The Cross "is not some home furnishing nor an ornament to wear, but a call to the love with which Jesus sacrificed himself to save humanity from evil and sin. " the pope expresses his "closeness" to the people of Guatemala after fire ravages a youth shelter.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis said before the Angelus prayer that the violence and mistreatment of children is "a plague, a hidden scream that must be heard by all of us and that we cannot continue to pretend not to see or listen." He went on to say, “I pray and ask you to pray with me for the girls and boys who are victim of violence, mistreatment, exploitation, and wars.”
The pontiff also devoted a prayer to the people of Guatemala, "who live in mourning for the serious and sad fire that broke out inside the Casa Refugio Virgen de la Asunción that killed and injured girls who lived there." Having expressed his "closeness" to the Central American country, Francis called on God to "receive their souls, heal the wounded, console the grieving families and the whole nation."
Before the Marian prayer, Francis spoke to the 40,000 people in St Peter's Square, commented today's Gospel, saying the Cross "is not some home furnishing nor an ornament to wear, but a call for the love with which Jesus sacrificed himself to save humanity from evil and sin". It says that "Whoever dies with Christ, with Christ shall rise again. Those who struggle with Him, with Him shall triumph."
The Gospel of this second Sunday of Lent "presents the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus (cf. Mt 17:1-9),” he said. “Having taken three of the apostles aside, Peter, James and John, He went up with them on a high mountain, where a strange phenomenon occurred: the face of Jesus shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light" (17:2). Thus, the Lord shone on his own person the divine glory that one could grasp with faith in his preaching and miraculous deeds. And the transfiguration was accompanied, on the mountain, by the appearance of Moses and Elijah "conversing with him" (v. 3).
“The ‘light’ that characterises this extraordinary event symbolises its purpose: to illuminate the minds and hearts of the disciples so that they can clearly understand who their Master is. It is a flash of light that opens suddenly on the mystery of Jesus and illuminates his entire person and story.
“Now set on the road Jerusalem, where he will suffer the death sentence by crucifixion, Jesus wants to prepare his people for this scandal that is too great for their faith and, at the same time, announce his resurrection, manifesting himself as the Messiah, the Son of God.
“In fact, Jesus is showing a different Messiah than the one was expected: not a powerful and glorious king, but a humble unarmed servant; not a gentleman of great wealth, a sign of blessing, but a poor man who has nowhere to lay his head; not a patriarch with numerous offspring, but a homeless bachelor's without a nest. God’s revelation is truly turned on its head, and the most disconcerting sign of this outrageous reversal is the cross. Yet, precisely through the cross will Jesus come to the glorious resurrection.
“Jesus, transfigured on Mount Tabor, sought to show his glory to his disciples, not to prevent them to go through the cross, but to show them where to carry the cross. Whoever dies with Christ, with Christ shall rise again. Whoever struggles with Him, with Him shall triumph. This is the message of hope that the cross of Jesus contains, urging strength in our existence.
“The Christian cross is not a home furnishing nor an ornament to wear, but a call to the love with which Jesus sacrificed himself to save humanity from evil and sin. In this Lenten season, let us contemplate with devotion the image of the Crucified Lord: it is the symbol of the Christian faith, it is the symbol of Jesus who died and rose for us. Let us make sure that the Cross marks the stages of our Lenten journey, that we might understand more and more the seriousness of sin and the value of the sacrifice with which the Redeemer has saved us.
“The Holy Virgin was able to contemplate the glory of Jesus concealed in his humanity. May she help us to be with Him in silent prayer, to be enlightened by his presence, to carry in the heart, through the darkest of nights, a reflection of his glory."