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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Angelus about the Transfiguration

At noon today (in Rome), the Holy Father, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Angelus with the faithful and with pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square.

Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

This Sunday, the liturgy celebrates the Feast of the Lord's Transfiguration.  Today's gospel passage recounts the moment when the apostles Peter, James and John bore witness to this extraordinary event.  Jesus took them with him and led them apart, up a high mountain (Mt 17:1) and, while he was praying, his face changed in appearance, shone like the sun, and his clothes became brilliant white as if they were made of light.  Then, Moses and Elijah appeared and entered into a dialogue with him.  Peter said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here!  If you wish, I will make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah (Mt 17:4).  He had not yet finished speaking when a cloud filled with light surrounded them.

The Lord's Transfiguration offers a message of hope - we too will be like this, with Him - He invites us to encounter Jesus, to be at the service of our brothers and sisters.

The rise of the disciples upon Mount Tabor leads us to reflect on the importance of detaching ourselves from worldly concerns, of making our own way up the mountain to contemplate Jesus.  It is a matter of making ourselves attentive to be able to listen closely to the words of Christ, the beloved Son of the Father, seeking moments of prayer which permit us to welcome the sweetness and the joy of the Word of God.  In this spiritual ascent, in this detachment from worldly things, we are called to rediscover the peaceful and rejuvenating silence of meditating on the Gospel, of reading the Bible, which leads us toward a destiny that is enriched with beauty, splendour and joy.  And when we do this, hold a bible in our hands, remain in silence, we begin to feel interior beauty, the joy that is the gift of God's Word within us.  From this perspective, summertime is a privileged moment for increasing our commitment to seeking and encountering the Lord.  During this period, students are freed from scholastic commitments and many families take vacations; it is important that during this period of rest and detachment from daily concerns, we find time to renew our bodily and spiritual selves, deepening our spiritual journey.

At the conclusion of the admirable experience of the Transfiguration, the disciples came down from the mountain (cf Mt 17:9) with their eyes and hearts transfigured by their encounter with the Lord.  This is the path that we too can walk.  The on-going discovery of Jesus is not an end in itself, but rather it leads us to come down from the mountain, energized by the strength of the divine Spirit, ready to set out on new paths of conversion and constantly bearing witness to charity as a law of daily life.  Transformed by the presence of Christ and by the ardour of his words, we become living signs of the life-giving love of God for all our brothers and sisters, especially for those who suffer, for those who find themselves isolated and abandoned, for those who are sick and for the many men and women who, in various parts of the world, are humiliated by injustice, bullying and violence.

In the experience of the Transfiguration, the voice of the heavenly Father is heard, saying: This is my son, the beloved.  Listen to him! (Mt 17:5).  Let us look to Mary, the listening Virgin, who is always ready to welcome and to keep within her heart every word spoken by her divine Son (cf Lk 1:51).  May our Mother, the Mother of God, help us to be attuned to the Word of God, so that Christ may become the light and guide of our lives.  Let us entrust to Her everyone's holidays, that they may be serene and that we may enjoy them, but above all that this summer period may also be beneficial to all those who cannot take holidays because they are impeded by age, for reasons of health or requirements of their jobs, economic restrictions or other problems, that this may nonetheless be a time of relaxation, enriched by the presence of friends and experiences of joy.

After the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters,

I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from various other countries: families, associations and individual faithful.

Today, there are various groups of children and youth here.  I greet you all with great affection!  In particular, the group of youth who are here from Verona, the young people who are here from Adria, Campdarsego and Offanengo.

I wish you all a good Sunday.  Please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye!
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