Darkness




Pope Francis  22.04.20  Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae) Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter     John 3: 16-21

Pope Francis Talks about Light and Darkness 22.04.20

At a time when so much unity is needed among us, among nations, let us pray today for Europe, for Europe to succeed in having this unity, this fraternal unity that the founding fathers of the European Union dreamed of.

This passage of the Gospel of John, chapter 3, the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus, is a true treatise on theology: here is everything. Kerygma, catechesis, theological reflection, the parenesis ... there's everything in this chapter. And every time we read it, we encounter more wealth, more explanations, more things that make us understand the revelation of God. It would be nice to read it many times, to get closer to the mystery of redemption. Today I will only take two points of all this, two points that are in today's passage.

The first is the revelation of God's love. God loves us and loves us – as a saint says – madly: God's love seems crazy. He loves us: "he loved the world so much that he gave his only Son." He gave his Son, sent his Son and sent him to die on the cross. Every time we look at the crucifix, we find this love. The crucifix is precisely the great book of God's love. It is not an object to put here or to put there, more beautiful, not so beautiful, older, more modern ... No. It is precisely the expression of God's love. God loved us like this: he sent his Son, who annihilated himself to the point of death on the cross out of love. He loved the world so much that God gave his Son.

How many people, how many Christians spend their time looking at the crucifix ... and there they find everything, because they understood, the Holy Spirit made them understand that there is all the science, all the love of God, all Christian wisdom. Paul talks about this, explaining that all the human reasoning that he was able to do served only up to a certain point, but the true reasoning, the most beautiful way of thinking, but also that more explains everything is the cross of Christ, it is Christ crucified that is a scandal and madness, but that is the way. And this is God's love. God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. And why? So that everyone who believes in Him will not to be lost but may have eternal life. The love of the Father who wants his children to be with him.

Look at the crucifix in silence, look at the wounds, look at the heart of Jesus, look at the whole: Christ crucified, the Son of God, annihilated, humiliated ... out of love. This is the first point that this passage on theology shows us today, this dialogue of Jesus with Nicodemus.

The second point is a point that will also help us: "The light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil." Jesus also picks up this theme of the light. There are people – us as well, many times – who cannot live in the light because they are accustomed to darkness. The light dazzles them, they are unable to see. They are human bats: they can only move in the night. And we too, when we are in sin, are in this state: we do not tolerate light. It is more comfortable for us to live in darkness; light hits us, makes us see what we don't want to see. But the worst thing is that the eyes, the eyes of the soul from so much living in darkness get so used to it that they end up ignoring what light is. Losing the sense of light because I get more used to darkness. And so many human scandals, so many corruptions show us this. The corrupt don't know what light is, they don't know. We too, when we are in a state of sin, in a state of distance from the Lord, become blind and feel better in darkness and go forward like this, without seeing, like a blind person, moving around as best we can.

Let the love of God, who sent Jesus to save us, enter into us and the light that Jesus brings, the light of the Spirit enter into us and help us to see things with the light of God, with the true light and not with the darkness that the lord of darkness gives us.

Two things, today: God's love in Christ, crucified; and in everyday life the daily question that we can ask ourselves: "Do I walk in light or walk in darkness? Am I a child of God or have I ended up being a poor bat?"




Pope Francis  06.05.20 Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)    Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter     John 12: 44-50

Pope Francis From Darkness to Light 06.05.20

Let us pray today for the men and women who work in the media. In this time of pandemic they risk a lot and the work is a lot. May the Lord help them in this work of always transmitting the truth.

This passage of the Gospel of John (John 12: 44-50) shows us the intimacy that was between Jesus and the Father. Jesus did what the Father told him to do. And for this reason he says: "Whoever believes in me believes not only in me, but also in the one who sent me" (12: 44). Then he spells out his mission: "I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness" (12: 46). He presents himself as light. Jesus' mission is to enlighten: light. He himself said, "I am the light of the world"(John 8:12). The prophet Isaiah had prophesied this light: "The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light"(Mt 4:16 and Is 9:1). The promise of light that will enlighten the people. And, also, the mission of the apostles is to bring light. Paul said this to King Agrippa: "I was chosen to illuminate, to bring this light – which is not mine, it is of another – but to bring light" ( Acts 26:18). It is Jesus' mission: to bring light. And the mission of the apostles is to bring the light of Jesus. To enlighten. Because the world was in darkness.

But the drama of Jesus' light is that it had been rejected. At the beginning of the Gospel, John says it clearly: "He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him." (John 1: 10-11) They loved darkness more than light. Getting used to darkness, living in darkness: they cannot welcome light, they cannot; they are slaves to darkness. And this will be Jesus' struggle, he continues: to enlighten, to bring the light that makes things seem as they are; makes us see freedom, shows the truth, shows the way to go, with the light of Jesus.

Paul had this experience of the transition from darkness to light, when the Lord met him on the road to Damascus. He was blinded. Blind. The light of the Lord blinded him. And then, after a few days, with baptism, the light came back (Acts 9: 1-19). He had this experience of the passage from the darkness in which he was in, to the light. It is also our passage, which we received sacramentally in baptism: for this reason baptism was called, in the first centuries, the Enlightenment because it gave you the light, it "made one enter". For this reason in the baptism ceremony we give a lit candle, a lit candle to the father and mother, because the child, the little girl or boy, is illuminated. Jesus brings light.

But the people, the people, his people rejected it. They are so accustomed to darkness that the light dazzles them. And this is the drama of our sin: sin blinds us and we cannot tolerate the light. We have sick eyes. And Jesus says it clearly, in the Gospel of Matthew: "If your eye is ill, your whole body will be ill. If your eye sees only darkness, how much darkness will there be within you?" ( Mt 6: 22-23) Darkness... And conversion is to move from darkness to light. But what are the things that make our eyes ill, the eyes of faith? Our eyes are sick: what are the things that "pull them down", that blind them? The vices, worldly spirit, and pride.

The vices that "pull you down" and also, these three things – vices, pride, the worldly spirit – lead you to associate with others to stay safe in darkness. We often talk about the mafia: it's that. But there are "spiritual mafias", there are "domestic mafias", always, looking for someone else to cover up and stay in darkness. It is not easy to live in the light. Light makes us see so many ugly things within us that we do not want to see: vices, sins. Let us think of our vices, we think of our pride, we think of our worldly spirit: these things blind us, distance us from the light of Jesus. But if we begin to think of these things, we will not find a wall, no: we will find an exit, because Jesus himself says that he is the light and: "I came into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world" ( John 12: 46-47). Jesus himself, the light, says: "Have courage: let yourself be enlightened, let yourself be seen for what you have inside, because I am the one who brings you forward, to save you. I am not going to condemn you. I want to save you".
 
The Lord saves us from the darkness that we have inside, from the darkness of daily life, of social life, of political life, of national, international life. So much darkness is in it. And the Lord saves us. But he asks us to see them first; have the courage to see our darkness so that the light of the Lord might enter and save us.

Let us not be afraid of the Lord: he is very good, he is gentle, he is close to us. He came to save us. Let us not be afraid of the light of Jesus.