The Pope’s Easter Message

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VATICAN CITY –  Following is the official  English language translation provided by the Vatican of Pope Francis’ Easter  Sunday message, delivered in Italian from the central balcony of St. Peter’s  Basilica.

Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, Happy Easter!  Happy Easter!

What a joy it is for me to announce this message: Christ is risen! I would  like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the  suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons.

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Most of all, I would like it to enter every heart, for it is there that God  wants to sow this Good News: Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no  longer in the power of sin, of evil! Love has triumphed, mercy has been  victorious! The mercy of God always triumphs!

We too, like the women who were Jesus’ disciples, who went to the tomb and  found it empty, may wonder what this event means (cf. Lk 24:4). What does it  mean that Jesus is risen? It means that the love of God is stronger than evil  and death itself; it means that the love of God can transform our lives and let  those desert places in our hearts bloom. The love God can do this!

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This same love for which the Son of God became man and followed the way of  humility and self-giving to the very end, down to hell – to the abyss of  separation from God – this same merciful love has flooded with light the dead  body of Jesus, has transfigured it, has made it pass into eternal life. Jesus  did not return to his former life, to earthly life, but entered into the  glorious life of God and he entered there with our humanity, opening us to a  future of hope.

This is what Easter is: it is the exodus, the passage of human beings from  slavery to sin and evil to the freedom of love and goodness. Because God is  life, life alone, and we are his glory: the living man (cf. Irenaeus, Adversus  Haereses, 4,20,5-7).

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Dear brothers and sisters, Christ died and rose once for all, and for  everyone, but the power of the Resurrection, this passover from slavery to evil  to the freedom of goodness, must be accomplished in every age, in our concrete  existence, in our everyday lives. How many deserts, even today, do human beings  need to cross! Above all, the desert within, when we have no love for God or  neighbour, when we fail to realize that we are guardians of all that the Creator  has given us and continues to give us. God’s mercy can make even the driest land  become a garden, can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14).

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So this is the invitation which I address to everyone: Let us accept the  grace of Christ’s Resurrection! Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be  loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too;  and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the  earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.

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And so we ask the risen Jesus, who turns death into life, to change hatred  into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace. Yes, Christ is our peace,  and through him we implore peace for all the world.

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Peace for the Middle East, and particularly between Israelis and  Palestinians, who struggle to find the road of agreement, that they may  willingly and courageously resume negotiations to end a conflict that has lasted  all too long. Peace in Iraq, that every act of violence may end, and above all  for dear Syria, for its people torn by conflict and for the many refugees who  await help and comfort. How much blood has been shed! And how much suffering  must there still be before a political solution to the crisis will be found?

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Peace for Africa, still the scene of violent conflicts. In Mali, may unity  and stability be restored; in Nigeria, where attacks sadly continue, gravely  threatening the lives of many innocent people, and where great numbers of  persons, including children, are held hostage by terrorist groups. Peace in the  East of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in the Central African Republic,  where many have been forced to leave their homes and continue to live in  fear.

Peace in Asia, above all on the Korean peninsula: may disagreements be  overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow.

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Peace in the whole world, still divided by greed looking for easy gain,  wounded by the selfishness which threatens human life and the family,  selfishness that continues in human trafficking, the most extensive form of  slavery in this twenty-first century; human trafficking is the most extensive  form of slavery in this twenty-first century! Peace to the whole world, torn  apart by violence linked to drug trafficking and by the iniquitous exploitation  of natural resources! Peace to this our Earth! Made the risen Jesus bring  comfort to the victims of natural disasters and make us responsible guardians of  creation.

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Dear brothers and sisters, to all of you who are listening to me, from Rome  and from all over of the world, I address the invitation of the Psalm: “Give  thanks to the Lord for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever. Let  Israel say: ‘His steadfast love endures for ever'” (Ps 117:1-2).

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Dear Brothers and Sisters, to you who have come from all over the world to  this Square at the heart of Christianity, and to you linked by modern  technology, I repeat my greeting: Happy Easter!

Bear in your families and in your countries the message of joy, hope and  peace which every year, on this day, is powerfully renewed.

May the risen Lord, the conqueror of sin and death, be a support to you all,  especially to the weakest and neediest. Thank you for your presence and for the  witness of your faith. A thought and a special thank-you for the beautiful  flowers, which come from the Netherlands. To all of you I affectionately say  again: may the risen Christ guide all of you and the whole of humanity on the  paths of justice, love and peace.

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About mamatoc

A Baby Boomer learning to live in a retirement community in California.
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