Understanding the Third Luminous Mystery of the Rosary

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Sermon on the Mount
Sermon on the Mount by Cosimo Rosselli. Public domain

Question: I am unsure what Pope St. John Paul II wanted us to meditate on when we pray the Third Luminous Mystery, “The Proclamation of the Kingdom.” Scriptural Rosary texts differ so greatly. What should I concentrate on? 

Kathleen Bils, via email 

Answer: The Luminous Mysteries, in general, seek to understand how fundamental events and teachings of Christ’s ministry shed light on him. The baptism of the Lord (the first mystery) sheds light on his identity as the Son of God. The wedding feast of Cana (the second mystery) sheds light on the nuptial relationship of Christ and his bride, the Church, and also led many of his disciples to believe in him. The fourth mystery, the Transfiguration, sheds light on Jesus’ true glory and as the fulfillment of all that the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah) said of him. The fifth mystery, the Last Supper, sheds light on the Lord’s passion and his promise to remain with us in the Eucharist, perpetuating his once-for-all saving sacrifice. 

The third mystery, the proclamation of the kingdom, shows how the Lord’s deeds and teachings shed light on a darkened world and summon us to the light of truth. As such this mystery is a broad and rich source of reflection but with this one focus: The kingdom of light must expel the kingdom of darkness. 

Msgr. Charles Pope

Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian in Washington, D.C., and writes for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. at blog.adw.org. Send questions to msgrpope@osv.com.