ROME – In his livestreamed Mass Wednesday, Pope Francis played on the images of light and darkness, warning against sin proliferated by “spiritual” and “domestic” mafias, and urging viewers to have the courage to walk in the light of Christ.
In his homily during the May 6 Mass, Francis focused on the day’s Gospel passage from John in which Jesus says, “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.”
The “drama of sin,” the pope said May 6, is that “it blinds us, we cannot tolerate the light. We have eyes that are sick.” Quoting the Gospel of Matthew, he said that if the eye is sick, then “the whole body is sick. If your eye sees darkness, how much darkness there is inside of you! The conversion to pass from darkness to light.”
He then questioned viewers, asking, “What are the things that make the eyes sick, the eyes of faith? What are the things that bring them down, that blind them? The vices, the worldly spirit, pride. Vices that pull one down.”
These things, the pope said, lead a person to associate with others living in the same cycle of sin and vice, and they end up “entombed in the darkness.”
“We often speak of ‘the mafia’. But here are spiritual mafias, domestic mafias, always looking for someone else to cover them and to remain in darkness,” he said, adding that, “It’s not easy to live in the light. The light makes us see many ugly things in ourselves that we don’t want to see. Vices, sins.”
“Let us think about our vices, let us think about our pride, let us think about the worldly spirit in us. These things blind us, they draw us away from the light of Jesus,” he said.
Pope Francis offered Wednesday’s Mass for journalists.
“During this time of pandemic, they risk a lot and there is a lot of work,” he said, praying that God would “help them in this work of always transmitting the truth.”
Speaking from inside the small chapel of the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta where he lives, Pope Francis said Jesus’s mission was to bring light into the world, and the apostles were tasked with spreading this light to the world, “because the world is in darkness.”
Yet the “drama” of the story is that the light Jesus brought was rejected by the people, he said, because “They loved the darkness more than the light.”
“To grow accustomed to the darkness, to live in darkness, they do not know how to accept the light, they can’t. They are slaves of darkness,” Francis said, insisting that “this is Jesus’s constant fight: To illuminate, to bring the light which allows things to be seen as the are; it allows the truth to be seen, it reveals the path to take.”
This is why candles are lit at baptism, which in the early centuries was called the sacrament of “illumination,” he said, because through it, Jesus brings light to the person.
Pointing to the conversion of St. Paul, who was blinded on the road to Damascus and who, after baptism, regained his sight and began preaching the Gospel, Pope Francis insisted that Jesus, “is the light and he came to the world not to condemn the world, but to save the world.”
“Jesus saves us from the darkness we have inside, from the darkness of everyday life, of social life, of political life, national life. There is so much darkness, but he asks us to see it, to have the courage to see our darkness so that the spirit enters and saves us,” he said.
“Let us to be afraid of the Lord,” the pope said, because, “he is good, he is meek, he is close to us, and he came to save us. Let us not be afraid of the light of Jesus.”
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