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A gentle, humble light, full of love

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 37, 11 September 2013)


Humility, meekness, love and experiencing the Cross are the means with which the Lord defeats evil. And the light that Jesus brought into the world dispels the blindness of human beings who are all too often dazzled by the false light of the world that may be brighter but is misleading. It is up to us to discern which light comes from God. This is the essence of Pope’s homily on Tuesday morning, 3 September, at Mass in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Commenting on the First Reading, the Holy Father reflected on those “beautiful words” that St Paul addressed to the Thessalonians: “You are not in darkness, brethren... you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness” (1 Thes 5:1-6, 9-11). That is, the Pope said: “the Christian identity is light, not darkness”. And Jesus brought this light into the world.

Today, the Pope continued, people think we find this light through scientific discoveries and human inventions — “all can be known, we can know everything”. But “the light of Jesus”, Pope Francis warned, “is something else. It is not ignorance, no, no! It is the light of knowledge. But also something more. The light that the world offers us is artificial. It may be bright like the flash of a camera but it is artificial. Jesus’ light is gentle, a quiet light, a light of peace. It is like the light of Christmas Eve: unpretentious. It is a light that glows from the heart.

“It is true that the devil, and St Paul says so, very often comes dressed up as an angel of light. He likes to imitate the light of Jesus. He makes himself seem good and speaks to us like that, calmly, just as Jesus spoke after fasting in the wilderness: work this miracle ‘if you are the Son of God, throw yourself down’ from the temple! Make a show of it! And he says so in a way that is calm”, and thus deceptive.

“We should ask the Lord insistently for the wisdom of discernment in order to recognize when it is Jesus who gives us light and when it is the devil himself, disguised as an angel of light. Many believe they live in light but they are in darkness and are unaware of it!

“If we are meek in our inner light, we are gentle people we hear the voice of Jesus in our heart and look fearlessly at the Cross in the light of Jesus.... We must always make the distinction: where Jesus is there is always humility, meekness, love and the Cross.

“The people”, the Pope said, commenting on the Reading, “were overcome by fear and wondered: ‘what is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out’. Jesus didn’t need an army to cast out demons, he didn’t need pride or force or arrogance”. What is this word? “It is the word”, was his answer, “that is humble, meek and spoken with such great love”. It is the word that accompanies us in moments of suffering, that brings us close to the Cross of Jesus. “Let us ask the Lord”, was Pope Francis’ concluding exhortation, “that he give us today the grace of his light and teach us to distinguish his light and the artificial light emitted by the enemy to deceive us”.


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