“Between this beautiful transfiguration and that Resurrection there will be another face of Jesus. There will be a face that’s not so beautiful,” the Pope said March 12.
“There will be an ugly face, disfigured, tortured, despised (and) bloodied. Jesus’ entire body is like something to throw away,” he said, adding that there are “two transfigurations, and in the middle is Jesus Crucified, the Cross.”
He encouraged parishioners to look at the Cross often, and to remember how Jesus was “annihilated” to save us.
Using word coined by St. Paul that perhaps “too strong,” Francis said Jesus “was made sin. Sin is the worst thing, sin is an offense against God, a slap in the face to God...And Jesus became sin, he was annihilated.”
And to prepare his disciples “not to be scandalized” by seeing him on the Cross, Jesus was transfigured, he said, explaining that “with this assurance of the transfiguration to go forward.”
“To see this face, so beautiful, so luminous, which is the same that we see in the transfiguration and it’s the same one that we’ll see in heaven,” he said.
Francis urged faithful to contemplate these two faces of Jesus: “the transfigured one and the one made sin, cursed.”
Doing this “encourages us to go forward on the path of life, the Christian journey. It also encourages us in the forgiveness of our sins, we’ve sinned a lot,” he said.
But above all it “encourages us in trust,” Pope Francis said. “Because if he became sin because he took ours upon himself, he is always disposed to forgive us. We only have to ask him.”
Pope Francis made his comments while celebrating Mass at the Roman parish of Santa Maddalena di Canossa, which sits on the outskirts of Rome and is run by the Canossian order Sons of Charity and their sister-branch, the Sisters of Charity.
Upon his arrival the Pope was greeted by the superior general of the Sons of Charity, Fr. Giorgio Valente, who has been in charge of the parish since the canonization of their founder in 1988. The Vicar of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, and Bishop Paolo Selvadagi, the auxiliary of Rome’s west sector, also greeted Pope Francis. The last Pope to visit the parish was St. John Paul II in 1996.
Before celebrating Mass the Pope met with youth, the Daughters of Charity sisters and their superior general Sr. Annamaria Babbini, a group of elderly and sick persons belonging to the parish, the parents of the 65 children baptized there in 2016 as well as a number of the parish’s pastoral workers.
During his various encounters, the Pope took questions from the youth, some of whom were members of the Scouts of Europe group, also heard the confessions of four people, including a teenager, a youth and two adults, a woman and a man.
The Pope was thirty minutes late to Mass due to meetings with various groups from the parish community. He kept his homily short, contrasting the luminous faces of Jesus at the Transfiguration and the Resurrection with the face of Jesus on the Cross.
Please read below for the full text of the Pope’s brief homily:
Two times reference is made in this passage of the Gospel to the beauty of Jesus, of Jesus as God, of Jesus illuminated, of Jesus full of joy and life. First in the vision, he was transfigured in front of them, in front of the disciples. ‘His face shown like the sun and his garments became white as light.’ Jesus is transformed, he is transfigured. The second time, while they were going down from the mountain, Jesus ordered them not so speak of this vision before he is risen from the dead. In the Resurrection, Jesus will have a face, luminous and bright, it will be like this.
What can I tell you? Between this beautiful Transfiguration and that Resurrection there will be another face of Jesus. There will be a face that’s not so beautiful. There will be an ugly face, disfigured, tortured, despised (and) bloodied. Jesus’ entire body is like something to throw away. Two transfigurations, and in the middle is Jesus Crucified, the Cross. We must look at the Cross a lot. And Jesus-God; this is my Son, this is my Son, the beloved. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is annihilated to save us. And to use a word that’s too strong, perhaps it’s one of the strongest words in the New Testament: he was made sin. Sin is the worst thing, sin is an offense against God, a slap in the face to God. It’s to tell God ‘I don’t care about you, I prefer this.’ And Jesus became sin, he was annihilated.
And to prepare the disciples not to be scandalized by seeing him like this on the Cross, he did this transfiguration. We are used to speaking about sin. When we confess, ‘I did this sin, I did this other one.’ Even in confession, when we are forgiven, we feel that we are forgiven because he took this sin in the Passion. He was made sin. We are used to speaking about the sin of others. It’s an ugly thing. Instead, to speak of (others), I don’t say to sin, because we can’t, but to look at our sins, it’s he who became sin. This is the path toward Easter, toward the resurrection, with this assurance of the transfiguration to go forward. To see this face, so beautiful, so luminous, which is the same that we see in the transfiguration and it’s the same one that we’ll see in heaven.
And also to see this other face, which became sin. He paid like this for all of us. Jesus became sin. He became the curse of God for us. The blessed Son of God became cursed because he took our sins upon himself. Let’s think about this. How much love. Let’s also think about the beauty of the transfigured face of God that we’ll see in heaven.
This contemplation of the two faces of Jesus, the transfigured one and the one made sin, cursed, encourages us to go forward on the path of life, the Christian journey. It also encourages us in the forgiveness of our sins, we’ve sinned a lot. It above all encourages in trust. Because if he became sin because he took ours upon himself, he is always disposed to forgive us. We only have to ask him.