On this Monday after Easter, the Gospel (cfr Mt. 28,8-15) presents to us the story of the women who went to the tomb of Jesus, they find it empty and see an Angel who announces to them that He is risen. And while they run to bring the news to the disciples, they encounter Jesus Himself who says to them: “Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (v. 10). Galilee is the “periphery” where Jesus began his preaching; and from there the Gospel of the Resurrection will be shared, so that it may be announced to all, and each one can encounter Him, the Risen One, present and active in history. Even today He is with us, here in the square.
This, then, is the announcement that the Church repeats from the first day: “Christ is risen!” And, in Him, through Baptism, we are also risen, we have passed from death to life, from the slavery of sin to the freedom of love. This is the good news that we are called to bring to others in every environment, animated by the Holy Spirit. Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope that He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that a Christian can offer to the brothers. To one and all, therefore, do not tire of repeating: Christ is risen! Let us all together repeat it, here today in the square: Christ is Risen! Let us repeat it with words, but above all with the witness of our life. The good news of the Resurrection should shine on our face, in our feelings and behaviors, in the way in which we treat others. We proclaim the resurrection of Christ when His light illuminates the dark moments of our existence, and we are able share it with others; when we know when to smile with those who smile, and weep with those who weep; when we accompany those who are sad and at risk of losing hope; when we recount our experience of Faith to those who are searching for meaning and happiness. With our attitude, with our witness, with our life, we say: Jesus is risen! We say it with all our soul.
We are in the days of the Octave of Easter, during which we accompany the joyful climate of the Resurrection. It is curious: the Liturgy considers the entire Octave as one single day, to help us to enter into the mystery, so that His grace is imprinted into our hearts and into our lives. Easter is the event that brought the radical novelty for every human being, for history and for the world: the triumph of life over death; it is the feast of reawakening and regeneration. Let us allow our existence to be conquered and transformed by the Resurrection!
We ask the Virgin Mary, the silent witness to the death and resurrection of Her Son, to make the joy of Easter grow in us. We do it now with the prayer of the Regina Coeli, which in the time of Easter, replaces the Angelus. In this prayer, marked from the Alleluia, may we turn to Mary inviting Her to rejoice, because He that She carried in Her womb is risen as He promised, and we entrust ourselves to Her intercession. In reality, our joy is a reflection of the joy of Mary, because it is She who has guarded and still guards with faith the events of Jesus. Let us recite then this prayer with the emotions of children who are happy so that their Mother is happy.
After the Regina Coeli, the Pope said the following:
In this beautiful Easter climate, I cordially greet you all, dear pilgrims who have come from Italy and from various parts of the world to participate in this moment of prayer. In particular, I am happy to welcome the delegation from the Shalom Movement that has come on the final stage of their solidarity relay race to raise awareness about the persecution of Christians in the world. Your itinerary on this path is over, but the spiritual journey of intense prayer should be continued by all; the concrete participation and tangible help in the defense and protection of our brothers and our sisters, who are persecuted, exiled, killed, decapitated for the sole fact of being Christians. They are our martyrs of today, and there are many; we can say that there are more than in the first century.
I hope that the international community does not remain mute and inert in front of such an unacceptable crime, which constitutes an alarming breach in the most basic of human rights. I truly hope the international community does not turn its gaze to the other side.
To each one of you, I pray that you pass this Week in joy and serenity in which the joy of the Resurrection is prolonged. In order to live this period more intensely – and I return always to the same argument – it would do us well to read every day a passage from the Gospel that speaks on the event of the Resurrection. Every day a small passage.
Have a Good and Holy Easter every one! Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!