Through Lent with Pope Francis
Our God illumines: he illumines our vision, our hearts, our minds, our desire to do something with our lives. The Lord’s light always shines. Yet, I would like to tell you that we do not radiate light by putting ourselves in the spotlight, for that type of light is blinding. No, we cannot illumine others by projecting a perfect, well-ordered, refined image of ourselves, or by appearing to be powerful and successful, strong but without light. No, we radiate light – we shine – by welcoming Jesus into our hearts and learning to love as he does. To love like Jesus: that is what makes us shine, makes us do works of love. Friends, I am telling you the truth: whenever you do works of love, you become light. But the moment you stop loving others and become self-centred, you extinguish your light. The second verb is to listen. On the mountain, a bright cloud overshadows the disciples. And what does it tell us, this cloud from which the Father speaks? “This is my Son, the Beloved… listen to him!” (Mt 17:5). Listen to him. To listen to Jesus, that is life’s secret. Listen to what Jesus is saying to you. “But I don’t know what he is saying to me”. Well, take the Gospels and read there what Jesus is saying, what he is saying to your heart. For he has the words of eternal life for us, he reveals that God is our Father, that God is love. He shows us the way of love. Listen to Jesus; otherwise, even if we set out with good intentions along paths that seem to be of love, in the end those paths will be seen as selfishness disguised as love. Be careful of selfishness disguised as love! Listen to Jesus, for he will show you which paths are those of love. Listen to him. The first word: to shine, so be radiant; then, listen in order not to take the wrong path; finally the third word: to be unafraid. Do not be afraid. We often find these words in the Bible, in the Gospels: “Do not be afraid”. These were the last words spoken by Jesus to the disciples at the moment of the Transfiguration: “Do not be afraid!”Homily World Youth Day in Lisbon 2023
Matthew 17:1-12 NCB
Jesus took Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And in their presence he was transfigured; his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will make three tents here—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud cast a shadow over them. Then a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were greatly frightened.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Stand up, and do not be frightened.”
And when they raised their eyes, they saw no one, but only Jesus.
As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one about this vision until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” And the disciples asked him, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come, and he will set everything right again. However, I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognise him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. In the same way, the Son of Man will suffer at their hands.”
Thought for Today
The transfiguration of Jesus made no sense to the disciples until after the resurrection. Most of us experience things which only later on in life we can make sense of. Looking back on your life, have you had experiences that seemed painful or difficult to understand, but maybe have made you more understanding of others, less judgemental, more open. Even unpleasant experiences can have positive outcomes in later life.
Ask Jesus to make sense of your confusing experiences or show a positive side to what appeared negative in the past.
Shine Jesus Shine – written by Graham Kendrick, arranged by Stephen Renswick in India