.- The Transfiguration reveals Christ’s divinity and shows that he alone is the true home of the Christian, Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of Catholics gathered for the Sunday Angelus.
Speaking from the balcony of his apartment, the Pope discussed the passage from Matthew 17 in which Jesus leads Peter, James and John up a high mountain where Christ is then transfigured before them. “His face shone like the sun and his garments became white as light,” the Gospel reads.
“According to the senses, the light of the sun is the most intense ever known in nature,” Benedict XVI noted. “But according to the spirit, the disciples saw for a short time a brightness more intense: that of the divine glory of Jesus, which illuminates the whole history of salvation.”
Citing the first volume of his work “Jesus of Nazareth,” the Pope said the Transfiguration reveals “the profound interpenetration of his being with God, which then becomes pure light. In his oneness with the Father, Jesus is himself ‘light from light’.”
St. Maximus the Confessor saw the change in Jesus’ clothes as symbolic of the words of Sacred Scripture which become clear, transparent and bright, the Pope added.
Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets, also appeared at the Transfiguration. This prompted Peter to suggest that the disciples set up three tents for them and Jesus. But Moses and Elijah vanished.
St. Augustine, commenting on this passage, said this shows that the Christian has only one home: Christ.
“He is the Word of God, the Word of God in the Law, the Word of God in the Prophets,” St. Augustine wrote.
The disciples, contemplating the divinity of the Lord, are thus prepared to confront the scandal of the cross, Pope Benedict explained.
“Dear friends, we too share this vision and this supernatural gift,” the Pope continued, urging Catholics to make space for prayer and to listen to the Word of God.
He also expressed thanks for his recent Lenten spiritual exercises, concluded on March 19.
In his words after the Angelus to English-speaking pilgrims, the Pope added:
“As we continue our journey through Lent, today at Mass we recall the Transfiguration of the Lord and how it prepared the Apostles for the coming scandal of the Cross. Strengthened by our faith in Jesus, true God and true man, may we be inspired, not scandalized, by the Cross given to our Savior and to our fellow Christians who suffer with him throughout the world.
“Especially during this holy season, I invoke upon you and your families God’s abundant blessings!”