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Theme of 2nd Lenten sermon to Curia: ‘I am the light of the world’

March 04, 2024

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CWN Editor's Note: Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap, the preacher of the papal household since 1980, preached on Christ’s words, “I am the light of the world,” in his second Lenten sermon to the Roman Curia on March 1.

The overarching theme of Cardinal Cantalamessa’s 2024 Lenten sermons is “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). In each Friday sermon, the prelate is preaching on a different “I am” statement made by Christ; the theme of his first Lenten sermon was “I am the bread of life.”

At the beginning of his second sermon, Cardinal Cantalamessa made the claim that the “I am” statements of Jesus in St. John’s Gospel, while true, are “not of the historical Jesus.” Thus, the prelate professed his conviction that Christ really is “the way, the truth, and the life,” even as he questioned whether “the sentence was in fact historically pronounced by the earthly Jesus”—a view difficult to reconcile with the Second Vatican Council’s teaching that the four Gospels “faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught.”

Cardinal Cantalamessa customarily preaches sermons to the Pope and members of the Roman Curia on Fridays during Advent and Lent, as well as the Good Friday homily in St. Peter’s Basilica.

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