“Upon those who follow the Lord Jesus, the light of Easter already shines forever”

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

The Gospel of today tells of the third apparition of the Risen Jesus to the disciples, at the shore of the Sea of Galilee, with the recounting of the miraculous catch (cf John 21:1-19). The story is placed in the framework of the daily life of the disciples, when they have returned to their lands and their work as fishermen, after the distressing days of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord. It was difficult for them to understand what had happened. But while everything seemed to have ended, it is once again Jesus who “seeks” his disciples. It is he who goes in search of them. This time he finds them on the lake, where they have spent the night in the boats without having caught anything. In some sense, the nets appear empty just as the outcome of their experience with Jesus seems: They had met him, they had left everything to follow him, full of hope… and now? Yes, they had seen him risen and they thought, “he’s left, he’s left us.” All of this has seemed like a dream.

But Jesus at daybreak reveals himself at the shore of the lake; yet they don’t recognize him (cf v. 4). The Lord says to these tired and discouraged fishermen: “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something” (v. 6).Screen-Shot-2016-04-10-at-1.05.01-PM-740x493

The disciples did what Jesus said and the result was an incredibly abundant catch. At this point, John speaks to Peter and says, “It is the Lord!” (v. 7). And immediately, Peter dives into the water and swims to shore, toward Jesus. In this exclamation, “It is the Lord,” there is all of the enthusiasm of paschal faith. “It is the Lord,” full of joy and wonder, in stark contrast with the confusion, the desperation, the sense of impotence that had afflicted the spirit of the disciples. The presence of the Risen Jesus transforms everything: darkness is overcome by light; useless work becomes again fruitful and promising; the feeling of tiredness and abandonment gives way to a new strength and the certainty that he is with us.

Since then, these sentiments animate the Church, the Community of the Risen One. All of us are the Community of the Risen One. If with a superficial glance, it can sometimes seem that the darkness of evil and the tiredness of daily living dominate a situation, the Church knows with certainty that upon those who follow the Lord Jesus, the light of Easter already shines forever. The great proclamation of the Resurrection instills in the hearts of believers an intimate joy and an invincible hope. Christ has truly risen! Today, too, the Church continues to make this joyous proclamation resound: joy and hope will continue flowing in hearts, upon faces, in gestures, in words. All of us Christians are called to communicate this message of resurrection to those whom we meet, especially to the one who is suffering, to the one who is alone, to the one who finds himself in precarious situations, to the sick, the refugees, the marginalized. Let us bring to all a ray of light from the Risen Jesus, a sign of his merciful power.

May he, the Lord, renew in us as well the paschal faith. May he make us ever more aware of our mission at the service of the Gospel and of our neighbor. May he fill us with his Holy Spirit so that, sustained by the intercession of Mary, with all of the Church, we can proclaim the greatness of his love and the richness of his mercy.

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the hope that the Risen Christ gives us, I renew my call for the liberation of all people held hostage in zones of armed conflict. In particular, I want to recall the Salesian priest Tom Uzhunnalil, kidnapped in Aden, in Yemen, last March 4.

Today in Italy, the National Day for the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart is celebrated. The theme is “In the Italy of tomorrow, I will be here.” I wish that this great university, as it continues offering an important service to Italian youth, can continue with a renewed commitment to its formative mission, ever more in step with the needs of today.

I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from Italy and from other parts of the world. And a greeting to those who are doing the marathon. In particular to the faithful of Gandosso, Golfo Aranci, Mede Lomellina, Cernobbio, Macerata Campania, Porto Azzurro, Maleo and Sasso Marconi, with a special thought for the newly confirmed of Campobasso, Marzocca and Montignano.

I thank you for your presence in parish choirs, some of which have shared their service during these days in St. Peter’s Basilica. Thank you very much!

I wish everyone a happy Sunday and please, don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and until soon!

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