Pope Francis attended the Easter Vigil in St Peter’s Basilica, focusing his homily on how the women of the Gospel help glimpse the “first rays of the dawn of God’s life rising in the darkness of our world,” and teach us to see, hear and proclaim the Passover of the Lord from death to life.
Present at the celebration were members of a small delegation from Ukraine, made up of representatives of the local government and the country’s parliament, whom the Pope met with just before the liturgy began.
The delegation included the mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, now an exile. The Pope greeted him in particular during the celebration.
“In this darkness that you are living, Mr. Mayor, Parliamentarians, the thick darkness of war, of cruelty, we are all praying, praying with you and for you this night. We are praying for all the suffering. We can only give you our company, our prayer and say to you: “Courage! We are accompanying you!” And also, to say to you the greatest thing we are celebrating today: Christòs voskrés! Christ is risen!”
We can sometimes keep looking at life and reality with a downcast perspective, the Pope went on to say, and even write off the future, believe things will never change or improve, burying “the joy of living.”
Yet, the Easter hope we proclaim today is a call by the Lord to see life with different eyes and make the jump to really believing that “fear, pain and death will not have the last word over us.”
While death can fill us with fear and sadness, he said, we must remember that “the Lord is risen!”
“Let us lift up our gaze, remove the veil of sadness and sorrow from our eyes, and open our hearts to the hope that God brings!”
The Pope added that we need to break free of moribund ways of thinking and behaving, where we can become prisoners of the past, lacking courage to to let ourselves be forgiven by God, to opt in favor for Jesus and his love.
We need to accept and encounter the living God who desires to change us and to change our world.
“Yet the Lord is risen! Let us not tarry among the tombs, but run to find him, the Living One! Nor may we be afraid to seek him also in the faces of our brothers and sisters, in the stories of those who hope and dream, in the pain of those who we suffer: God is there!”
The Pope expressed his wish for a Church that can proclaim in the same way, with the same fervor, the joy of the Gospel, what all Christians are called to do “to experience the risen Christ and to share the experience with others” and the joy it brings.
In conclusion, Pope Francis recalled how Jesus entered “the tomb of our sin” and “bore the weight of our burdens” restoring us to life.
“Let us celebrate Easter with Christ! He is alive! Today, too, he walks in our midst, changes us and sets us free…For with Jesus, the Risen Lord, no night will last forever; and even in the darkest night, the morning star continues to shine.”
*Note: This post has been shared in part from Vatican News. Read the full message HERE.
Wishing everyone a beautiful Easter Sunday filled with happiness, love, and faith. May you feel the love of God on this blessed day. Happy Easter!