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Easter Sunday Homily of Pope Francis and the " Urbi et Orbi" Blessing

April 1, 2018
CNS photo/Paul Haring
Easter message of Pope Francis
Speaking off the cuff the Pope said that he was moved to say three things inspired by the Gospel proclamation. In his homily during the Easter Sunday liturgy in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis says that God surprises the women with a proclamation which became a greeting in the early Church: "The Lord is risen!"
God surprises us
The women had gone to anoint the Lord’s body and instead found themselves standing before a surprise. When God announces something it is always a surprise because God is a God of surprises, Pope Francis said.
It has been that way from the beginning of the story of salvation with Abraham: one surprise after another. God does not know how to make an announcement without surprising us. Surprise moves our hearts and touches us where we do not expect.
Responding quickly to God's surprises
The second thought is the haste of the women. God’s surprises demand an immediate response. Peter and John run too as did the the shepherds on the night when Christ was born. They say “Let us run to see what the angels have revealed to us.” The Samaritan woman also runs to say to her people, “this is something entire new. I have met a man who has told me everything that I have done—and the people knew what she had done,“ Pope Francis said. Andrew did not waste time to go to Peter to say that he had found the Messiah. People leave whatever they are doing— “the housewife leaves her potato in the pot. Sure they will be burned, but the important thing is to see the manifestation of the proclamation.”
The Pope added that there is one person in the Gospel who takes his time, who does not want to take a risk. This is Thomas. But the good Lord waited for him in the same way that he waits patiently for those people who do not get up and respond to the surprise announcement right away.
What about me?
Pope Francis’ the third is a question. What about me? “Do I have a heart open to God’s surprises?" Am I am able to go quickly, or do I always hang back and excuse myself until tomorrow.
“What does a surprise say to me?” Pope Francis asks. John and Peter ran to the tomb and the Gospel says they believe. Pope Francis says that Peter’s belief was “a bit mixed with remorse for having denied the Lord.”
The Pope concluded his homily saying that now it is our turn to ask “what about me today in this Easter 2018. What about you?”
Pope Francis' "Urbi et Orbi" Blessing for Easter Sunday – April 1, 2018
At 12:00 noon, from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica, Pope Francis addressed this message to the large crowd present in St Peter's Square and to those who listened to him through the radio, the television and the Internet:
Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Easter!
Jesus is risen from the dead!
This message resounds in the Church the world over, along with the singing of the Alleluia: Jesus is Lord; the Father has raised him and he lives forever in our midst.
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, to 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 the strife-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo, 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 for living.
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!