Be open to the light of Christ, encourages Pope

Pope Francis preaches during a Penitential service at St. Peter's Basilica, March 28, 2014. Credit: Lauren Cater / CNA.

During his Sunday Angelus message, Pope Francis urged the faithful to open themselves to the light of Christ and not be hindered by pride or interior blindness.

“Sometimes unfortunately ... from the height of our pride we judge others, and even the Lord! Today, we are invited to open ourselves to the light of Christ to bear fruit in our lives, to get rid of the behaviors that are not Christian,” Pope Francis encouraged those gathered in St. Peter’s square on March 30.

The pontiff reflected on a passage from Sunday’s reading from the Gospel of John, which recounts the story of Jesus healing a man born blind. The scholars of the law seek to undermine Jesus’ work and words, sinking “deeper and deeper into their interior blindness.”

“Locked in their presumption, they believe they already have the light, and for this reason are not open to the truth of Jesus. They do everything they can to deny the obvious,” explained the Pope.

In contrast to the blind man who is healed by Jesus and “gradually approaches the light,” the scholars of the law show a “closure to the light” that “becomes aggressive” and leads to the expulsion of the healed man from the temple.

The path of the blind man is a “journey in stages, starting from the knowledge of the name of Jesus,” said Pope Francis.

After being healed by Jesus, the man considers him first a “prophet,” then a “man close to God.” Only after he is excluded from the temple and has a second encounter with Jesus does he recognize him as the Messiah.

This story demonstrates “the drama of interior blindness of many people, and ours also, because we have many moments of interior blindness,” reflected the Pontiff.

“All of us -- everyone, eh? -- have acted, sometimes, not like Christians, because we are sinners, no? And we have to repent of this in order to walk the path of sanctity decisively,” he urged.

This path begins in baptism when we are “illuminated” by Christ. Through our baptism, “we can carry ourselves as ‘sons of the light,’ with humility, patience, mercy.”

Pope Francis then suggested that those present should meditate on today’s gospel.

“When you return home, take the Gospel of John, read this passage from chapter nine, and do it well… we ask ourselves, how are our hearts? How is my heart? How is your heart? How are our hearts? Do I have a heart that is open or a heart that is closed? Open, or closed toward God? Open or closed toward my neighbor?”

Everyone has a certain element of being closed in his heart, which is “born of sin,” acknowledged the Holy Father. Yet this should not lead to discouragement.

“Don’t be afraid!” he exclaimed. “Let us open ourselves to the Lord. He always waits for us. He always waits for us, to make us better, to give us light, to forgive us. Don’t forget that! He’s always waiting for us.”

Pope Francis then led the faithful in the Angelus prayer and greeted the many groups of pilgrims present before wishing everyone a “good Sunday and a good lunch.”


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The Gospel of the family

Archbishop José H. Gomez

It’s amazing that in our sophisticated, secularized world, global attention has focused on a meeting of Catholic bishops with the Pope in Rome these past two weeks.

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