At 10 o’clock today, Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection, the Holy Father Francis presided over the solemn celebration of the day’s Mass in front of the Vatican Basilica.
The celebration, which began with the rite of the “Resurrexit”, was attended by Roman faithful and pilgrims who had come from all over the world to celebrate Easter.
The following is the full text of the off-the-cuff homily Pope Francis pronounced during Holy Mass, after the proclamation of the Holy Gospel.
Homily of the Holy Father
Today, the Church repeats, sings, cries: “Jesus is risen!” But how can this be? Peter, John, and the women went to the sepulchre and it was empty; He was not there. They went with their hearts closed in sadness, the sadness of defeat: the Teacher, their Teacher, He whom they so loved, was executed, is dead. And no one returns from death. This is defeat; this is the path of defeat, the path to the tomb. But the Angel says to them: He is not here, He is risen”. It is the first announcement: “He is risen”. And then confusion, the closed heart, the apparitions. However, the disciples remained shut in the Cenacle the whole day, because they were afraid that what happened to Jesus would happen to them. And the Church never ceases to say to our defeats, to our closed and fearful hearts: “Stop, the Lord is risen”. But if the Lord is risen, how is it that these things happen? How is it that there are tragedies, sicknesses, human trafficking, slavery, wars, destructions, mutilations, vendettas, hatred? But where is the Lord?
Yesterday, I telephoned a young man with a grave illness, an educated youth, an engineer and to give him a sign of faith, I said to him: “There are no explanations for what is happening to you. Look at Jesus on the cross, God did this with His Son, and there is no other explanation”. And he answered me: “Yes, but He asked the Son and the Son said yes. I wasn’t asked if I wanted this”. This touches us: no one of us has been asked: “But are you happy with what happens in the world? Are you ready to carry this cross ahead?” And the cross goes ahead, and faith in Jesus comes down to us. Today, the Church continues to say: “Stop, Jesus is risen”.
And this is not a fantasy; the Resurrection of Christ is not a feast with many flowers. This is beautiful, but it is not this, it is more; it is the mystery of the discarded stone that ends up being the foundation of our existence. It means Christ is risen. In this disposable culture where what is not useful goes the way of the disposable, where what is not useful is discarded, that stone – Jesus – is discarded and yet it is the source of life. And we too, pebbles on the ground, in this land of sorrow, of tragedies, with faith in the Risen Christ we find meaning, in the midst of so many calamities. The meaning of looking beyond, the meaning of saying: “Look, there isn’t wall; there is a horizon, there is life, there is joy, there is the cross with this ambivalence. Look ahead; do not close yourself up. You, pebble, you have a meaning in life because you are a pebble next to that stone, that rock that the evil of sin has discarded”. What does the Church say to us today, faced with so many tragedies? This, simply. The discarded rock is not truly discarded. The pebbles that believe and attach themselves to that rock are not discarded, they have meaning, and with this sentiment the Church repeats from the depth of her heart: “Christ is risen”. Let us think a little, each one of us, of everyday problems, of the sicknesses we have experienced or that one of our relatives has; let us think of the wars, of the human tragedies and, simply, with a humble voice, without flowers, alone, before God, before ourselves let us say: “I don’t know how this is so, but I am sure that Christ is risen and I count on this”. Brothers and sisters, this is what I wanted to say to you. Return home today, repeating in your heart: “Christ is risen”.