Don’t be afraid of Jesus’ light, which brings light to our daily darkness…
Today, May 6th, Pope Francis gave this encouragement to those watching his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta, reported Vatican News.
At the start of the Mass, Pope Francis prayed for all victims of Coronavirus, and for the media, working very hard at this time.
“We pray for the men and women who work in the media. In this time of pandemic they risk a lot and work a lot. May the Lord help them to always transmit the truth,” he said.
In his homily, the Holy Father reflected on today’s Gospel reading according to St. John (Jn 12:44-50) in which Jesus says: “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.”
Reminding that Jesus is light of the world, Francis explained that Christ’s mission was to come to enlighten, this world that lives in darkness.
He also, the Pope reminded, called his Apostles to continue passing His light.
But the drama of Jesus’s light, stressed the Pope, “is that it was rejected; His people did not welcome him. They loved darkness more than light; they were slaves to darkness.”
Light, Francis observed, makes us see things as they are, and see the truth.
Saint Paul, the Pope remembered, had this experience of the passage from darkness to light, “a passage to which we are also called.”
“Our sin often blinds us and we cannot tolerate the light, because our eyes are sick,” he lamented.
Vices, pride and the worldly spirit, blind us, the Pontiff said.
“It is not easy to live in the light,” he said, “because it makes us see the ugly things inside that we do not want to see: our sins.”
But when we open ourselves up, vulnerably, Francis suggested, sharing these unpleasant aspects of ourselves, “we do not hit a wall,” “but find an exit,” he said.
Jesus, the Pope highlighted, came into the world not to condemn but to save, and “we must let ourselves be enlightened in our daily darkness.”
Have courage, the Pope emphasized, “let yourself be enlightened, let yourself be seen for what you have inside, because it is Jesus who leads you forward; who saves you.
“The Lord,” he underscored, “saves us from the darkness that we have inside, from the darkness of daily life, of social life, of political life, of national and international life.”
Conversion, he highlighted, “is passing from darkness to light.”
Pope Francis concluded, saying:“The Lord saves us, but He asks us to see the darkness first… The Lord is good, He is gentle, He is near to us. He came to save us. Let’s not be afraid of the light of Jesus.”
The Pope ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, inviting the faithful to make a Spiritual Communion.
The Masses in Francis’ chapel normally welcome a small group of faithful, but due to recent measures’ taken by the Vatican, are now being kept private, without their participation. The Holy Week and Easter celebrations in the Vatican were also done without the presence of faithful, but were able to be watched via streaming.
It was announced at the start of the lockdowns in Italy that the Pope would have these Masses, in this period, be available to all the world’s faithful, via streaming on Vatican Media, on weekdays, at 7 am Rome time, along with his weekly Angelus and General Audiences.
On May 4th, the country entered its so-called ‘Phase 2’, where it will slowly relaxing some of the lockdown restrictions.
In Italy where nearly 30,000 people have died from COVID19, public Masses are still prohibited. To date, in the Vatican, there have been eleven cases of coronavirus in the Vatican, confirmed a recent statement from the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni.
The Vatican Museums are closed, along with the Vatican’s other similar museums. There have also been various guidelines implemented throughout the Vatican, to prevent the spread of the virus.
For anyone interested, the Pope’s Masses at Santa Marta can be watched live and can be watched afterward on Vatican YouTube. Below is a link to today’s Mass. Also, a ZENIT English translation of the Pope’s full homily is below:
FULL HOMILY [translated by ZENIT’s Virginia Forrester]
This passage of John’s Gospel (Cf. 12:44-50) makes us see the intimacy that existed between Jesus and the Father. Jesus did what the Father asked Him to do. Therefore, He says: “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me” (v. 44). Then He specifies His mission: “I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (v. 46). He presents Himself as light. Jesus’ mission is to illumine — light. He Himself said: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). The prophet Isaiah had prophesied this light: ”The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (v. 9:1). The promise of light, which will illumine the people. And it is also the mission of the Apostles to bring the light. Paul says it to King Agrippa: “I was chosen to illumine, to bring this light — which is not mine, it is Another’s, but to bring the light`” (Cf. Acts 26:18). It is Jesus’ mission: to bring the light. And the Apostles’ mission is to bring Jesus’ light, to illumine, because the world was in darkness.
However, the drama of Jesus’ light is that it was rejected. Already at the beginning of the Gospel John says it clearly: “He came into His own and His own received Him not. They loved the darkness more than the light” (Cf. John 1:9-11). To be accustomed to darkness, to live in darkness: they are unable to accept the light. They can’t; they are slaves of darkness. And this would be Jesus continual struggle: to illuminate, to bring the light that makes things seen as they are, as they are; it makes freedom seen, truth seen the way to follow seen, with Jesus’ light.
Paul had this experience of the passage from darkness to light, when the Lord encountered him on the road to Damascus. He remained blinded — blind. The Lord’s light blinded him. And then, after a few days, with Baptism, he had light again (Cf. Acts 9:1-19). He had this experience of the passage from the darkness, in which he was, to the light. It’s also our passage, which we received sacramentally in Baptism: therefore Baptism was called in the first centuries, the “Illumination” (Cf. Saint Justin, Apologia I, 61, 12), because it gave one light, “made one enter.” That is why in the ceremony of Baptism we give a lighted candle, a lighted candle to the father and the mother, so that the child is illumined. Jesus brings the light, but the people, His people rejected it. They were so accustomed to the darkness that the light dazzled them, they can’t go . . . (Cf. John 1:10-11). And this is the tragedy of our sin: sin blinds us and we cannot tolerate the light. Our eyes are sick. And Jesus says it clearly in Matthew’s Gospel: “if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is this darkness! (Cf. Matthew 6:22-23).” The darkness . . . And conversion is to pass from darkness to light. But what are the things that make the eyes sick, the eyes of faith? Our eyes are sick: what are the things that “pull them down,” that blind them? The vices, a worldly spirit, pride. The vices that “pull one down” and also these three things — the vices, pride, a worldly spirit — lead you to socialize with others to remain secure in the darkness. We often speak of the mafias: it’s this. However, there are “spiritual mafias,” there are “domestic mafias, always, to seek another to cover oneself and remain in darkness. It’s not easy to live in the light. The light makes one see so many awful things within us that we don’t want to see: vices, sins . . . Let us think of our vices, let us think of our pride, let us think of our worldly spirit: these things blind us, they move us away from Jesus’ light.
However, if we begin to think these things, we won’t find a wall, no, we will find a way out, because Jesus Himself says that He is the light and, also: “I have come into the world not to condemn the world, but to save the world” (Cf. John 12:46-47). Jesus, Himself, the light, says: “Have courage: let yourself be illumined, let yourself see what you have within, because I will take you forward to save you. I don’t condemn you. I save you” (Cf. v. 47). The Lord saves us from the darkness that we have within, from the darkness of daily life, of social life, of political life, of national life, international . . . There is so much darkness within. And the Lord saves us, but He asks us to see it first, to have the courage to see our darkness so that the Lord’s light can enter and save us.
Let us not be afraid of the Lord. He is very good, He is meek; He is close to us. He came to save us. Let us not be afraid of Jesus’ light.
The Pope invited the Faithful to Make a Spiritual Communion with this Prayer:
My Jesus, I believe You are really present in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar. I love You above all things and I desire You in my soul. As I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As if You have already come, I embrace You and unite myself wholly to You. Do not permit me to be ever separated from You.
Then he ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction. Before leaving the Chapel, dedicated to the Holy Spirit, the Marian antiphon “Regina Caeli” was intoned, sung in Eastertide:
Regina caeli laetare, alleluia.
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
(Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
Christ, whom you bore in your womb, alleluia,
Is Risen, as He promised, alleluia.
Pray for us to the Lord, alleluia).