At 10 o’clock on Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection, April 16, 2016, Pope Francis presided over the solemn celebration of the day’s Mass in front of the Vatican Basilica.
Taking part in the celebration, which began with the rite of the “Resurrexit,” were Roman faithful and pilgrims from all over the world, on the occasion of the Easter celebrations.
Here is a Zenit working translation of Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff homily, delivered in the course of the Holy Mass, after the proclamation of the Holy Gospel.
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The Holy Father’s Homily
Today, the Church repeats, sings, cries: “Jesus is risen!” But how can this be? Peter, John, the women went to the sepulcher and it was empty; He wasn’t there. They went with their hearts closed by sadness, the sadness of a defeat: the Teacher, their Teacher, He whom they so loved, was executed, is dead. And no one comes back from death.
This is the defeat; this is the path of defeat, the path to the sepulcher. However, the Angel says to them: He’s not here, He is risen.” It is the first announcement: “He is risen.” And then confusion, the heart closed, the apparitions. However, the disciples remained closed in the Cenacle the whole day, because they were afraid that the same would happened to them that happened to Jesus. And the Church does not cease 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 so many tragedies, sicknesses, trafficking of persons, traffic of persons, 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 moves 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 on, and faith in Jesus goes down. Today, the Church continues to say: “Stop, Jesus is risen.”
And this isn’t a fantasy; the Resurrection of Christ is not a feast with many flowers. This is beautiful, but it isn’t this, it’s 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 isn’t useful goes the way of the used and is thrown away, where what isn’t useful is discarded, that stone – Jesus – is discarded and <yet> is the source of life. And we also, pebbles on the ground, in this land of sorrow, of tragedies, with faith in the Risen Christ have meaning, in the midst of so many calamities.
The meaning of looking at the other, the meaning of saying: “Look, there isn’t a wall; there is a horizon, there is life, there is joy, there is the cross with this ambivalence. Look ahead; don’t ‘close’ yourself. You, pebble, 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 in face of so many tragedies? Simply this. The discarded rock is not really discarded. The pebbles that believe and attach themselves to that rock aren’t discarded, they have meaning and with this sentiment the Church repeats from the depth of her heart: “Christ is risen.”
Let’s think a bit, let each one of us think, of the daily problems, of the sicknesses we have lived through or that one of our relatives has; let’s think of the wars, the human tragedies and, simply, with a humble voice, without flowers, alone, before God, before ourselves we say: “I don’t know how this is so, but I’m sure that Christ is risen and I bet on this.” Brothers and sisters, this is what I wanted to say to you. Return home today, repeating in your heart: “Christ is risen.”