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Easter - Pasqua - Pâques - Pascua 2018

Pope Francis's Homily at the Easter Vigil   
St Peter's Basilica, Holy Saturday 31 March 2018 - in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"We began this celebration outside, immersed in the darkness of the night and in the cold that accompanies it. We feel the weight of silence before the death of the Lord, a silence in which each of us can recognise ourself and which falls deep into the fissures of the heart of the disciple who before the cross remains without words.

They are the hours of the disciple speechless in front of the pain generated by the death of Jesus: what to say in front of this reality? The disciple who remains without words becoming aware of his own reactions during those crucial hours of the Lord’s life: in front of the injustice that condemned the Master, the disciples were silent; in front of the calumnies and the false testimony
endured by the Master, the disciples kept quiet. During the difficult and sorrowful hours of the Passion, the disciples experienced in a dramatic way their incapacity to take a risk and to speak in favour of the Master; moreover, they denied him, they hid, they fled, they remained silent (cf Jn 18, 25-27).

It is the night of the silence of the disciple who finds himself numb and paralyzed, without knowing where to go in front of so many sorrowful situations which oppress and surround him. It is the disciple of today, speechless in front of a reality that imposes itself upon him making him feel and, what is worse, believe that nothing can be done to overcome so many injustices that so many of our brothers and sisters are living in their flesh.

It is the disciple dazed because he is immersed in an overwhelming routine which deprives him of memory, silences hope and accustoms him to “it has always been done thus”. It is the speechless and benighted disciple who ends up getting used to and considering normal Caiaphas's expression: “Do you not see that it is in your interest: it is better that one man die for the people than that the entire nation perish!” (Jn 11, 50).

And in the midst of our silences, when we keep quiet in such an overwhelming way, then the stones begin to cry out (cf Lk 19, 40) ["I tell you that if these are silent, the stones will cry out"] and leave room for the greatest announcement that history has ever been able to contain in its womb: “He is not here. He is risen.” (Mt 28, 6). The stone of the sepulchre cried out and with its cry announced to everyone a new way. Creation was the first to echo the triumph of Life over all the realities that sought to silence and muzzle the joy of the gospel. The stone of the sepulchre was the first to leap up and, in its own way, intone a song of praise and enthusiasm, of joy and hope in which we are all invited to participate.

And if yesterday, with the women, we contemplated “the one whom they have pierced” (cf Jn 19, 36; cf Zech 12, 10), today with them we are called to contemplate the empty tomb and to listen to the words of the angel: “Do not be afraid… He is risen” (Mt 28, 5-6). Words that want to reach our deepest convictions and certainties, our ways of judging and dealing with everyday events; especially our way of relating with others. The empty tomb wants to challenge, move, question us, but above all it wants to encourage us to believe and trust that God “happens” in any situation, in any person, and that his light can reach into the most unpredictable and closed corners of existence. He has risen from death, he has risen from the place from which nobody awaits anything and He awaits us – as He awaited the women – so as to render us participants in his work of salvation. This is the foundation and the strength that we have as Christians so as to spend our lives and our energy, intelligence, affections and will in seeking and especially in generating pathways of dignity. He is not here… He is risen! It is the announcement that sustains our hope and transforms it into concrete gestures of love. How much we need to let our fragility be anointed by this experience! How much we need our faith to be renewed, our myopic horizons to be challenged and renewed by this announcement! He is risen and with Him rises our creative hope to face actual problems, because we know that we are not alone.

To celebrate Easter means to believe anew that God bursts into and does not cease to burst into our stories, defying our uniform and paralyzing determinisms. To celebrate Easter means to let Jesus conquer that pusillanimous attitude that so often besieges us and tries to bury every kind of hope.

The stone of the sepulchre has done its part, the women have done their part, now the invitation is addressed once again to you and to me: the invitation to break from repetitive habits, to renew our lives, our choices and our existence. An invitation that is addressed to us here where we find ourselves, in that which we are doing and are being; with the “quota of power” that we have. Do we want to participate in this announcement of life or will we remain silent before events?

He is not here… he is risen! And he is waiting for you in Galilee, he is inviting you to return/go back to the time and place of the first love, so as to say to you: Do not be afraid, follow me."

Papa Francisco's Homily at Holy Mass on Easter Sunday
St Peter's Square, 1 April 2018 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"After listening to the Word of God from this Gospel passage, there are three things that I would like to say.

First: the announcement. There is an announcement: the Lord has risen. That announcement which traveled by word of mouth ever since the early days of Christianity; it was a greeting: the Lord has risen. And the women who went to anoint the Lord’s body were met by a surprise. The surprise.... God’s announcements always bring surprises because our God is the God of surprises. It has been like this from the beginning of salvation history; ever since our father Abraham. God surprises you: “Just go, go, leave your land and go.” And one surprise always follows another. God is not able to make an announcement without surprising us. And the surprise is what moves your heart, what touches you in the very place you do not expect. To use the language of young people: the surprise is a low blow; you do not expect it. And he goes and moves you. First: the surprising announcement.

Second: haste. The women run, they hasten to say: “But we have found this!” God’s surprises place us on a journey, immediately, without delay. And so they run to see. Peter and John run. The shepherds on that Christmas night run: “Let us go to Bethlehem to see what the angels have told us.” And the Samaritan woman runs to tell her people: “This is the news: I found a man who told me everything I have done.” And the people know the things that the woman has done. And those people run; they leave what they are doing, even the housewife leaves the potatoes in the pot — she will find them burnt [on her return] — but the important thing is to go, to run in order to see that surprise, that announcement. It still happens today. In our neighbourhoods, in the villages, when something extraordinary happens, people run to see; they go in haste. Andrew wasted no time and went in haste to tell Peter: “we have found the Messiah.” Surprises, good news are always announced in this manner: in haste. There is a person in the Gospel who takes his time. He does not want to take risks. But the Lord is good. He awaits him with love. It is Thomas. “I will believe when I see the wounds” he says. The Lord also has patience with those who are in no hurry.

The surprising announcement, the hastened response, and the third thing I wish to mention to you today is a question: “What about me? Do I have a heart that is open to God’s surprises; am I capable of going in haste or do I persist with the refrain: “well, I’ll see tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow?” What does the surprise tell me? John and Peter hastened to the sepulchre. The Gospel said that John “believed”. Peter also “believed”, but in his own way; with his faith somewhat clouded by regret for having denied the Lord. The surprising announcement, the running, the hastening and the question: And what do I do on this Easter Day 2018? What do you do?"

Papa Francisco's Urbi et Orbi Message from the Central Loggia
St Peter's Basilica, Easter Sunday, 1 April 2018 - in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Easter!

Jesus is risen from the dead!

This announcement resounds in the Church the world over, together with the singing of the Alleluia: Jesus is the Lord, the Father has raised him and He lives forever in the midst of us.

Jesus had foretold his death and resurrection using the image of the grain of wheat. He said: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12, 24). And this is precisely what happened: Jesus, the grain of wheat sowed by God in the furrows of the earth, died, killed by the sin of the world. He remained two days in the tomb; but his death contained God’s love in all its power, released and made manifest on the third day, the day we celebrate today: the Easter of Christ the Lord.

We Christians believe and know that Christ’s resurrection is the true hope of the world, the hope that does not disappoint. It is the power of the grain of wheat, the power of that love which humbles itself and gives itself to the very end, and thus truly renews the world. This power continues to bear fruit today in the furrows of our history, marked by so many acts of injustice and violence. It bears fruits of hope and dignity where there are deprivation and exclusion, hunger and unemployment, where there are migrants and refugees (so often rejected by today’s culture of waste), and victims of the drug trade, human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery.

Today we implore fruits of peace upon the entire world, beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria, whose people are worn down by an apparently endless war. This Easter, may the light of the risen Christ illumine the consciences of all political and military leaders, so that a swift end may be brought to the carnage in course, that humanitarian law may be respected and that provisions be made to facilitate access to the aid so urgently needed by our brothers and sisters, while also ensuring fitting conditions for the return of the displaced.

We beseech fruits of reconciliation for the Holy Land, also experiencing in these days the wounds of ongoing conflict that do not spare the defenceless, for Yemen and for the entire Middle East, so that dialogue and mutual respect may prevail over division and violence. May our brothers and sisters in Christ, who not infrequently put up with injustices and persecution, be radiant witnesses of the risen Lord and of the victory of good over evil.

We invoke on this day fruits of hope for those who yearn for a more dignified life, above all in those areas of the African continent deeply affected by hunger, endemic conflicts and terrorism. May the peace of the risen Lord heal wounds in South Sudan and open hearts to dialogue and mutual understanding. Let us not forget the victims of that conflict, especially the children! May there be no lack of solidarity with all those forced to abandon leave their native lands and lacking the bare essentials to live.

We implore fruits of dialogue for the Korean peninsula, that the discussions under way may advance harmony and peace within the region. May those who are directly responsible act with wisdom and discernment to promote the good of the Korean people and to build relationships of trust within the international community.

We also beseech fruits of peace for Ukraine, that the steps taken to favour harmony may be consolidated, and facilitated by the humanitarian initiatives needed by its people.

We also invoke fruits of consolation for the Venezuelan people, who, as their bishops have written, are living in a kind of “foreign land” within their own country. May that nation, by the power of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, find a just, peaceful and humane way to surmount quickly the political and humanitarian crises that grip it. May welcome and assistance not be wanting to its sons and daughters forced to abandon their homeland.

May the risen Christ bring fruits of new life to those children, who as a result of wars and hunger, grow up without hope, lacking education and health care; and to those elderly persons who are cast off by a selfish culture that ostracizes those who are not “productive”.

We also implore fruits of wisdom for those who have political responsibilities in our world, that they may always respect human dignity, devote themselves actively to the pursuit of the common good, and ensure the development and security of their own citizens.

Dear brothers and sisters,

The words heard by the women at the tomb are also addressed to us: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (Lk 24:5-6). Death, solitude and fear are not the last word. There is a word that transcends them, a word that only God can speak: it is the word of the resurrection (cf John Paul II, Conclusion of the Way of the Cross, 18 April 2003). By the power of God’s love, it “dispels wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord and brings down the mighty” (Easter Proclamation).

Happy Easter to all!  Buona Pasqua a tutti!

Cari fratelli e sorelle,
rinnovo i miei auguri di Buona Pasqua a tutti voi, provenienti dall’Italia e da diversi Paesi, come pure a quanti sono collegati mediante la televisione, la radio e gli altri mezzi di comunicazione. La gioia e la speranza di Gesù risorto diano conforto alle famiglie, specialmente agli anziani che sono la preziosa memoria della società, e ai giovani che rappresentano il futuro della Chiesa e dell’umanità.

Vi ringrazio per la vostra presenza in questo giorno di Pasqua, la festa più importante della nostra fede, perché è la festa della nostra salvezza, la festa dell’amore di Dio per noi. Un ringraziamento speciale per il dono dei fiori, che anche quest’anno provengono dai Paesi Bassi.

In questi giorni di Pasqua annunciate, con le parole e con la vita, la bella notizia che “Gesù e Risorto”. E per favore, non dimenticate di pregare per me. Buon pranzo pasquale e arrivederci!"