Below is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ Angelus address today at noon to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square:
Before the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
At the center of the Gospel, this Fourth Sunday of Lent, are Jesus and a man blind from birth (Jn 9: 1-41). Christ restores his sight and works this miracle with a kind of symbolic ritual: first, he mixes the earth with saliva and rubs it on his eyes; then, orders him to go and wash himself in the Pool of Siloam. The man goes, washes, and regains his sight. With this miracle, Jesus reveals himself as light of the world; and blind from birth is each of us, that we were created to know God, but because of sin, [we] are like the blind, we need a new light, that of faith, that Jesus has given us. In fact, the blind man of the Gospel regaining his vision opens to the mystery of Christ. “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
This episode causes us to reflect on our faith in Christ, the Son of God, and at the same time, also refers to Baptism, which is the first sacrament of the faith, the sacrament that makes us “come to light” by the rebirth from ‘water and the Holy Spirit; as it happened to the man born blind, who opened his eyes after being washed in the Pool of Siloam. The man born blind and cured is when we do not realize that Jesus is “the light of the world,” when we look elsewhere when we prefer to rely on small lights when fumbling in the dark. We too have been “enlightened” to Christ in Baptism, and then we are called to behave as children of light. This requires a radical change in thinking, an ability to judge men and things according to a new scale of values, which comes from God. The sacrament of Baptism, in fact, demands a choice, firm and decided, to live as children of light, and to walk in the light.
What does it mean to walk in the light? It means first of all abandon the false ‘lights’: the cold and foolish light of prejudice against others, because the prejudice distorts reality and loads us with aversion towards those who we judge without mercy and condemn without cause. This is everyday life! When we talk of others, we don’t walk in the light, but walk in the shadows. Another false ‘light,’ so seductive and unclear, is self-interest: if we evaluate people and things based on the criterion of how they are useful to, our pleasure, our prestige, we make the truth in relationships and situations. If we walk this path of searching only personal interests, we walk in the shadow…
May the Blessed Virgin, who first welcomed Jesus, light of the world, grant us the grace to welcome again this Lent the light of faith and rediscover the inestimable gift of Baptism. And that this new enlightenment may transform us, in attitudes and actions, starting from our poverty and littleness, to be bearers of a ray of Christ’s light.[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Yesterday in Almería (Spain), José Álvarez-Benavides y de la Torre, and 114 companions, martyrs, were beatified . These priests, religious and lay people have been heroic witnesses of Christ and his Gospel of peace and fraternal reconciliation. Their example and their intercession sustain the Church’s involvement in building the civilization of love.
I greet all of you, coming from Rome, Italy and other countries, in particular the pilgrims from Córdoba (Spain), the youth of Saint-Jean de Passy Paris College, the faithful of Loreto, the faithful of St. Helens Rende, Maiori, Poggiomarino and adolescents of the deanery “Roman-Vittoria” in Milan. And speaking of Milan, I would like to thank the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan [Cardinal Angelo Scola] and all the people for the warm welcome yesterday. Actually, I felt at home, and [felt] this [way] with everyone, believers and non-believers. Thank you so much, dear Milan, and I’ll tell you something: I’ve found that it’s true what they say: “In Milan, they welcome you with heart in hand!”.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye![Original text: Italian] [Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]