Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "While, through our Lenten journey, we prepare for the feast of Easter, we are also joyfully approaching the day when we will venerate as Blessed this great witness of Christ and Pope [John Paul II], and rely even more on his intercession", said Benedict XVI today at the end of the Angelus, the day after the anniversary of the Polish pope's death (April 2, 2005). John Paul II will be beatified on May 1st next, the Second Sunday of Easter and Feats of Divine Mercy, a festivity greatly desire by the late Pope.
Precisely because of the impending beatification, Pope Benedict XVI did not celebrate a memorial Mass yesterday, "but I fondly remembered him in prayer, as I think all of you also did."
Previously, in the reflection before the Angelus, the pope focused on the Sunday Gospel story, which recounts the miracle of the man born blind (John 9, 1 - 41).
"Worthy of note - said the pope – is how a simple and sincere person, in a gradually way, makes a journey of faith: at first, he encounters Jesus as a 'man' among others, then he considers him a 'prophet', finally, his eyes open and he proclaims Him 'Lord'. "
"In opposition to the faith of the healed blind man - he adds - there is a hardening of the hearts of the Pharisees who did not want to accept the miracle, because they refuse to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The crowd, however, pause to discuss the incident and remain distant and indifferent. The same parents of the blind man are overcome by fear of being judged by others. "
"We too – he went on to explain - because of the sin of Adam are born" blind ", but in the baptismal font we were enlightened by the grace of Christ. Sin had wounded human destined to the darkness of death, but Christ shines in the newness of life and the goal to which we are called. In Him, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, we receive the strength to overcome evil and do good. In fact, Christian life is a continuous conformation to Christ, the image of new man, to achieve full communion with God The Lord Jesus is "the light of the world" (Jn 8:12), because he 'shines knowledge of the glory of God '(2 Cor 4:6) that continues to reveal the intricate story of the meaning of human existence”.
"In Baptism – he recalled - the gifting of the candle, lit from the paschal candle, the great symbol of the Risen Christ, is a sign which helps to understand what happens in the Sacrament. When our lives are enlightened by the mystery of Christ, we experience the joy of being liberated from all that threatens our fulfillment. In these days which prepare us for Eastermay the gift we received at Baptism be rekindled in us, that flame that sometimes threatens to be stifled. Let us nourish it with prayer and love of neighbour".