Before the Angelus
After the Angelus
At midday today, the Holy Father Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s Square.
The following is the Pope’s introduction to the Marian prayer:
Before the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
On this second Sunday of Lent, the liturgy makes us contemplate the event of the Transfiguration, in which Jesus provides his disciples Peter, James and John with a foretaste of the glory of the Resurrection: a glimpse of heaven on earth. The evangelist Luke (cf. 9: 28-36) shows us Jesus transfigured on the mount, which is the place of light, fascinating symbol of the singular experience reserved to the three disciples. They ascend with the Master on the mountain, they see Him immersed in prayer, and at a certain point “the appearance of his countenance was altered” (v. 29). Accustomed as they were to seeing Him daily in the simple semblance of His humanity, faced with this new splendour, which also envelops His whole person, they are astonished. And beside Jesus, Moses and Elijah appear, who speak with Him about His coming “exodus,” namely of His Paschal Death and Resurrection. It is an anticipation of Easter. Then Peter exclaims: “Master, it is well that we are here” (v. 33). He wanted that moment of grace to be endless.
The Transfiguration happens at a very precise moment of Christ’s mission, namely, after He confided to the disciples that He would have “to suffer many things … be killed and on the third day be raised” (v. 21). Jesus knows that they do not accept this reality – the reality of the cross, the reality of Jesus’ death – and so He wants to prepare them to endure the scandal of His Passion and death on the cross, so that they will know that this is the way through which the heavenly Father will make His Son attain glory, resurrecting Him from the dead. And this will also be the way of the disciples: no-one attains eternal life without following Jesus, without carrying one’s cross in earthly life. Every one of us has his or her own cross. The Lord makes us see the end of this journey, which is Resurrection, beauty, carrying one’s cross.
Therefore, Christ’s Transfiguration shows us the Christian perspective of suffering. Suffering is not sadomasochism: it is a necessary but transitory passage. The point of arrival to which we are called is as luminous as Christ’s transfigured countenance: in Him there is salvation, beatitude, light and God’s endless love. By showing His Glory in this way, Jesus assures us that the cross, the trials and the difficulties in which we find ourselves are resolved and overcome in the Pasch. Therefore, this Lent, let us also go up the mountain with Jesus! But how? With prayer, we ascend the mountain with prayer: silent prayer, heartfelt prayer, prayer that always seeks the Lord. Let us stay collected in prayer for a few moments, a little every day; let us fix our inner gaze on His countenance and let His light pervade us and radiate in our life.
Indeed, the evangelist Luke emphasizes that Jesus was transfigured “as He was praying” (v. 29). He was immersed in an intimate conversation with the Father, in which the Law and the Prophets also resounded — Moses and Elijah — and while He adhered with all His being to the Father’s Will of Salvation, including the cross, the glory of God invaded Him, also appearing externally. It is so, brothers and sisters: prayer in Christ and in the Holy Spirit transforms the person from inside and can illumine others and the surrounding world. How many times we have met people who illumine, who emanate light from their eyes, who have that luminous look! They pray, and prayer does this: it makes us bright with the light of the Holy Spirit.
Let us continue with joy our Lenten journey. Let us give space to prayer and to the Word of God, which the liturgy offers us abundantly in these days. May the Virgin Mary teach us to stay with Jesus even when we do not understand Him and do not comprehend Him. Because only by staying with Him will we see His glory.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
In these days, to the pain of wars and conflicts that do not cease to afflict all humanity, there has been added that for the victims of the horrible attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. I pray for the dead and wounded, and for their relatives. I am close to our Muslim friends and to all the community. I renew my invitation to unite with prayer and gestures of peace to counter hatred and violence. Let us pray together, in silence, for our Muslim friends who were killed.
I address a cordial greeting to all of you present here: faithful of Rome and many parts of the world. I greet pilgrims from Poland, those of Valencia in Spain, and those of Cajazeiras in Brazil and Benguela in Angola. How many Angolans!
I greet the parish groups from Verona, Quarto in Naples and Castel del Piano in Perugia; students from Corleone; altar servers from Brembo in Dalmine and the association “Uno a Cento” in Padua.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch, and goodbye!