Jesus is our light in dark times, Pope Benedict says

Pope Benedict XVI presides over the first Mass with the new cardinals Feb 19 2 CNA Vatican Catholic News 2 19 12 Pope Benedict XVI

The transfiguration of Christ reminds us that Jesus is the light who can overcome any darkness in our lives, Pope Benedict said March 4.  

“Dear brothers and sisters, we all have need of interior light to overcome the tests of life. This light comes from God and it is Christ who gives it to us, he in whom dwells all the fullness of divinity,” the Pope said in his Sunday Angelus address.

Speaking to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope dwelt on today’s Gospel, which recounts the Transfiguration of Jesus.

“And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them,” the Gospel of St. Mark says. The episode is also described in the Gospels of St. Luke and St. Mark.

The Pope noted how there are two essential elements in each retelling of the story: the fact that Christ’s face and clothes “radiated a brilliant light” and that a “cloud enveloped the summit” from which a voice emanated saying, “This is my Son, the beloved, listen to him.”

Pope Benedict summed up those elements as “the light and the voice” -- the “divine light that shines on the face of Jesus, and the voice of the Heavenly Father who testifies for him and commands us to listen.”

This episode, he explained, “is not detached” from the Lenten path that will take Jesus towards “the fulfillment of his mission, well knowing that, to attain the resurrection, he will undergo suffering and death on the Cross.”

Christ had spoken openly of this to his disciples but “they do not understand and, indeed, have rejected this prospect,” the Pope recalled, because “they do not reason according to God but according to men.” 

Therefore, Christ wanted to reveal his “divine glory” and “the splendor of truth and love” to illuminate the hearts of his apostles for their passage through “the thick darkness of his passion and death, when the scandal of the cross will be for them unbearable.”

This “inner light” will protect them “from the assaults of darkness” because “even in the darkest night, Jesus is the light that never goes out.”

Pope Benedict drew his remarks to close with a “wonderful expression” from the 4-5th century theologian, St. Augustine of Hippo. “That which for the eyes of the body is the sun that we see, he (Christ) is for the eyes of the heart.”

Before leading the recitation of the Angelus at noon, he entrusted the pilgrims to the Virgin Mary as “our guide in the journey of faith,” that she may help us “to live this experience in Lent, to find some time each day for silent prayer and listening to the word of God.”

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