Pope Francis From darkness to light 06.05.20
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.
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.
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.
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.