By John Waters
On Sunday 25th February, Pope Francis said Mass in the Parish church of San Gelasio, at Ponte Mammalo in Rome. The Mass began 30 minutes earlier than scheduled. Among the congregation were many ex-prisoners, being held in a state of semi-freedom, as well as family to whom the Pope had donated a pre-fabricated house, after their own has been destroyed by a fire.
After the Mass, the Pope greeted the crowds who had gathered outside in the bitterly cold weather, joking that, after see how they willingly waited for him in the cold, he felt inspired to build a parish at the North Pole.
The Pope’s homily focused on the Transfiguration of Jesus, as told in the Gospel of the day. Pope Francis explained to the congregation how it important to always listen to the voice of Jesus in everyday life, and then to do what Jesus says.
Below is the full text of the Holy Father’s Homily.
Jesus shows himself to the Apostles as he is in Heaven. Glorious, luminous, triumphant, victor. And this is done to prepare them for the scandal of the cross, because they could not understand that Jesus would die like a criminal, they could not understand this. They though that Jesus was a liberator, but like earthly liberators, who win battles, who are always triumphant. And the path of Jesus is another, Jesus triumphs through humiliation, the humiliation of the cross. But, as this would be a scandal for them, Jesus lets them see what will come next, what is after cross, what awaits us, all of us. This glory and this heaven. And this is very beautiful, very beautiful because Jesus, and this feels good, always prepares us for the test. In one way or another but this is the message. It always prepares us. It gives us the strength to go on in moments of trial and to win with its strength. Jesus does not leave us alone in the trials of life, he always prepares us, he helps us as he prepares these (the disciples) with the vision of his glory. And so they remembered this moment, to bear the weight of the humiliation. And this is the first thing that the church teaches, that Jesus always prepares us and rehearses with us. He does not leave us alone, never.
The second thing we can take from the word of God “This is my beloved son. Listen to him.” This is the message which the Father gives to the Apostles, the message of Jesus prepares them to see his glory, the message of the Father is “Listen to him.” There is no moment in life which cannot be fully lived by listening to Jesus. In beautiful moments, stop and listen to Jesus, in bad moments, stop and listen to Jesus. This is the way, he will tell us what we need to do, always.
So let us go forwards in this Lent, with these two things. In trials, remember the glory of Jesus, which is what awaits us, that Jesus is always present with that glory which gives us strength. And through all of life, listen to Jesus, to what Jesus tells us, in the Gospel, in the liturgy or in the heart, he always speaks to us.