is a translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and
after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s
* * *
Before the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
The Gospel of this Second Sunday of Lent presents to us the account of Jesus’ Transfiguration (cf. Matthew 17:1-9).
Taking three of the Apostles, Peter, James and John aside, He led them
up a high mountain, where this singular phenomenon happened: Jesus’ face
“shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light” (v. 2).
Thus the Lord made that divine glory shine in His person, which could be
received with faith in His preaching and in His miraculous gestures.
And, accompanying the Transfiguration on the mountain was the apparition
of Moses and Elijah, “talking with Him” (v. 3).
“luminosity” that characterized this extraordinary event symbolized the
purpose: to illumine the minds and hearts of the disciples, so that they
could understand clearly who their Master was. It was a flash of light
that opened suddenly on the mystery of Jesus and illumined His whole
person and His whole story.
Now firmly on
the way to Jerusalem, where He would suffer the condemnation to death by
crucifixion, Jesus wished to prepare His own for this scandal — the
scandal of the Cross –, for this scandal too strong for their faith and,
at the same time, announce ahead of time His Resurrection, manifesting
himself as the Messiah,
the Son of God. And Jesus prepares them there for that sad moment
of so much grief. In fact, Jesus was showing himself a different
Messiah in regard to the expectations, to what they imagined about the
Messiah, how the Messiah was: not a powerful and glorious king, but a
humble and vulnerable Servant; not a lord of great wealth, sign of
blessing, but a poor man who had no place to lay His head; not a
Patriarch with numerous descendants, but a celibate without a home and
without a nest. It was truly a revelation of God turned upside down, and
the most disconcerting sign of this scandalous reversal is the cross.
But precisely through the cross Jesus will attain His glorious
Resurrection, which will be definitive, not like this Transfiguration
that lasted a moment, an instant.
transfigured on Mount Tabor wished to show His disciples His glory not
to avoid their passing through the cross, but to indicate where the cross leads to.
One who dies with Christ, will rise with Christ. And the cross is
the door of the Resurrection. One who fights with Him, will triumph with
Him. This is the message of hope contained in Christ’s Cross, exhorting
to fortitude in our existence. The Christian Cross is not a furnishing
of the home or an ornament to wear, but the Christian cross is an appeal
to the love with which Jesus sacrificed Himself to save humanity from
evil and from sin. In this Lenten Season, we contemplate with devotion
the image of the crucifix, Jesus on the cross: it is the symbol of the
Christian faith; it is the emblem of Jesus, dead and risen for us. Let
us so regard the Cross as marking the stages of our Lenten itinerary, to
understand increasingly the gravity of sin and the value of the
sacrifice with which the Redeemer saved us all.
Virgin was able t contemplate Jesus’ glory hidden in His humanity. May
she help us to be with Him in silent prayer, and to let ourselves by
illumined by His presence, to bear in our heart, through the darkest
nights, a reflection of His glory.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]