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Parables of Pope Francis: Sin makes us like human bats

Maundy Thursday
ALESSANDRO DI MEO / POOL / AFP
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Pope urges us to learn the knowledge of the Crucifix, and to ask ourselves if we can tolerate God’s light, or if we prefer darkness. Mass intention: Unity in Europe.

Pope Francis drew two points from the portion of the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus that is recounted in today’s Gospel. He reflected on the love of God revealed with the crucifix, and the danger of spiritual blindness.

Here is a translation of the full text:

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This passage from John, chapter 3 — the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus — is a true theological treatise. Here you have everything: The kerygma, the catechesis, the theological reflection, the paraenesis … everything is in this chapter. And every time we read it, we find more richness, more explanations, more things to help us understand God’s revelation. It would be good to read it so many times, to approach the mystery of Redemption. Today, I’ll take only two points from all of this, two points that are in the passage for today.

The first is the revelation of the love of God. God loves us and loves us — as one of the saints says – madly: The love of God seems madness. He loves us: God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son. He gave his Son. He sent his Son, and he sent him to die on the cross. Every time we gaze at the crucifix, we find this love. The crucifix is precisely the great book of the love of God. It’s not an object to hang up over here, or over there, more beautiful, not so beautiful, not so antique, more modern … No. It is the precise expression of the love of God. God loved us like this: he sent his Son, who emptied himself unto death on the cross, out of love. God so loved the world that he gave his Son.

How many people, how many Christians spend time gazing at the crucifix … and there they find everything, because they have understood, the Holy Spirit has brought them to understand that [therein] is all knowledge, all the love of God, all of Christian wisdom. Paul speaks of this, explaining how all human reasoning is useful up to a point, but the true reasoning, the most beautiful form of thinking, and also, that which most explains everything, is the cross of Christ. It is Christ crucified that is the scandal and the madness, but is the way. And this is the love of God. God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son. And for what? So that whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but have eternal life. The love of the Father who wants his children with Him.

The love of the Father who wants his children with Him.

To gaze at the Crucified One in silence, to gaze at his wounds, to gaze at the heart of Jesus, to gaze at it all together: Christ crucified, the Son of God, emptied, humiliated … out of love. This is the first point that this theological treatise — the dialogue of Jesus with Nicodemus — shows us today.

The second point is also one that will help us: “The light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.” Jesus also takes this from the light. There are people — even us too, many times — who cannot live in the light because we are accustomed to darkness. The light stuns them; they can’t see. They are human bats: they only know how to move about in the night.

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And we as well, when we are in sin, are in this state: We can’t tolerate the light. It’s more comfortable for us to live in the darkness; the light slaps us, it makes us see what we do not want to see. But what’s worse is that the eyes, the eyes of the soul, from so much living in the darkness, get so accustomed to it that they end up not knowing what light is. To lose the sense of light because I get more accustomed to darkness. And so many human scandals, so much corruption, verifies this. Corrupt people don’t know what the light is. They don’t know. We as well, when we are in a state of sin, in a state of being far from the Lord, we become blind and we feel better in the darkness. We go along like this, without seeing, like the blind, moving along as we can.

Let us allow the love of God — which Jesus sent to us to save us — to enter into us. And the light that Jesus brings — the light of the Spirit — to enter into us, and help us to see things with the light of God, with true light, and not with the darkness that the lord of the darkness gives us.

Two things today: The love of God in Christ, the crucified. And in the day-to-day, in the daily question we can ask ourselves: Do I walk in the light or do I walk in the darkness? Am I a child of God or do I end up being a poor bat?

Pope Francis’ intention for Mass today:

In this time when we need so much unity among us, among the nations, let us pray today for Europe, so that Europe manages to have this unity, this fraternal unity that the founding fathers of the European Union dreamed about.

 

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