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The last word isn’t the tomb, it’s life, pope says on Easter Monday

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Simple gestures of welcome and solidarity, when supported by faith in Jesus’ resurrection, proclaim the value of life, Pope Francis said.

Being “men and women of the resurrection, men and women of life” involves making “gestures of solidarity, gestures of welcome, increasing the universal desire for peace and the aspiration for an environment free of degradation,” the pope said April 17 before reciting the “Regina Coeli” prayer.

Pope Francis speaks after the "Regina Coeli" prayer April 17 from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)

Pope Francis speaks after the “Regina Coeli” prayer April 17 from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)

On the Easter Monday public holiday, thousands of Italians and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square at noon to join the pope for the Easter-season Marian prayer, which begins, “Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia.”

Pope Francis told the crowd that the message of the angel to the women at the tomb, “Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’” is directed to believers today as well.

Christians, he said, are called “to proclaim to the men and women of our time this message of joy and hope.”

Jesus’ resurrection means “the last word isn’t the tomb, it is not death, it is life,” the pope said. “This is why we repeat so often, ‘Christ is risen.’ In him the tomb was vanquished. Life was born.”

Mary, “silent witness of the death and resurrection of her son Jesus,” can help believers be clearer signs of his love and life in the world “so that those experiencing tribulation and difficulty do not become victims of pessimism and defeat or resignation, but find in us brothers and sisters who offer support and consolation,” Pope Francis said.

The pope ended his remarks affirming that Mary intercedes particularly on behalf of those “Christian communities who are persecuted and oppressed in many parts of the world and are called to a more difficult and courageous witness.”

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Easter should last all week, including in your Bible reading, pope says

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Trusting that people took his Lenten advice and either downloaded a Bible app or bought a pocket-sized edition of the Gospels, Pope Francis encouraged Christians to re-read the accounts of the Resurrection during Easter week.

Pope Francis walks past flowers as he leaves after celebrating Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican April 20. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“Remember this week to pick up the Gospels, find the chapters about the Resurrection and read them, a passage from those chapters each day. This would do us good,” the pope said April 21, Easter Monday. At midday on the Italian holiday, the pope led the recitation of the “Regina Coeli,” the Marian prayer used from Easter to Pentecost.

With thousands of visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis stood in the window of the papal apartment he chose not to live in and urged those in the square to let their Easter joy be evident in the way they think and interact with others.

“Let us allow the joyful awe of Easter Sunday radiate in our thoughts, gazes, attitudes, gestures and words,” he said before leading the prayer.

Telling the crowd that they could wish each other Happy Easter all week long, “as if it were just one day, the great day the Lord has made,” he said Christians can learn Easter joy from Mary and the other women who mourned Jesus’ death and were transformed with joy at his rising from the dead.

“Think of the joy of Mary, the mother of Jesus,” he said. “Just as her pain was intimate, so much that her soul was pierced, so, too, her joy was intimate and profound and the disciples could draw from it” like drawing water from a spring.

From Good Friday to Easter morning, Pope Francis said, “she never lost hope. We have contemplated the suffering mother, but at the same time, the mother full of hope. That is why she is the mother of all disciples, the mother of the church and the mother of hope.”

Easter joy is not something fake, he said. “It comes from inside, from a heart immersed in the source of joy.”

Recognizing that with the resurrection, Jesus conquered death and promises eternal life to those who believe, the pope said, Christians are able to shine “a ray of the light of the Risen One on different human situations: on happy occasions, making them more beautiful and preserving them from selfishness; and on sad situations, bringing serenity and hope.”

 

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