ROME — Pope Francis on Easter Monday said how it is Christ’s resurrection that calls each of us to bring the message of Easter – a message of hope and life – to the world.
“There is life!” the pope said April 17. Now, following the Resurrection, “we will be resurrection men and women, men and women of life.”
We are called to show solidarity, welcoming, and peace to people “in the midst of events that afflict the world – there are many today – in the midst of worldliness that is distant from God,” he said.
These are only human signs that we can give, he continued, but “inspired and sustained by faith in the Risen Lord,” we can gain effectiveness “well beyond our capacity.”
Francis gave his message before leading pilgrims in the Regina Coeli prayer from a window overlooking St. Peter’s square.
It is customary for the Pope to lead this traditional Marian prayer on the Monday following Easter Sunday, also sometimes called the “Monday of the Angel” for the angel which announced Christ’s resurrection to the women at the tomb.
During the fifty days of Easter, the Regina Coeli will replace the usual recitation of the Angelus on Sundays.
In the message of the Angel to the women on Easter morning, “Go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead,’” we hear our directions as well, he said. The angel invites us as well to “act quickly” and to “go” to “proclaim to the men and women of our time this message of joy and hope.”
This message is hopeful because on the dawn of the third day, Jesus was risen from the dead, therefore “the last word is not death, but life! And this is our certainty. The last word is not the grave, is not death, it is life!”
And our Mother Mary can help us to live this out, Francis said.
“The Virgin Mary, silent witness of the death and resurrection of her son Jesus, helps us to be clear signs of the risen Christ among the events of the world.
“Those who are in distress and difficulties,” he explained, can “find in us so many brothers and sisters who offer them support and consolation.
“And this is so because Christ is alive and active in history through his Holy Spirit, redeems our miseries, reaches every human heart and gives hope to anyone who is oppressed and suffering,” he said.
“Our Mother, help us to believe strongly in the resurrection of Jesus: Jesus is risen, he is alive here, among us, and this is a wonderful mystery of salvation with the ability to transform hearts and lives,” he prayed.
“And intercede in a particular way for the Christian communities persecuted and oppressed as they are today, in many parts of the world, called to a difficult and courageous witness.”