ROME (ZENIT) — Pope Francis went on a pastoral visit on Sunday, March 16 to the parish of Santa Maria dell’Orazione at Setteville di Guidonia, in the northern sector of the Diocese of Rome.
On his arrival, the Pope greeted the faithful who could not find a place in the church, the disabled, children, and youngsters of the catechesis for First Communion, Confirmation, and post-Confirmation. Then he met with the Neo-Catechumenal Community and families with children baptized over the last few months. Finally, he heard the Confession of some penitents.
Then, the Holy Father presided over the Celebration of the Eucharist in the Church of Santa Maria dell’Orazione, at the end of which he spent a brief time with the relatives of priests of the parish, before going to the terrace of the parish for a final greeting to the faithful.
Here is a translation of the transcription of the homily the Pope gave during the Holy Mass, after the proclamation of the Gospel. ZENIT News Agency provided the text; all rights reserved.
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In the prayer at the beginning of the Mass we asked the Lord for two graces: “to listen to your beloved Son,” so that our faith is nourished by the Word of God, and — the other grace — “to purify the eyes of our spirit, so that one day we can enjoy the vision of glory.”
To listen, the grace to listen, and the grace to purify our eyes. This is proper in relation to the Gospel we just heard. When the Lord is transfigured before Peter, James, and John, they hear the voice of God the Father who says: “This is my Son! Listen to Him!”
The grace to listen to Jesus. Why? To nourish our faith with the Word of God. And this is a task of the Christian. What are the tasks of a Christian? Perhaps you will say to me: to go to Mass on Sundays; to observe fasting and abstinence in Holy Week; to do this. . . . However, the first task of a Christian is to listen to the Word of God, to listen to Jesus, because He speaks to us and He saves us with His Word. And He also makes our faith more robust, stronger, with this Word.
Listen to Jesus! “But Father, I listen to Jesus, I listen to Him so much!” “Yes? What do you listen to?” “I listen to the radio, I listen to the television, I listen to people’s chatter. . . .” We listen to so many things during the day, so many things. . . .
But I ask a question: Do we take some time every day to listen to Jesus, to listen to the Word of Jesus? Do we have the Gospel at home? And do we listen to Jesus in the Gospel every day; do we read a passage of the Gospel? Or are we afraid of this, not used to it? We listen to the Word of Jesus to nourish ourselves! This means that the Word of Jesus is the strongest meal for the soul: It nourishes our soul, it nourishes our faith!
I suggest that every day you take a few minutes to read a passage of the Gospel and to hear what happened there. To hear Jesus, and every day the Word of Jesus enters our heart and makes us stronger in the faith. I suggest also that you have a small Gospel, a very small one, to carry in your pockets, no?. . .
However, when you are seated here or there, you can read, also during the day, take the Gospel and read two little words. The Gospel always with us!
It was said of some of the martyrs of the early times — for instance, St. Cecilia — that they always carried the Gospel with them; they carried the Gospel; she, Cecilia, carried the Gospel. Because it is in fact our first meal, it is the Word of Jesus, which nourishes our faith.
The Path Of Hope
And then the second grace that we asked for is the grace of the purification of our eyes, of the eyes of our spirit, to prepare the eyes of the spirit for eternal life. To purify the eyes! I am invited to listen to Jesus and Jesus manifests Himself and with His Transfiguration He invites us to look at Him.
And to look at Jesus purifies our eyes and prepares them for eternal life, for the vision of Heaven. Perhaps our eyes are somewhat sick because we see so many things that are not of Jesus, they are even against Jesus: worldly things, things that do no good to the light of the soul.
And so this light is extinguished slowly and without knowing it we end up in interior darkness, in spiritual darkness, in the darkness of the faith: darkness because we are not used to looking at, to imagining the things of Jesus.
This is what we asked the Father today, that He teach us to listen to Jesus and to look at Jesus. To listen to His Word, and to think about what the Gospel has said to you: It is very important! And to look: When I read the Gospel I imagine and look to see how Jesus was, how He did things.
And thus our intelligence, our heart goes forward on the path of hope, in which the Lord puts us, as we heard He did with our Father Abraham.
Always remember: to listen to Jesus, to make our faith stronger; to look at Jesus, to prepare our eyes for the beautiful vision of His face, where we will all — if the Lord gives us the grace — find ourselves in a Mass without end. So be it.
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(Translation by ZENIT)