About 15,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square Photo: Vatican Media

What does it mean to have life? Pope Francis explains on Mercy Day

Allocution on the occasion of the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, April 7, 2024

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 04.07.2024).- About 15,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square at noon on Sunday, April 7, to participate with the Pope in the recitation of the Angelus prayer. As is customary, before the Angelus, the Pope delivered the Sunday address, which we provide below translated into English:


Today, the second Sunday of Easter, dedicated by Saint John Paul II to Divine Mercy, the Gospel (cf. Jn 20:19-30) tells us that, by believing in Jesus, Son of God, we can have eternal life in His name (v. 31). “To have life”: what does it mean?

We all want to have life, but there are various ways of having it. For example, there are those who reduce existence to a frenetic race to enjoy and possess many things: to eat and drink, to enjoy themselves, to accumulate money and objects, to feel strong and new emotions, and so on. It is a road that at first sight seems pleasurable, but which does not satiate the heart. It is not in this way that one “has life”, because by following the path of pleasure and power one does not find happiness. Indeed, many aspects of existence remain unanswered, such as love, the inevitable experiences of pain, of limitations and of death. And then the dream we all have in common remains unfulfilled: the hope of living forever, of being loved without limit.

Today the Gospel says that this fullness of life, to which every one of us is called, is realized in Jesus: it is He who gives us this fullness of life. But how can one gain access to it, how can one experience it?

Let us look at what happened to the disciples in the Gospel. They are going through the most tragic moment in life: after the days of the passion they shut themselves away in the Upper Room, afraid and discouraged. The Risen One comes to them and shows them His wounds (cf. v. 20): they were the signs of suffering and pain, they could stir feelings of guilt, yet with Jesus they become channels of mercy and forgiveness. In this way, the disciples see and touch with their hands the fact that with Jesus, life always wins, death and sin are defeated, with Jesus. And they receive the gift of His Spirit, which gives them a new life, as beloved sons – life as beloved sons – imbued with joy, love and hope. I will ask one thing: do you have hope? Each one of you, ask yourselves: “How is my hope?”

This is how to “have life” every day: it is enough to fix one’s eyes on the crucified and risen Jesus, encountering Him in the Sacraments and in prayer, recognizing that He is present, believing in Him, letting oneself be touched by His grace and guided by His example, experiencing the joy of loving like Him. Every encounter with Jesus, a living encounter with Jesus enables us to have more life. Looking for Jesus, letting ourselves be found – because He looks for us – opening our heart to the encounter with Jesus.

Let us ask ourselves, though: do I believe in the power of the resurrection of Jesus, do I believe that Jesus is risen? Do I believe in His victory over sin, fear and death? Do I let myself be drawn into a relationship with the Lord, with Jesus? And do I let myself be prompted by Him to love my brothers and sisters, and to hope every day? Each one of you, think about this.

May Mary help us to have ever greater faith in Jesus, in the risen Jesus, to “have life” and to spread the joy of Easter.

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