In his Sunday Gospel reflections for the Angelus on 13 March, Pope Francis recalls the Apostles who witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus, noting that we too are in the need of God’s light that reawakens our desire to pray and serve others.
Greeting pilgrims in Saint Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis spoke about the day’s Gospel reading on this Second Sunday of Lent that narrates the Lord’s Transfiguration while praying on a mountain when He changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And in the light of his glory, Moses and Elijah appear, witnessed in awe by the apostles Peter, John and James. The Pope observed that in Luke’s Gospel we read that the Apostles were “overcome by sleep” but then when “fully awake” saw the Lord’s glory.
Drowsiness at key moments
The drowsiness of the disciples around extraordinary moments, such as this one or when they fell asleep during Jesus’ anguished prayer in Gethsemane, is surprising, the Pope observed. But during this circumstance, they fell asleep right before the Transfiguration began, while Jesus was in prayer, and perhaps the disciples were also in prayer with Him until sleep overcame them. We can experience this in our own lives as well, the Pope pointed out, an “ill-timed slumber” when we wish to be alert, perhaps to pray after a busy day or interact with family, but we do not have the strength. We struggle to stay awake, be more attentive and involved.
Awakening our inner lethargy
The Season of Lent offers an excellent opportunity to awaken our inner lethargy, the Pope explained, but we cannot do it ourselves, it is a grace for which we must pray. We can overcome the tiredness of the body with the strength of God’s spirit, he noted. He added, that when this is difficult, we should ask the Holy Spirit for help; Come Holy Spirit, help me, I wish to encounter Jesus and to be attentive and awake. And just as the three disciples shows us in today’s Gospel in being unable to stay awake by their own strength, they woke up right during the Transfiguration, when the light of Jesus surrounded them.
“We too are in need of God’s light, that makes us see things in a different way: it attracts us, it reawakens us, it reignites our desire and strength to pray, to look within ourselves, and to dedicate time to others.”
Allow the Lord to reawaken our hearts
During Lent, let us always try to place ourselves in God’s light and give the Lord “the chance to surprise us and to reawaken our hearts,” the Pope suggested, whether by reading the Gospel for guidance and inspiration. Or by contemplating the crucified Jesus and experiencing the wonder of God’s boundless love, “who never tires of us and has the power to transfigure our days, to give them a new meaning, a new and unexpected light.”
In conclusion, he prayed that the Virgin Mary may help us keep our hearts awake and welcome this time of grace God offers us.
With thanks to Vatican News where this article originally appeared.