paul II's homily on Jan. 13, 1995, in the Philippines, he encouraged the faithful to fearlessly "answer the call to a total self-giving love of the Lord."

"I greet each one of you and encourage you to be steadfast in answering the call to a total self-giving love of the Lord. He will make many demands on you. He will require the fullest commitment of your whole being to the spreading of the Gospel and to the service of his people. But do not be afraid! His demands are also the measure of his love for each of you personally."

In the video below, St. John Paul II delivers a speech during his 1979 apostolic journey to the United States. He encourages the faithful to "be not afraid."

Listen below:

Click here if you cannot see the video above.

Let us pray in thanksgiving for the gift of World Youth Day!

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