The Mysteries of Light

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From ancient times the Rosary devotion inspired our prayer with meditations on the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God, on the mystery of His suffering and death and on the mystery of His glorious resurrection with which He sealed our redemption and made it possible for each one of us to share eternal life with Him and with Mary, our beloved mother.
Many felt that the Rosary lacked meditations on Christ's public ministry. So, on October 16, 2002, Pope John Paul II issued an Apostolic Letter with which he presented five new mysteries of Light which speak of Christ's baptism in the Jordan, the Wedding at Cana, the Proclamation of the Kingdom, the Transfiguration and the Institution of the Eucharist.
In the following meditations we will be reflecting on what these mysteries tell us about Jesus and about us.

1st Mystery: The Baptism of Christ

Three gospel writers tell us about the Baptism of Christ. Mark, Luke and Matthew say that Jesus went from Nazareth and was baptized by John in the Jordan. On reading Luke we remember that the last time he mentioned Jesus was to tell us that, still a twelve year old boy, He spent time in the temple, without His parents’ knowledge, listening to the teachers and asking them questions. Back home “He grew in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man” (Lc 2, 52) . From this going back to His parents’ home to His leaving it to go to John for baptism, there is a twenty year gap about which we know nothing. Was it time wasted? Growing in wisdom is not time wasted. Surely Jesus did not waste His time, only the gospels keep silent.
Matthew tells us that John did not really want to baptize Jesus. Having preached that the Christ would baptize in Spirit and fire, John would have preferred to be baptized by Jesus, rather than he to baptize the Lamb of God. Jesus told John that it was fitting for them to fulfil all righteousness, God’s will.
The three gospel writers, tell us that while Jesus was praying just after baptism, the Spirit descended on Him and a voice told him: “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.”
What does the story of Christ’s baptism tell us about Him? That His deepest wish from childhood to His adulthood was to fulfil all righteousness. That His baptism was both a point of arrival and a point of departure for, having been baptized He was taken by the Spirit to the desert where He suffered temptations, and then He started His preaching mission to all people. It tells us that He is the beloved Son of God.
What does the story of Christ’s baptism tell us about ourselves? That through baptism we are made aware that we are God’s beloved children, each one of us! It tells us that baptism is not a passport for us to enter heaven. It is a welcoming into Christ’s community in which we have a mission to make all people aware that they are God’s beloved children.
Mary, mother of God, be our mother, too.

2nd Mystery: The wedding at Cana

John, the evangelist, starts this story by stating that a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee and Jesus' mother was there. He ended his story by saying that this was the first miracle Christ performed. John also tells us that when Christ was nailed to the cross, His mother was there by His side, too. Mary never left her Son's side!
At the wedding, Jesus' mother saw that they had no more wine. She said to her son: "They have no more wine." When her son told her: “My time has not yet come”, she turned to the servants and told them: "Do whatever He tells you." She pushed her son into His time, and she prepared the servants to do even what in their opinion did not make sense.
They needed wine. Jesus told the servants to fill the jars with water, to take from it and present it to the master of the banquet who tasted the best wine ever. Taking the bridegroom aside, the master of the banquet told him: “You have saved the best wine till now." He did not know that it was Jesus who did it.
What does this story tell us about Jesus? It tells us of His love for His mother and of her power of intercession. She noticed that wine was missing and that the feast had to go on. It tells us that He works in mysterious ways. His miracles are not always visible at first sight, and not all of them are dramatic. He asks us to trust Him!
What does this story tell us about ourselves? It tells us that we should always do whatever Jesus asks of us even when this does not seem to respond to our needs. He often works miracles through our service when we accept Him. It asks us to invite Jesus and Mary to participate in our lives. Both will help us to live our lives to the full. Wine will never be lacking in our lives.
Mary, mother of God, be our mother, too

3rd mystery: Jesus proclaims the kingdom.

Early in the morning, while Jesus was in a solitary place praying, Simon and others were searching for him. The day before He had healed many who were sick and they wanted Him at hand for more healings. This was not what Christ thought of His mission. When He was told that everyone was searching for him He said: “Let us go to the other towns and villages so that I may preach there also for that is why I have come”. (Mark 1, 35-39) Although He healed many, Jesus understood that His mission was that of a preacher and not that of a healer. And Jesus preached: “The time has come; the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mk 1,15)
Jesus constantly repeated the call for repentance and the good news that the kingdom of God was near, not so much in time but in the possibility of entering it. Christ's preaching is always challenging us: “Whoever has ears ought to hear." As it is not easy for us to be always attentive, we should at least long to hear what Jesus tells us and to seek His salvation. (Cfr Mt 13, 16-17)
What does this mystery tell us about Jesus? That He eagerly desires that all people listen to His words, believe that His kingdom is real and that He will help us be part of it. His preaching is not of something that will be possible only after our death. He wants us to live a full and happy life on earth which will bloom in all its fullness in heaven. He invites us all, those who want to listen and those who do not want to, hoping that everybody would accept His love and convert to Him.
What does this mystery tell us about ourselves? That all of us, that each one of us is His beloved child to whom He wants to tell the good news that His kingdom is near, that it is accessible to all those who long to form part of it.
Mary, mother of God, be our mother, too

4. Fourth Mystery: The Transfiguration

Jesus was walking in a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He knew that a cruel death awaited Him there. He also knew that He was walking right to His Father’s glory. He knew His disciples would be disturbed, and He wanted to help them survive the scandal of His death. He took Peter, James and John to a mountain to pray, and there He showed them some of His glory. His face shone like the sun and His clothes became white as light. Moses and Elijah conversed with Him and from the cloud a voice said, "This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” Then Peter said "Lord, it is good that we are here.” Peter wanted to stay on, but Jesus wanted them to return to their ordinary lives and bear witness to Him and strengthen the other disciples. Christ wanted them courageous and creative builders of His Church community in the face of difficulties and persecutions. Then Jesus touched them, saying: "Rise, and do not be afraid”. Jesus wants His followers to see beyond suffering, beyond injustice, beyond death, and in faith see God’s glory to which each person on earth is eagerly invited.
What does the transfiguration tell us about Jesus? That He is God’s beloved Son with whom He is well pleased. It tells us that Jesus is the one in whom the Law and the Prophets were brought to their perfection. It tells us that Jesus is really the Light from Heaven that will guide us to our future glory. The transfiguration tells us that Jesus is caring and careful to provide His followers with signs that tell them not to be afraid.
What does the Transfiguration tell us about ourselves? It tells us that Jesus cares. He gave us witnesses who encourage us to listen to the Son of God and to follow Him. It tells us that we too are witnesses to Christ’s power and glory, and especially to God’s love. It tells us that we should not be unduly afraid. It is good to be with Him united in prayer and pay careful attention to what He is doing in our midst.
Mary, mother of God, be our mother, too

5th Mystery: The Institution of the Eucharist

Darkness was all around. Jesus knew His hour had come. His enemies were planning His death. Judas was ready to betray Him for money. His other disciples were still hoping for a revolution that would liberate them from Roman rule. Jesus knew He would be left alone when arrested, tortured and put to a cruel death. In this time of deep crisis Jesus decided to shine the Light of Resurrection.
He gathered His disciples for a paschal meal which He knew would be His farewell to His disciples and a welcoming into a new way of life. He took the bread and pronounced the words: “This is my body which will be given up for you! Take and eat!” and the body which would be tortured and killed, was offered to His disciples of all times and places as a giver of eternal life. And He said: “This is the chalice of my blood! Drink from it! Make this in memory of me!”, and the light of resurrection still shines mysteriously in our midst, calling for fraternity, love, and forgiveness while giving hope to all who accept this meal even though it is mysterious and our senses cannot explain it.
What does the Eucharist tell us about Jesus: That He is the son of God the creator. Through Him everything that is was pulled out of the darkness of non-existence and every creature was good. Into the darkness of hatred that brought persecution and death He shone His light of resurrection. In Him life gets new light, new meaning, new scope. Through His ministers He is still changing bread into His glorious body, and wine into His redeeming blood of which He invites us to partake.
What does the Eucharist tell us about ourselves? That we are the beloved children of God who wants us sitting at His table to partake of His body and blood, to build a healthy community of brothers and sisters who want to serve one another so that all may have life in abundance. It tells us that we can hope for life in eternity if we eat His body and drink His blood.
Mary, mother of God, be our mother, too.


We have just meditated on some salient moments of Christ’s public ministry. Jesus did much more than this. John writes: “There were many other signs that Jesus worked in the sight of the disciples, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through His name.” (Jn 20, 30-31) But Jesus said to His apostles of every nation and time: “You are the light of the world” (Mt 5:14). So let the meditation of these mysteries of light encourage us to be a light to the world, even if our light is as small as a flame at the tip of a candle. Every light has its use and can make the world a better place. Amen

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