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Pope Francis: Christ’s transfiguration shows where the cross leads

March 13, 2017

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (Mt. 17:1-9), Pope Francis told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his March 12 Angelus address that Christ’s transfiguration enlightened “the minds and hearts of the disciples, so that they could understand clearly who their Master was,” before they witnessed the “scandal of the cross.”

The Pope said that

Jesus was showing himself a different Messiah in regard to the expectations, to what they imagined about the Messiah, how the Messiah was: not a powerful and glorious king, but a humble and vulnerable Servant; not a lord of great wealth, sign of blessing, but a poor man who had no place to lay His head; not a patriarch with numerous descendants, but a celibate without a home and without a nest. It was truly a revelation of God turned upside down, and the most disconcerting sign of this scandalous reversal is the cross.

“But precisely through the cross, Jesus will attain His glorious resurrection, which will be definitive, not like this transfiguration that lasted a moment, an instant,” the Pope continued. “Jesus transfigured on Mount Tabor wished to show His disciples His glory, not to avoid their passing through the cross, but to indicate where the cross leads to.”

Pope Francis added:

In this Lenten season, we contemplate with devotion the image of the crucifix, Jesus on the cross: it is the symbol of the Christian faith; it is the emblem of Jesus, dead and risen for us. Let us so regard the cross as marking the stages of our Lenten itinerary, to understand increasingly the gravity of sin and the value of the sacrifice with which the Redeemer saved us all.


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