VATICAN CITY, 17 FEB 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with pilgrims gathered below in St. Peter's Square.
In his remarks, the Pope mentioned last week's Gospel reading on the temptation of Christ in the desert and this week's concerning the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor. "On the one hand", he said, "we see Jesus fully as a man Who shares even our temptations; on the other, we contemplate the Son of God Who deifies our humanity".
"We could say", the Holy Father continued, "that these two Sundays act as pillars" supporting the entire edifice of Lent "and, indeed, the entire structure of Christian life, which essentially consists in the Paschal movement from death to life.
"The mountain - Mount Tabor like Mount Sinai - is the place of closeness to God, elevated above everyday life. ... It is the place of prayer. ... The Transfiguration is an event of prayer. In praying, Jesus is immersed in God, ... with His own human will He adheres to the will of love of the Father, and thus He is infused with light and the truth of His being is visibly revealed".
This "leads our thoughts to Baptism, to the white dress worn by the neophyte. Those who are reborn in Baptism are bedecked in light, in anticipation of heavenly life".
"This is the crucial point", Pope Benedict insisted. "The Transfiguration is an anticipation of the Resurrection, but this presupposes death. Jesus shows the Apostles His glory that they might have the strength to witness the scandal of the cross, and understand that we have to pass though many tribulations in order to reach the Kingdom of God".
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