ROME – Pope Francis on Monday said the “lord money” has the power to lead some to deny that the Resurrection of Jesus happened.

“The power of the resurrection clashes to with those who had been hired to guarantee the apparent power of death,” Francis said. “These guards had to go to those who had given them the order to guard the tomb and say the truth. They faced an option: To say the truth, or to be convinced by those who had hired them.”

“The only way to convince them was money … these poor people sold the truth, and with money in their pockets, said that the disciples had gone and stole the body [of Jesus],” the pope said. “The Lord money, here too, in Christ’s resurrection, is powerful enough for them to deny it.”

Francis remarks came during the Regina Coeli, which replaces the Angelus in the Easter season. He was meditating on the so called “Monday of the Angel,” as the Gospel reading of the day speaks of the angel who met with the women who arrived at Jesus’s tomb. The angel said to them: “I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen.”

The pope noted that the evangelist Matthew narrates that on Easter morning “there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat on it.”

That large stone, that was supposed to be the seal of the victory of evil and death, Francis said, was put underfoot, becoming the footstool of the angel: “All of the plans and defenses of Jesus’s enemies and persecutors were in vain. The image of the angel sitting on the stone before the tomb is the concrete, visible manifestation of God’s victory over evil, of Christ’s victory over the prince of this world, of light over darkness. Jesus’s tomb was not opened by a physical phenomenon, but by the Lord’s intervention.”

There were two reactions to the miracle that was God’s resurrection, the pope said: On the one hand, that of the guards who’d been hired to make sure the tomb remained closed, and that of the women. The first, Francis said, could not face the “overwhelming” power of God and became “like dead men.”

On the other hand, the women, who are invited by the angel to “not be afraid,” don’t seek Christ in the tomb. After being shaken, they then find peace in their hearts and the joy of knowing that Jesus lives.

“In this Easter Season, my wish is that everyone might have the same spiritual experience, welcoming in our hearts, in our homes and in our families the joyful proclamation of Easter: Christ, having risen from the dead dies now no more; death will no longer have dominion over him,” the pope said, before leading those who had joined him via streaming in praying the Regina Coeli.

For health and safety reasons, Francis delivered his blessing from the Vatican’s library and not from the usual window overlooking St. Peter’s Square. In an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, all of Italy is under strict lockdown.

Afterwards, Francis said that during these days, he was thinking in particular of the elderly and the disabled, who were joining him either from their homes or care facilities.

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