POPE FRANCIS ON THE 2ND SUNDAY OF LENT C.
Saint Peter’s Square
Sunday, 13 March 2022
Dear brothers and sisters, buongiorno!
The Gospel of the Liturgy of this second Sunday of Lent narrates the Transfiguration of Jesus (cf. Lk 9: 28-36). While praying on a high mountain, he changes in appearance, his robe becomes bright and radiant, and in the light of his glory Moses and Elijah appear, who speak with him about the Passover that awaits him in Jerusalem, namely, his passion, death and resurrection.
The witnesses to this extraordinary event are the apostles Peter, John and James, who went up the mountain with Jesus. We imagine them with their eyes wide open before that unique spectacle. And, certainly, it must have been so. But the evangelist Luke notes that “Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep”, and that they “kept awake” and say the glory of Jesus (cf. v. 32). The drowsiness of the three disciples appears to be a discordant note. The same apostles then fall asleep in Gethsemane too, during the anguished prayer of Jesus, who had asked them to keep watch (cf. Mk 14:37-41). This somnolence in such important moments is surprising.
However, if we read carefully, we see that Peter, John and James fall asleep before the Transfiguration begins, that is, while Jesus is in prayer. The same will happen in Gethsemane. This is evidently a prayer that continued for some time, in silence and concentration. We may think that at the beginning they too were praying, until tiredness prevailed.
Brothers, sisters, does this this ill-timed slumber perhaps resemble many of our own that come in moments we know to be important? Perhaps in the evening, when we would like to pray, to spend some time with Jesus after a day of rushing around and being busy. Or when it is time to exchange a few words with the family and we no longer have the strength. We would like to be more awake, attentive, participatory, not to miss precious opportunities, but we can’t, or we manage it somehow but poorly.
The strong time of Lent is an opportunity in this regard. It is a period in which God wants to awaken us from our inner lethargy, from this sleepiness that does not let the Spirit express itself. Because – let us bear this in mind – keeping the heart awake does not depend on us alone: it is a grace and must be requested. The three disciples of the Gospel show this: they were good, they had followed Jesus onto the mountain, but by their own strength they could not stay awake. This happens to us too. However, they woke up precisely during the Transfiguration. We might think that it was the light of Jesus that reawakened them. Like them, we too are in need of God’s light, that makes us see things in a different way: it attracts us, it reawakens us, it reignites our desire and strength to pray, to look within ourselves, and to dedicate time to others. We can overcome the tiredness of the body with the strength of the Spirit of God. And when we are unable to overcome this, we must say to the Holy Spirit: “Help us, come, come, Holy Spirit. Help me: I want to encounter Jesus, I want to be attentive, awake”. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring us out of this slumber that prevents us from praying.
In this Lenten time, after the labours of each day, it will do us good not to switch off the light in the room without placing ourselves in the light of God. To pray a little before sleeping. Let’s give the Lord the chance to surprise us and to reawaken our hearts. We can do this, for instance, by opening the Gospel and letting ourselves marvel at the Word of God, because the Scripture enlightens our steps and enflames the heart. Or we can look at the crucified Jesus and wonder at the boundless love of God, who never tires of us and has the power to transfigure our days, to give them a new meaning, a new, unexpected light.
May the Virgin May help us to keep our heart awaken to welcome this time of grace that God offers to us.
After the Angelus
Brothers and sisters, we have just prayed to the Virgin Mary. This weekend, the city that bears her name, Mariupol, has become a city martyred by the ruinous war that is devastating Ukraine. Faced with the barbarism of the killing of children, and of innocent and defenceless citizens, there are no strategic reasons that hold up: the only thing to be done is to cease the unacceptable armed aggression before the city is reduced to a cemetery. With an aching heart I add my voice to that of the common people, who implore the end of the war. In the name of God, listen to the cry of those who suffer, and put an end to the bombings and the attacks! Let there be real and decisive focus on the negotiations, and let the humanitarian corridors be effective and safe. In the name of God, I ask you: stop this massacre!
I would like once again to urge the welcoming of the many refugees, in whom Christ is present, and to give thanks for the great network of solidarity that has formed. I ask all diocesan and religious communities to increase their moments of prayer for peace. God is only the God of peace, he is not the God of war, and those who support violence profane his name. Now let us pray in silence for those who suffer, and that God may convert hearts to a steadfast will for peace.
I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims who have come from Italy and from different countries. In particular, I greet the faithful of the dioceses of Naples, Fuorigrotta, Pianura, Florence and Carmignano; as well as the delegation of the Nonviolent Movement.
I wish everyone a blessed Sunday, and please do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your meal, and arrivederci.
Saint Peter’s Square
2nd Sunday of Lent C, 17 March 2019
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
On this Second Sunday of Lent, the liturgy leads us to contemplate the event of the Transfiguration in which Jesus allows the disciples Peter, James and John a foretaste of the glory of the Resurrection: a glimpse of heaven on earth. Luke the Evangelist (cf. 9:28-36) reveals to us Jesus transfigured on the mountain, which is the place of light, a fascinating symbol of the unique experience reserved to the three disciples. They go up the mountain with the Master, they see him immersed in prayer and, at a certain point, “the appearance of his countenance was altered” (v. 29). Accustomed to seeing him daily in the simple appearance of his humanity, they are astonished as they face that new splendour that also envelops his entire body. And Moses and Elijah appear beside Jesus and speak with Him about his forthcoming “exodus”, that is, of his Paschal death and Resurrection. It is a preview of Easter. Then Peter exclaims: “Master, it is well that we are here” (v. 33). He wished that that moment of grace would never end!
The Transfiguration occurs at a precise moment in Christ’s mission, that is, after he has confided to his 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 withstand the scandal of the passion and death on the Cross, so that they may know that this is the way through which the heavenly Father will lead his Son to glory; by raising him from the dead. And this will also be the way for the disciples: no one can reach eternal life if not by following Jesus, carrying their own cross in their earthly life. Each of us has his or her own cross. The Lord reveals to us the end of this journey which is the Resurrection, beauty: by carrying one’s own cross.
Therefore, the Transfiguration of Christ 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 luminous like the face of Christ Transfigured: in him is salvation, beatitude, light and the boundless love of God. By revealing his glory in this way, Jesus ensures that the cross, the trials, the difficulties with which we struggle, are resolved and overcome in Easter. Thus this Lent, let us also go up the mountain with Jesus! But in what way? With prayer. Let us climb the mountain with prayer: silent prayer, heartfelt prayer, prayer that always seeks the Lord. Let us pause for some time in reflection, a little each day, let us fix our inner gaze on his countenance and let us allow his light to permeate us and shine in our life.
Indeed, Luke the Evangelist emphasizes the fact that Jesus was transfigured, “as he was praying” (v. 29). He was immersed in an intimate dialogue with the Father in which the Law and the Prophets — Moses and Elijah — also echoed; and as he adhered with his entire being to the Father’s will of salvation, including the Cross, the glory of God flooded him, even shining on the outside. This is how it is, brothers and sisters: prayer in Christ and in the Holy Spirit transforms the person from the inside and can illuminate others and the surrounding world. How often have we found people who illuminate, who exude light from their eyes, who have that luminous gaze! They pray, and prayer does this: it makes us luminous with the light of the Holy Spirit.
Let us joyfully continue our Lenten journey. Let us make room for prayer and for the Word of God which the liturgy abundantly offers us these days. May the Virgin Mary teach us to abide with Christ even when we do not understand or comprehend him because only by abiding with him will we see his glory.
Saint Peter’s Square
2nd Sunday of Lent C, 21 February 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
The second Sunday of Lent presents us the Gospel of Jesus’ Transfiguration.
The apostolic visit that I made to Mexico some days ago was an experience of transfiguration for all of us. How so? Because the Lord has shown us the light of his glory through the body of the Church, of his holy people that live in this land. It is a body so often wounded, a people so often oppressed, scorned, violated in its dignity. Therefore the various encounters we experienced in Mexico were truly full of light: the light of a faith that transfigures faces and illumines our path.
The spiritual “centre of gravity” of my pilgrimage was the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. To remain in silence before the image of the Mother was my principal aim. I thank God that he gave me this opportunity. I contemplated and I allowed myself to be gazed upon by she who carries imprinted in her eyes the gaze of all her children, gathering up the sorrows caused by violence, kidnapping, assassinations, the violence against so many poor people, against so many women. Guadalupe is the most visited Marian shrine in the world. From all over the Americas, people go to pray where la Virgen Morenita appeared to the Indian, St Juan Diego, which set in motion the evangelization of the continent and its new civilization, a fruit of the encounter between diverse cultures.
This is precisely the inheritance that the Lord has entrusted to Mexico: to care for the richness of diversity, and at the same time, to manifest the harmony of a common faith, a sincere and robust faith, accompanied by a great force of vitality and humanity. Like my predecessors, I also went to confirm the Mexican people in their faith, and at the same time to be confirmed. My hands are full of this gift so that it goes out as a benefit to the universal Church.
A luminous example of what I am saying was given by families: the Mexican families received me with joy as a messenger of Christ, pastor of the whole Church. At the same time, they presented to me strong and clear testimonies, testimonies of a living faith, a faith that transfigures life, and this to edify all of the Christian families of the world. The same can be said about the youth, the consecrated, the priests, the workers, the imprisoned.
Thus I give thanks to the Lord and to the Virgin of Guadalupe for the gift of this pilgrimage. I also thank the President of Mexico and the other civil authorities for their warm welcome. I deeply thank my brothers in the episcopate and all of the people who collaborated in various ways.
We raise up special praise to the Most Holy Trinity for having wanted on this occasion to bring about in Cuba the encounter between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, our dear brother Kirill. It was an encounter also much desired by my predecessors. This event is also a prophetic light of resurrection, which the world today needs more than ever. May the Holy Mother of God continue to guide us on the path of friendship and unity. Let us pray to the Virgin of Kazan, of whom Patriarch Kirill gave me an icon.
SEE AS WELL:
HOMILY REFLECTION FOR THE 2ND SUNDAY OF LENT C HERE
POPE BENEDICT ON THE POPE BENEDICT XVI ON THE 2ND SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR C HERE.
2ND SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR C MASS PRAYERS AND READINGS, CLICK HERE.
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