Below is a Zenit translation of the Pope’s homily given while visiting the northern Italian city of Carpi, near Bologna, today, April 2, 2017:
Homily of the Holy Father
Today’s readings speak of the God of life Who conquers death. Let us dwell, in particular, on the last of the miraculous signs wrought by Jesus before His Passover, namely the tomb of His friend, Lazarus.
There, everything seems to be over: the tomb is closed by a large stone in front of it. Even Jesus is shaken by the dramatic mystery of the loss of a loved one: “He is deeply moved” and “very troubled” (Jn 11:33). Then he “burst into tears” (v. 35) and came to the tomb, the Gospel says, “once more, deeply moved” (v. 38). This is the heart of God: Departing from evil, but [going] near those who suffer; evil doesn’t disappear magically, but with suffering, adopts and transforms.
We note however, that amid the general desolation over the death of Lazarus, Jesus was not carried away by anxiety. Despite suffering Himself, He calls for personal belief; not [being] locked up in tears, but, moved, He sets off into the tomb. He does not allow Himself to be destroyed by emotional resignation, but prays with confidence and says, “Father, I thank you” (v. 41). Thus, in the mystery of suffering, Jesus gives us an example of how to behave: not to escape the suffering, which belongs to this life, but not remain a victim to imprisoning pessimism.
Around the tomb, there’s a big clash. On one side, there’s big disappointment, the precariousness of our mortal life, crossed by anguish at death, [which] often experiences the defeat, an inner darkness that seems insurmountable. Our soul, created for life, suffering, feeling that thirst for eternal good, is oppressed by an ancient and evil dark. On the one hand, there is this defeat of the tomb. But on the other side, there is the hope that overcomes death and evil and that has a name: the hope is called Jesus. He brings a little well-being or some remedy to prolong life, but proclaims, “I am the Resurrection and the Life; he that believeth in me, though he die, shall live “(v. 25). For this definitely, says: “Take away the stone” (v. 39) and Lazarus shouts loudly: “Come out!” (V. 43).
Dear brothers and sisters, we too, are invited to decide which side to take. You can stand on the side of the grave or the side of Jesus. Some people are closed in by sadness and those who are open to hope. Some people are still trapped in the rubble of life and those who, like you, with the help of God, are raised from the rubble and rebuilt with patient hope.
In front of the big “why” of life, we have two options: to sit back sadly in the tombs of yesterday and today, or to bring Jesus to our graves. Yes, because each of us has a small tomb, some area a bit ‘dead’ inside our heart: a wound, an injury suffered or done, a bitterness that gives no respite, a remorse that comes back and back again, a pity that is difficult to overcome. We identify these, our little graves, and there we invite Jesus. It’s strange, but often we prefer to be alone in our dark caves that we have inside, instead of inviting Jesus; we are tempted to always look for brooding and anguished, wounded selves, rather than go to Him, saying, “Come to me you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28 ). Let us not be imprisoned by the temptation of being alone and disheartened, to feel sorry for ourselves, for what happens to us; do not yield to useless and inconclusive logic and fear, resigned to repeat that everything is wrong and nothing is like it used to be. This is the atmosphere of the tomb; the Lord wants to instead, open the way of life, the encounter with Him, trust in Him, the resurrection of the heart, the way of ”Get up! Get up, come out!” That ‘s what we must ask the Lord, and He is close to us as we do it.
We feel the words of Jesus to Lazarus addressed to each of us: “Come out!”[Original Text: Italian] [Working translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]
At the end of the Holy Mass: The Pope gave his Angelus address and blessed the foundational stones of three new buildings of the Diocese of Carpi: the Parish of St. Agatha in Carpi; the Retreat House of St. Anthony in Novi; the “Citadel of Charity” in Carpi