.- Pope Benedict XVI used his first Sunday Angelus address of the Lenten Season to discuss this year's Lenten theme. Chosen from a small part of the Gospel of St. John, the message "refers to the messianic prophesy of Zechariah: "They shall look upon Him Whom they have pierced" (John 19, 37).
This event, the Pope explained, has as its eyewitnesses "the beloved disciple, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the other women present at Calvary."
The Holy Father drew special attention to the seemingly insignificant act of piercing the side of Christ, something that "caused blood and water to flow forth" (John 19, 31-34). Despite the fact that the piercing of Christ’s side was done by “an anonymous Roman soldier who was destined to be forgotten,” the Pope continued, “throughout the centuries many conversions have occurred because of this eloquent message of love that is received by all who glance at the crucified Jesus."
"Thus, we should enter Lent with our glances fixed upon the price Jesus paid," the Holy Father continued. The Pontiff recalled once again his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, in which he posited that, “only by glancing at Jesus dying upon the cross for us,” can we understand “this fundamental truth: ‘God is love’ (1 Jn 4, 8).”
Turing his attention to the topic of sin, the Pope explained that "by looking at the Crucifixion with the eyes of faith, we can understand what sin is in a more profound way."
“When we are looking at Christ,” the Holy Father added, “we also feel that He is looking at us."
Before closing his angelus, the Pope reminded all those gathered in the piazza that "the indispensable spiritual energy required to establish peace and happiness can only be obtained from this source [Christ]."
The Pope concluded the angelus with a brief prayer to Mary, asking her "to obtain for us the gift of a firm faith. Guiding us through the Lenten journey, you help us to abandon everything that deafens us to the call of Christ and His saving Word."