Light

Light - Pope Francis    


Pope Francis   09.02.14  Angelus, St Peter's Square      Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year A      Matthew 5: 13-16 


Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

In this Sunday’s Gospel passage, immediately after the Beatitudes, Jesus says to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world” (Mt 5:13-14). This surprises us a bit when we think of those who were before Jesus when he spoke these words. Who were these disciples? They were fishermen, simple people... But Jesus sees them with God’s eyes, and his assertion can be understood precisely as a result of the Beatitudes. He wishes to say: if you are poor in spirit, if you are meek, if you are pure of heart, if you are merciful... you will be the salt of the earth and the light of the world!

To better understand these images, we must keep in mind that Jewish Law prescribed that a little bit of salt be sprinkled over every offering presented to God, as a sign of the covenant. Light for Israel was a symbol of messianic revelation, triumph over the darkness of paganism. Christians, the new Israel, receive a mission to carry into the world for all men: through faith and charity they can guide, consecrate, and make humanity fruitful. We who are baptized Christians are missionary disciples and we are called to become a living Gospel in the world: with a holy life we will “flavour” different environments and defend them from decay, as salt does; and we will carry the light of Christ through the witness of genuine charity. But if we Christians lose this flavour and do not live as salt and light, we lose our effectiveness. This mission of giving light to the world is so beautiful! We have this mission, and it is beautiful! It is also beautiful to keep the light we have received from Jesus, protecting it and safeguarding it. The Christian should be a luminous person; one who brings light, who always gives off light! A light that is not his, but a gift from God, a gift from Jesus. We carry this light. If a Christian extinguishes this light, his life has no meaning: he is a Christian by name only, who does not carry light; his life has no meaning. I would like to ask you now, how do you want to live? As a lamp that is burning or one that is not? Burning or not? How would you like to live? [The people respond: Burning!] As burning lamps! It is truly God who gives us this light and we must give it to others. Shining lamps! This is the Christian vocation.




Pope Francis   05.02.17  Angelus St Peter's Square     Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year A    Matthew 5: 13-16


Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

These Sundays the liturgy offers us the so-called Sermon on the Mount, in the Gospel of Matthew. After presenting the Beatitudes last Sunday, today [Matthew] emphasizes Jesus’ words describing his disciples’ mission in the world. (cf. Mt 5:13-16). He uses the metaphors of salt and light, and his words are directed to the disciples of every age, therefore also to us.

Jesus invites us to be a reflection of his light, by witnessing with good works. He says: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (v. 16). These words emphasize that we are recognizable as true disciples of the One who is the Light of the World, not in words, but by our works. Indeed, it is above all our behaviour that — good or bad — leaves a mark on others. Therefore, we have a duty and a responsibility towards the gift received: the light of the faith, which is in us through Christ and the action of the Holy Spirit; and we must not withhold it as if it were our property. Instead we are called to make it shine throughout the world, to offer it to others through good works. How much the world needs the light of the Gospel which transforms, heals and guarantees salvation to those who receive it! We must convey this light through our good works.

The light of our faith, in giving of oneself, does not fade but strengthens. However it can weaken if we do not nourish it with love and with charitable works. In this way the image of light complements that of salt. The Gospel passage, in fact, tells us that, as disciples of Christ, we are also “the salt of the earth” (v. 13). Salt is an ingredient which, while it gives flavour, keeps food from turning and spoiling — in Jesus’ time there were no refrigerators! Thus, Christians’ mission in society is that of giving “flavour” to life with the faith and the love that Christ has given us, and at the same time, keeping away the contaminating seeds of selfishness, envy, slander, and so on. These seeds degrade the fabric of our communities, which should instead shine as places of welcome, solidarity and reconciliation. To fulfil this mission, it is essential that we first free ourselves from the corruptive degeneration of worldly influences contrary to Christ and to the Gospel; and this purification never ends, it must be done continuously; it must be done every day!

Each one of us is called to be light and salt, in the environment of our daily life, persevering in the task of regenerating the human reality in the spirit of the Gospel and in the perspective of the Kingdom of God. May there always be the helpful protection of Mary Most Holy, first disciple of Jesus and model for believers who live their vocation and mission each day in history. May our Mother help us to let ourselves always be purified and enlightened by the Lord, so as to become, in our turn, “salt of the earth” and “light of the world”.




Pope Francis  26.03.17  Angelus, St Peter's Square   4th Sunday of Lent Year A          John 9: 1-41       


Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

At the centre of the Gospel this Fourth Sunday of Lent we find Jesus and a man blind from birth (cf. Jn 9:1-41). Christ restores his sight and performs this miracle with a type of symbolic ritual: first, He mixes dirt with saliva and spreads it on the blind man’s eyes; then, He orders him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. The man goes, washes, and regains his sight. He was blind from birth. With this miracle, Jesus manifests himself, and He manifests himself to us as the Light of the World. The man blind from birth represents each one of us, who was created to know God; but due to sin has become blind; we are in need of a new light; we are all in need of a new light: that of faith, which Jesus has given us. Indeed, that blind man in the Gospel, by regaining his sight, is opened to the mystery of Christ. Jesus asks him: “Do you believe in the Son of man?” (v. 35). “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”, the healed blind man replied. “You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you” (v. 37). “Lord, I believe”, [the blind man said,] and he prostrated himself before Jesus.

This episode induces us to reflect on our faith, our faith in Christ, the Son of God; and at the same time, it also refers to Baptism, which is the first Sacrament of faith: the Sacrament which makes us “come to the light”, by being reborn through the water and through the Holy Spirit; as happens to the man born blind, whose eyes are opened after being cleansed in the water of the pool of Siloam. The man born blind and healed represents us when we do not realize that Jesus is the light; he is “the Light of the World”, when we are looking elsewhere, when we prefer to entrust ourselves to little lights, when we are groping in the dark. The fact that the blind man has no name helps us to see our face reflected and our name in his story. We too have been “illuminated” by Christ in Baptism, and thus we are called to behave as children of the light. Acting as children of the light requires a radical change of mind-set, a capacity to judge men and things according to another scale of values, which comes from God. The Sacrament of Baptism, in fact, requires the choice of living as children of the light and walking in the light. If I were to ask you: “Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe that he can change your heart? Do you believe that he can show reality as he sees it, not as we see it? Do you believe that he is light, that he gives us the true light?”. How would you answer? Each of you, respond in your heart.

What does it mean to have the true light, to walk in the light? First of all it means abandoning false lights: the cold, vain light of prejudice against others, because prejudice distorts reality and ladens us with aversion to those whom we judge without mercy and condemn without appeal. This is our daily bread! When you gossip about others, you do not walk in the light, you walk in shadows. Another false light, because it is seductive and ambiguous, is that of self-interest: if we value men and things on the basis of usefulness to us, of pleasure, of prestige, we are not truthful in our relationships and situations. If we go down this path of seeking self-interest, we are walking in shadows.

May the Blessed Virgin, who was the first to welcome Jesus, the Light of the World, obtain for us this grace of welcoming anew the light of faith this Lent, rediscovering the inestimable gift of Baptism, which all of us have received. And may this new illumination transform us in attitude and action, so that we too, beginning with our poverty, our narrow-mindedness, may be bearers of a ray of the light of Christ.





https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/christian-witness/12.06.18.jpg
 
Christian witness is meant to edify others and not to serve as path to self-promotion.

Christians are called to provide simple, habitual witness to Jesus; “everyday holiness.”

Christian witness, can mean giving one’s life in martyrdom, after Jesus’ example. But another path is to point to Christ in our everyday actions, when we wake, work, and go to bed.

It seems like such a small thing but miracles are done through small things.

Christian witness must be grounded in
humility, which means being simple salt and light for others.

Salt for others; light for others: Because salt does not give flavour to itself but serves others. Light does not illuminate itself but serves others… Supermarkets sell salt in small quantities, not by the ton. And salt does not promote itself because it doesn’t serve itself. It exists to serve others, by conserving things and giving flavour. This is simple witness.

Daily Christian witness means being light for others, “to help them in their darkest hour.”

The Lord says: ‘You are salt; you are light.’… But do so in order that others see and glorify God. You will not even receive any merit. When we eat, we don’t compliment the salt. No, we say the pasta or meat is good… When we go to sleep at night, we don’t say the light is good. We ignore the light, but we live illuminated by light. This impels Christians to be anonymous witnesses.

Do not act like the Pharisee who thanks the Lord for his holiness. We are not the authors of our own merits.

Everyday holiness means being salt and light for others.




Pope Francis  09.02.20  Angelus, St Peter's Square      Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A     Matthew 5: 13-16   

Pope Francis talks about Salt, Light and Good Deeds 09.02.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In today's Gospel (cf. Mt 5:13-16), Jesus says to his disciples: "You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world" (vv. 13.14). He uses symbolic language not so much to give a definition of the disciple but to set out for those who wish to follow Him certain criteria for living their mission in the world. 

The first image: salt. Salt is the component that gives flavour and that stores and preserves food from corruption. The disciple is therefore called to keep society away from the dangers, and the corrosive elements that pollute people's lives. It is a question of resisting sin and moral degradation, and bearing witness to the values of honesty and fraternity, without giving in to the worldly enticements of careerism, power and wealth. The disciple is "salt" who, despite the daily failures – because we all have them – rises from the dust of their own mistakes, starting again with courage and patience, every day, to seek dialogue and encounter with others. A disciple is "salt" who does not seek approval and praise, but strives to be a humble and constructive presence, in fidelity to the teachings of Jesus who came into the world not to be served, but to serve. And this attitude is greatly needed! 

The second image that Jesus offers to His disciples is that of light: "You are the light of the world." The light disperses the darkness and allows you to see. Jesus is the light that has dispelled the darkness, but it still remains in the world and in individual people. It is the task of the Christian to dispel it further by making Christ's light shine among others and by proclaiming His Gospel. This outpouring of light can come from our words, but it must come mainly from our 'good deeds' (see 16). A disciple and a Christian community are the light of the world when they direct others to God, helping each person to experience His goodness and mercy. A disciple of Jesus is light when he or she knows how to live their faith outside of confined spaces, helping to eliminating prejudices, eliminating slander, and in bringing the light of truth into situations tainted by hypocrisy and lies. You must be the light. But it is not my own light, it is the light of Jesus : we are instruments of Jesus and we must radiate His light to reach everyone.

Jesus invites us not to be afraid to live in the world, even if there are sometimes conditions of conflict and sin in it. In the face of violence, injustice and oppression, Christians cannot shut up within themselves in or hide in the security of their own enclosure; even the Church cannot shut up within herself, she cannot abandon her mission of evangelization and service. Jesus, in the Last Supper, asked the Father not to remove the disciples from the world, to leave them, there, in the world, but to guard them from the spirit of the world. The Church gives generously and tenderly for the least and the poor: this is not the spirit of the world, this is her light, she is salt. The Church hears the cry of the least and the excluded, because she is aware of being a pilgrim community called to extend throughout history the saving presence of Jesus Christ.

May the Blessed Virgin helps us to be salt and light in the world, bringing to everyone, in life and word, the Good News of God's love.



Pope Francis   22.03.20  Angelus Apostolic Palace Library, St Peter's Square      4th Sunday of Lent Year A     John 9: 1-41 

Pope Francis talks about Light 22.03.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

At the centre of the liturgy of this fourth Sunday of Lent is the theme of light. The Gospel (cf. John 9:1-41) tells the story of the man blind from birth, to whom Jesus gives sight. This miraculous sign is confirmation of Jesus' affirmation of : "I am the light of the world" (v. 5), the light that illuminates our darkness. This is who Jesus is. He operates illumination on two levels: a physical one and a spiritual one: the blind man first receives the sight of the eyes and then is led to faith in the "Son of Man" (v. 35), that is, in Jesus. It's all a path. Today it would be good if all of you took the Gospel of John, Chapter 9, and read this passage: it is so beautiful and it will do us good to read it one or two more times. The wonders that Jesus performs are not only spectacular gestures, but they are meant to lead to faith through a process of inner transformation.

The Pharisees and the doctors of the law – who were there as a group – refused to acknowledge the miracle, and ask the healed man insidious questions. But he disconcerts them with the power of reality: "One thing I know: I was blind and now I see" (v. 25). Between the mistrust and hostility of those who surround him and question him in disbelief, he gradually takes a route that leads him to discover the identity of the one who opened his eyes and to confess his faith in Him. At first he considers Him a prophet (see 17); then recognizes Him as one who comes from God (cf. v. 33); Finally, he welcomes Him as the Messiah and prostrate himself before Him (see vv. 36-38). He understood that by giving him sight Jesus had "displayed the works of God" (cf. v. 3).

May we too have this experience! With the light of faith, the blind man discovers his new identity. He is now a "new creature", able to see his life and the world around him in a new light , because he entered into communion with Christ, he entered another dimension. He is no longer a beggar marginalized from the community; he is no longer a slave to blindness and prejudice. His path of enlightenment is a metaphor for the path of liberation from sin to which we are called. Sin is like a dark veil that covers our face and prevents us from clearly seeing ourselves and the world; the Lord's forgiveness takes away this blanket of shadow and darkness and gives us new light. The Lent we are living is an opportune and valuable time to approach the Lord, asking for His mercy, in the different forms that the Mother Church proposes to us.

The healed blind man, who now sees both with the eyes of the body and those of the soul, is the image of every baptized man, who immersed in Grace has been pulled out of the darkness and placed in the light of faith. But it is not enough to receive light, it is necessary to become light. Each of us is called to receive the divine light in order to manifest it with our whole life. The first Christians, the theologians of the first centuries, said that the community of Christians, that is, the Church, is the "mystery of the moon", because they gave light but it was not their own light, it was the light they received from Christ. We also must be "mystery of the moon": to give the light received from the son, who is Christ the Lord. St Paul reminds us of this today: "Be a child of light; for the fruit of light consists in all goodness, justice, and truth"(Eph 5:8-9). The seed of new life placed in us in Baptism is like a spark of a fire, which purifies us first, burning the evil that we have in our hearts, and allows us to shine and illuminate. With the light of Jesus.

May Mary Most Holy help us to imitate the blind man of the Gospel, so that we can be flooded with the light of Christ and walk with him on the path of salvation.





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.