VATICAN CITY, (VIS) – On March 4, Benedict XVI, as Bishop of Rome, visited the Roman parish of "San Giovanni Battista de La Salle al Torrino," an area in the south of the city inhabited by many young families.
On arrival children who receive catechesis in the parish, welcomed the pope and gave him a number of gifts they had prepared. He mentioned this meeting in his homily, saying, "We truly are the family of God, and the fact that you also think of the pope as a father is something I find very beautiful and encouraging.
“But now we must remember that the pope is not our ultimate recourse; our ultimate recourse is the Lord and we must look to Him in order to discern, to understand - insofar was we can - something of the message of this second Sunday of Lent."
In this context, Benedict XVI turned his attention to today's Gospel passage on the Transfiguration.
"Jesus took the three disciples [Peter, James and John] with Him to help them understand that the path to glory, the path of dazzling love which vanquishes darkness, involves the total gift of self, it involves the scandal of the cross,” the pope said. “The Transfiguration is a moment of light which helps us too to look to Jesus' passion with the eyes of faith.
“Yes, it is a mystery of suffering, but it is also a 'blessed passion' because it is essentially a mystery of God's extraordinary love. It is the definitive exodus which opens the door to the freedom and novelty of the Resurrection, the salvation from evil."
"Like the three Apostles in the Gospel, we too need to climb the mountain of the transfiguration and receive the light of God, so that His Face can illuminate our faces. It is in individual and community prayer that we encounter the Lord, not as an idea or as a moral concept, but as a Person Who wants to enter into a relationship with us, Who wants to be our friend and to renew our lives by making them like unto His," the Holy Father said.
Address the parishioners, the pope said, "Let us not wait for others to bring different messages, which do not lead to authentic life. You yourselves must become missionaries of Christ to your brothers and sisters wherever they live, work, study or pass their free time. Faith must be lived together, and the parish is the place in which we learn to live our faith as part of the 'us' of the Church."
The pope also dedicated some words to the forthcoming “Year of Faith,” expressing the hope that it would be "a favorable occasion...to develop and consolidate the experience of catechesis on the great truths of Christian faith, is such a way as...to make the Creed of the Church known, and to overcome that 'religious illiteracy' which is one of the greatest problems we face today."
"From Tabor, the mount of the Transfiguration, the Lenten journey leads us to Golgotha, the mount of the ultimate sacrifice of love of the one Priest of the new and eternal Covenant,” Pope Benedict said. “That sacrifice encapsulates the greatest power for the transformation of man and history. Taking all the consequences of evil and sin upon Himself, Jesus arose on the third day as victor over death and the Evil One.
“Lent prepares us to participate personally in this great mystery of the faith, which we will celebrate in the triduum of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ."