Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - "Let us entrust our Lenten journey to the Virgin Mary, so that we too , like the blind man healed by the grace of Christ, can 'come to see the light' , reborn to new life". This was Pope Francis invitation to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square before the Angelus prayer. Thanks also to the beautiful weather about 30 - 40 thousand pilgrims arrived for the midday appointment.
Commenting on the Sunday Gospel (Fourth Sunday of Lent A, Jn. 9, 1-41), the Pope highlighted the contrast between "the man blind from birth , to whom Jesus gives sight " and "those who supposedly have sight but continue to remain blind in their soul". Indeed, twice he advised all present, on returning home to "take the gospel of John, chapter 9 and read the story of the blind man whose sight was restored and those who supposedly could see who slipped deeper and deeper into blindness".
The pontiff noted at the outset
that " the miracle is narrated by John in just two verses , because the
evangelist does not want to draw attention to the miracle in itself , but to
what happens next, and the questions it raises". And moving from his scripted
speech, the Pope added: "Even gossip. Many times a good work provokes
gossip from people who do not want to know the truth. And this happens even
"While the blind man gradually approaches the light - he continued - on the contrary the doctors of the law to slip ever deeper into inner blindness. Locked in their arrogance, they believe they already have the light, and so do not open to the truth of Jesus They do everything to deny the evidence. They bring into question the identity of the healed man, and then deny God's action in healing, using as an excuse that God does not act on Saturdays , they even doubted that this man was born blind. Their closing to the light becomes aggressive and leads to expulsion of the healed man from the temple".
"The path of the blind man instead is a journey in stages - he added - that starts from the knowledge of the name of Jesus. He knows no more of him, because he says, "the man named Jesus made clay and smeared the clay on his eyes"(v. 11) . Following the pressing questions of the Pharisees , he first considers him a prophet ( v. 17 ) and then a man close to God ( v.31 ) . After he was removed from the temple, he encounters Jesus again and he "opens his eyes" for the second time, revealing his true identity. 'I am the Messiah' he says. At this point, the man who had been blind, exclaimed: "Lord, I believe!" ( V.38 ) , and bows down in front of Jesus".
"Dear brothers - he said - our life is sometimes similar to that of the blind man who opened to the light of God and His grace. Sometimes, unfortunately, is a like 'that of the doctors of law: from height of our pride we judge others, and even the Lord. Today, we are invited to open ourselves to the light of Christ to bear fruit in our lives, to eliminate our behavior that is not Christian, to walk firmly on the path of holiness. It has its origin in baptism. We too have been 'illuminated' by Christ in baptism, so that, as St. Paul reminds us, we can act as "children of light " ( EF5 , 8), with humility, patience, mercy".
Again moving off script he added:
"These teachers of the law had neither humility nor patience nor mercy. I
would suggest when you get home you read this chapter 9, so you'll see the path
of light and the path of blindness that becomes greater and greater. And so we
can see is our heart open or closed toward God and neighbor? We always have
closures. We must not be afraid, let us look inside ourselves: He always waits
for us, to forgive us".
He concluded: "In these days when we are preparing for Easter, let the gift received in Baptism b rekindled in us, let us feed the flame with prayer and charity towards our neighbor".
After the Marian prayer, among the greetings, he also mentioned the "Italian soldiers who have made a pilgrimage on foot from Loreto to Rome praying for a peaceful and just resolution of conflicts". He said: "This is very good. In beatitudes in Jesus says that blessed are those who work for peace".