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Regina Caeli Address: On the Third Sunday of Easter

‘In Life, We Have Before Us Two Directions: Either We Are Paralyzed by Life’s Disappointment or We Choose the Greatest and Truest Reality: Jesus, Who Loves Us’

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Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Regina Caeli, from the Library of the Apostolic Vatican Palace. At the end of the Regina Caeli, the Pope appeared at the window of his study and imparted his Blessing.

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Before the Regina Caeli:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today’s Gospel, set on Easter day, recounts the episode of the two disciples of Emmaus (Cf. Luke 24:13-35). It’s a story that begins and ends on the way. It was, in fact, the outward journey of the disciples that, sad over the epilogue of Jesus’ story, leave Jerusalem and go back home to Emmaus, walking for some eleven kilometers. It’s a journey that takes place in daytime, with a good part of the trajectory downhill. And there is the return journey: another eleven kilometers but done at nightfall, with part of the way uphill after the effort of the outward journey and the whole day. Two journeys: one easy during the day and the other tiring at night. Yet the first occurs in sadness, the second in joy. The Lord is in the first, walking beside them, but they don’t recognize Him; in the second they no longer see Him but feel Him close. In the first, they are disheartened and without hope; in the second they run to bring to the others the good news of the encounter with the Risen Jesus. The two different ways of which those first disciples tell us, disciples of Jesus today, that in life we have before us two opposite directions: there is the way of one, as those two when they set out, who lets himself be paralyzed by life’s disappointments and goes on sad; and there is the way of one who doesn’t put himself and his problems in the first place, but Jesus who visits us, and the brothers who await His visit, namely, brothers that wait for us to take care of them. Here is the turning point: to stop orbiting around oneself, the disappointments of the past, the unrealized ideals, the many awful things that happened in one’s life. We are led many times to orbit, to orbit . . . Leave that and go forward looking at the greatest and truest reality of life: Jesus is alive, Jesus — and He loves me. This is the greatest reality. And I can do something for others. It’s a beautiful, positive, sunny, beautiful reality! This is the U-turn: to pass from thoughts on myself to the reality of my God; to pass — with another play of words — from “if” to “yes.” What does from “if” to “yes” mean? If He had been here to free us; if God had listened to me if life had gone as I wanted if I had this or that . . . “ in a tone of complaint. This “if” doesn’t help, it’s not fruitful, it doesn’t help us, or others. Here are our “ifs,” similar to those of the two disciples, who, however, pass to the “yes”: “yes, the Lord is alive, He walks with us. Yes, now, not tomorrow, we set out again to proclaim Him.” “Yes, I can do this, so that people are happier, so that people are better, to help many people. Yes, yes, I can. From the if to the yes, from complaint to joy and peace, because when we complain we aren’t in joy; we are in a grey, in a grey, that grey air of sadness. And this doesn’t help or make us grow well — from if to yes, from complaint to the joy of service. How did this change of step happen in the disciples, from the “I” to God, from if to yes? By encountering Jesus: the two of Emmaus first open their heart to Him; then they listen to Him explain the Scriptures; then they invite Him to their home. These are three passages that we can also do in our homes: first, open our heart to Jesus, entrust to Him the burdens, the efforts, the disappointments of life, entrust to Him the “ifs” and, then, the second step, to listen to Jesus, to take the Gospel in hand, to read this passage today, chapter 24 of Luke’s Gospel; third, to pray to Jesus with the same words of those disciples: “Lord. ‘stay with us’ (v. 29). Lord, stay with me. Lord stay with all of us because we need You to find the way. And without you there is night.”

Dear brothers and sisters, in life we are always on the way, and we become that to which we are going. We choose the way of God, not that of the “I”; the way of yes, not that of if. We will discover that there is no unexpected <thing>, there is no ascent; there is no night we can’t face with Jesus. May Our Lady, Mother of the Way, who, receiving the Word made her whole life a “yes” to God, point out the way to us.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]


After the Regina Caeli:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Observed yesterday was the United Nations World Malaria Day. While we are combatting the coronavirus pandemic, we must carry forward the commitment to prevent and cure malaria, which threatens billions of people in many countries. I am close to all the sick, to those that care for them, and to those that work so that every person has access to good basic health services.

A greeting also goes to all those that are taking part today in Poland in the “National Reading of Sacred Scripture.” I’ve said to you many times and I would like to say again, how important it is to have the habit of reading the Gospel for a few minutes every day. Let us carry it in our pocket, in our bag, that it may always be close to us, also physically, and read it a bit every day.

The month of May will begin in a few days, dedicated in a particular way to the Virgin Mary. With a brief Letter — published yesterday — I invited all the faithful to pray the Holy Rosary in this month together, in the family or on one’s own, and to pray one of the two prayers that I have put at everyone’s disposition. May our Mother help us to face the time we are going through with more faith and hope.

I wish you all a happy month of May and a happy Sunday. Please, don’ forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
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Virginia Forrester

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