Baptism inspires us to follow Jesus and judge men and things according to a new scale of values that comes from God, as well as to walk in the light, that is to "abandon false lights”. Francis thanked Milan and the Milanese for the warm reception they showed him yesterday. He also said that it is true that "In Milan people are welcomed heart in hand”.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis on Sunday spoke about the passage from the Gospel of John (Jn 9,1-41) in which Jesus gives sight to a man blind from birth.
In his address, the pontiff said that Baptism inspires us to follow Jesus, and thus judge men and things according to a new scale of values that comes from God, as well as walk in the light, that is "abandon false lights”, the "cold fatuous prejudice towards others "and the "seductive and ambiguous" one of personal interest.
Speaking to a crowd of some 40,000 people in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father said that "Jesus and a man born blind are at the heart of the Gospel of this Fourth Sunday of Lent. Christ restored his sight and worked this miracle with a kind of symbolic ritual: first he mixed earth with saliva and rubbed it on his eyes, then ordered him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. The blind man went, washed, and regained his eyesight. With this miracle, Jesus revealed himself as the light of the world; and the man born blind represents each one of us, created to know God but because of sin are like the blind, we need a new light, that of faith, that Jesus has given us.
“In fact, the blind man in the Gospel, by regaining his eyesight, opened up to the mystery of Christ. ‘Do you believe in the Son of man?’ Jesus asked (v. 35). ‘Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?’ answered the healed blind man (v. 36). ‘You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he’ (v. 37). ‘I do believe, Lord,’ and he bowed down before Jesus.”
"This episode leads us to reflect on our faith in Christ, the Son of God. At the same time, it also refers to Baptism, which is the first sacrament of the faith, the sacrament that makes 'us come to light' through rebirth in water and the Holy Spirit, like it happened to the man born blind, who opened his eyes after washing in the Pool of Siloam. The man born blind and healed represents us when we do not realise that Jesus is ‘the light of the world’, when we look elsewhere, when we prefer to rely on little lights, when we fumble in the dark.
“The fact that the blind man has no name helps us see ourselves with our face and our name in his story. We too have been 'enlightened' by Christ in Baptism, and so we are called to behave like children of light. This requires a radical change in mind-set, an ability to judge men and things according to a new scale of values, which comes from God. The sacrament of Baptism, in fact, demands a firm and determined choice to live like children of light and walk in the light."
"What does it mean to have the true light, what does it mean to walk in the light? It means first of all abandon the false lights: the cold fatuous light of prejudice towards others because prejudice distorts reality and fills us of hate against those whom we judge without mercy and condemn without appeal. This is a daily evil: talking about others means walking in the shadow.
“Another false light, one that is seductive and ambiguous, is self-interest. If we value people and things based on the criterion of our profit, our pleasure, our prestige, we are not truthful in relations and situations. If we go down the road of self-interest, we are walking in the shadow.
“May the Blessed Virgin, who first welcomed Jesus, light of the world, grant us the grace of welcoming again this Lent the light of faith, rediscovering the inestimable gift of Baptism. May this new light transform our attitudes and actions so that we too, starting with our poverty and smallness, be bearers of a ray of the light of Christ."
After the Marian prayer, Francis said that yesterday in Almería, Spain, José Alvarez-Benavides y de la Torre and 114 companions who died a martyr’s death in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War were beatified. "These priests, religious and lay people were heroic witnesses of Christ and his Gospel of peace and fraternal reconciliation. May their example and intercession sustain the Church's involvement in building the civilisation of love."
The pope then thanked the city and the people Milan for the warm welcome they showed him yesterday. It is true, he said in Milanese "A Milan si riceve col core in man" (In Milan people are welcomed heart in hand).