Divine Mercy Sunday
Pope Francis' Message Midday Regina Coeli - Rome
Before the Regina Coeli:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Every Sunday we remember the Lord Jesus’ Resurrection, but in this season after Easter, this Sunday has an even more illuminating meaning. In the Church’s tradition, this Sunday, the first after Easter, was called “in albis.” What does this mean? The expression intended to recall the rite carried out by all those who received Baptism in the Easter Vigil. Each one of them was given a white garment – “alba” – ”white” — to indicate their new dignity as children of God. This is also done today: newborns are given a small symbolic dress, whereas adults put on a true and proper one, as we saw in the Easter Vigil. And, in the past, that white garment was worn for a week. until this Sunday, and from this stems the name in albis deponendis, which means the Sunday in which the white garment is taken off. And thus, the white garment removed, the neophytes began their new life in Christ and in the Church.
There is something else. In the Jubilee of the Year 2000, Saint John Paul II established that this Sunday be dedicated to the Divine Mercy. It is true, it was a beautiful intuition: it was the Holy Spirit that inspired him in this. A few months ago we concluded the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy and this Sunday invites us to take up forcefully the grace that comes from God’s mercy. Today’s Gospel is the account of the Risen Jesus’ apparition to the disciples gathered in the Cenacle (cf. John 20:19-31). Saint John writes that, after greeting His disciples, Jesus said to them: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” Having said this, He made the gesture of breathing on them and added: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven” (vv. 21-23). See the meaning of mercy that is presented in fact on the day of Jesus’ Resurrection as forgiveness of sins. The Risen Jesus transmitted to His Church, as her first task, His same mission to take to all the concrete proclamation of forgiveness. This is the first task: to proclaim forgiveness. This visible sign of His mercy brings with it peace of heart and the joy of a renewed encounter with the Lord.
In the light of Easter, mercy is perceived as a true form of knowledge. And this is important: mercy is a true form of knowledge. We know that one knows through many ways. One knows through the senses, one knows through intuition, through reason and also other ways. Well, one can also know through the experience of mercy, because mercy opens the door of the mind to understand better the mystery of God and of our personal existence. Mercy makes us understand that violence, rancor, vengeance make no sense, and the first victim is the one who lives these sentiments, because he deprives himself of his dignity. Mercy also opens the door of the heart and enables us to express closeness especially to all those who are alone and marginalized, because it makes them feel brothers and children of one Father. It fosters the recognition of all those in need of consolation and makes us find the appropriate words to give them comfort.
Brothers and sisters, mercy warms the heart and makes it sensitive to the needs of brothers with sharing and participation. In sum, mercy commits all to be instruments of justice, reconciliation and peace. Let us never forget that mercy is the turnkey in the life of faith, and the concrete way with which we give visibility to Jesus’ resurrection.
May Mary, Mother of Mercy, help us to believe and live all this with joy.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Regina Coeli
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Yesterday the priest Luis Antonio Rosa Ormieres was proclaimed Blessed at Oviedo in Spain.
He lived in the 19th century and spent his many human and spiritual qualities at the service of education, and for this he founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Guardian Angel. May his example and his intercession help, in particular, all those who work in schools and in the educational field.
My heartfelt greeting to you all, Roman faithful and pilgrims from Italy and from many countries, in particular the Confraternity of Saint Sebastian of Kerkrade, the Netherlands; the Nigerian Catholic Secretariat and the Liebfrauen parish of Bocholt, Germany.
I greet the Polish pilgrims and express my earnest appreciation for the initiative of Caritas-Poland in support of many families in Syria. A special greeting goes to the devotees of Divine Mercy, gathered today in the church of the Holy Spirit in Sassia, as well as to the participants in the “Race for Peace”: a relay that starts today from this Square to reach Wittenberg in Germany.
I greet the numerous groups of youngsters, especially the Confirmed and the candidates for Confirmation – you are so many! –: of the Dioceses of Piacenza-Bobbio, Trento, Cuneo, Milan, Lodi, Cremona, Bergamo, Brescia and Vicenza, and also the “Masaccio” School of Treviso and the “San Carpoforo” Institute of Como.
Finally, I thank all those that in this period have sent Easter greeting messages. I return them from my heart invoking for each one and for every family the grace of the Risen Lord. Have a good Sunday and do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you soon!
[Original Text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
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Papal Events for the Triduum
Easter Vigil -2017
Homily given by Pope Francis April 15, 2017
Here is a Vatican translation of the homily Pope Francis delivered at the Easter Vigil.
“After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb” (Mt 28:1). We can picture them as they went on their way… They walked like people going to a cemetery, with uncertain and weary steps, like those who find it hard to believe that this is how it all ended. We can picture their faces, pale and tearful. And their question: can Love have truly died?
Unlike the disciples, the women are present – just as they had been present as the Master breathed his last on the cross, and then, with Joseph of Arimathea, as he was laid in the tomb. Two women who did not run away, who remained steadfast, who faced life as it is and who knew the bitter taste of injustice. We see them there, before the tomb, filled with grief but equally incapable of accepting that things must always end this way.
If we try to imagine this scene, we can see in the faces of those women any number of other faces: the faces of mothers and grandmothers, of children and young people who bear the grievous burden of injustice and brutality. In their faces we can see reflected all those who, walking the streets of our cities, feel the pain of dire poverty, the sorrow born of exploitation and human trafficking. We can also see the faces of those who are greeted with contempt because they are immigrants, deprived of country, house and family. We see faces whose eyes bespeak loneliness and abandonment, because their hands are creased with wrinkles. Their faces mirror the faces of women, mothers, who weep as they see the lives of their children crushed by massive corruption that strips them of their rights and shatters their dreams. By daily acts of selfishness that crucify and then bury people’s hopes. By paralyzing and barren bureaucracies that stand in the way of change. In their grief, those two women reflect the faces of all those who, walking the streets of our cities, behold human dignity crucified.
The faces of those women mirror many other faces too, including perhaps yours and mine. Like them, we can feel driven to keep walking and not resign ourselves to the fact that things have to end this way. True, we carry within us a promise and the certainty of God’s faithfulness. But our faces also bear the mark of wounds, of so many acts of infidelity, our own and those of others, of efforts made and battles lost. In our hearts, we know that things can be different but, almost without noticing it, we can grow accustomed to living with the tomb, living with frustration. Worse, we can even convince ourselves that this is the law of life, and blunt our consciences with forms of escape that only serve to dampen the hope that God has entrusted to us. So often we walk as those women did, poised between the desire of God and bleak resignation. Not only does the Master die, but our hope dies with him.
“And suddenly there was a great earthquake” (Mt 28:2). Unexpectedly, those women felt a powerful tremor, as something or someone made the earth shake beneath their feet. Once again, someone came to tell them: “Do not be afraid”, but now adding: “He has been raised as he said!” This is the message that, generation after generation, this Holy Night passes on to us: “Do not be afraid, brothers and sisters; he is risen as he said!” Life, which death destroyed on the cross, now reawakens and pulsates anew (cf. ROMANO GUARDINI, The Lord, Chicago, 1954, p. 473). The heartbeat of the Risen Lord is granted us as a gift, a present, a new horizon. The beating heart of the Risen Lord is given to us, and we are asked to give it in turn as a transforming force, as the leaven of a new humanity. In the resurrection, Christ rolled back the stone of the tomb, but he wants also to break down all the walls that keep us locked in our sterile pessimism, in our carefully constructed ivory towers that isolate us from life, in our compulsive need for security and in boundless ambition that can make us compromise the dignity of others.
When the High Priest and the religious leaders, in collusion with the Romans, believed that they could calculate everything, that the final word had been spoken and that it was up to them to apply it, God suddenly breaks in, upsets all the rules and offers new possibilities. God once more comes to meet us, to create and consolidate a new age, the age of mercy. This is the promise present from the beginning. This is God’s surprise for his faithful people. Rejoice! Hidden within your life is a seed of resurrection, an offer of life ready to be awakened.
That is what this night calls us to proclaim: the heartbeat of the Risen Lord. Christ is alive! That is what quickened the pace of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. That is what made them return in haste to tell the news (Mt 28:8). That is what made them lay aside their mournful gait and sad looks. They returned to the city to meet up with the others.
Now that, like the two women, we have visited the tomb, I ask you to go back with them to the city. Let us all retrace our steps and change the look on our faces. Let us go back with them to tell the news In all those places where the grave seems to have the final word, where death seems the only way out. Let us go back to proclaim, to share, to reveal that it is true: the Lord is alive! He is living and he wants to rise again in all those faces that have buried hope, buried dreams, buried dignity. If we cannot let the Spirit lead us on this road, then we are not Christians.
Let us go, then. Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by this new dawn and by the newness that Christ alone can give. May we allow his tenderness and his love to guide our steps. May we allow the beating of his heart to quicken our faintness of heart.
[Original text: Italian][Vatican-provided prepared text]
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