On the Journey of Faith

«There is always a Word of God that gives us direction after we have become confused»

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Here is the translation of the Holy Father’s address before and after the recitation of the Regina Coeli today to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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Dear brothers and sisters, hello!

This Gospel for this Sunday, which is the third Sunday of Easter, is about the disciples of Emmaus (cf. Luke 24:13-35). These were 2 disciples of Jesus, who, after his death and once the Sabbath was over, leave Jerusalem and return, sad and dejected, to their village called Emmaus. Along the way, the risen Jesus comes to walk beside them but they do not recognize him. Seeing their sadness, he first helps them to understand that the passion and death of the Messiah were foreseen in God’s plan and foretold in Sacred Scripture and, thus, relights a fire of hope in their hearts.

At that point the disciples feel strongly drawn to that mysterious man and invite him to stay with them that evening. Jesus accepts their invitation and enters the house with them. And when at dinner he blesses the bread and breaks it, they recognize him, but he disappears from their sight, leaving them full of wonder. After being enlightened by the Word, they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread, new sign of his presence. And immediately they feel a need to return to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples about this experience of theirs, that they met Jesus alive and recognized him in that act of breaking the bread.

The road to Emmaus in this way becomes the symbol of our journey of faith: the Scriptures and the Eucharist are the indispensable elements for our encounter with the Lord. We too arrive at Sunday Mass with our worries, our problems and delusions… Life sometimes wounds us and we walk along sadly toward our “Emmaus,” turning our backs on God’s plan. We distance ourselves from God. But the Liturgy of the Word welcomes us: Jesus explains the Scriptures and reignites the fire of faith and hope in our hearts and in Communion he gives us strength. Word of God, Eucharist. Read a passage of Scripture every day. Remember it well: read a passage of Scripture every day, and on Sunday go to receive Communion, to receive Jesus. This is how it happened with the disciples of Emmaus: they took in the Word; they shared the piece of bread and from sad and defeated they became joyful. Remember it well! When you are said, take up the Word of God. When you are down, take up the Word of God and go to Sunday Mass to receive Communion, to participate in the mystery of Jesus. Word of God, Eucharist: they fill us with joy.

Through the intercession of Mary Most Holy let us pray that every Christian, reliving the experience of the disciples of Emmaus, especially at Sunday Mass, rediscover the grace of the transformative encounter with the Lord, with the risen Lord, who is always with us. There is always a Word of God that gives us direction after we have become confused; and through our weariness and delusions there is always piece of broken Bread that makes us go forward on the way.

[Following the recitation of the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father spoke again to those gathered in St. Peter’s Square:]

Dear brothers and sisters,

I would like to invite you to entrust to Our Lady the situation in Ukraine, where tensions do not cease. The situation is grave. I pray with you for the victims of these days, asking the at the Lord put into everyone’s hearts sentiments of peace and brotherhood.

Let us also pray for those who died two days ago in the enormous landslide that occurred in a village in Afghanistan. Almighty God, who knows the names of each one of them, welcome them all into your peace; and grant to the survivors the strength to go on, with the support of those who work to alleviate their sufferings.

Dear brothers and sisters, today is also the National Day for the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. The theme for the day is “With young people: the protagonists of the future.” A beautiful theme! How many young people are here today? How many? You are the protagonists of the future! You have entered into the future, in history. This is today’s theme. I pray for this great university that it be faithful to its original mission and up to date with the contemporary world. God willing, I will soon visit here in Rome the faculty of medicine and surgery at the Gemelli Polyclinic, which has been with us for 50 years and is a part of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore.

I greet all of you, faithful of Rome and pilgrims! I especially greet the faithful of the Diocese of Parma, led by Bishop Enrico Solmi, with numerous young people who are participating in the “Council of Young People.” A beautiful name! Forward! I wish you a good journey!

I greet the Meter Association, which for almost 20 years has fought against every form of abuse of minors. Thank you for your work! I also greet the participants in the

I greet the Relais Sourds Association of Lyons, France, Il Portico Association of Padua and the Jardin de los Niños from Argentina. I also greet the Teaching Sisters of St. Dorothy; the Melkite faithful from Australia and Alcorcón, Spain; the young people from Rybnik, Poland, devotees of Bl. Piergiorgio Frassati; the choir and band of Lenola, the choirs of the dioceses of Udine and the Italian recreational vehicle associations.

I thank the many parish and youth groups for their presence!

I wish you all a good Sunday. Have a good lunch and goodbye!

[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]
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