A Note from Fr. Gary -
During these fifty days of Easter we continue to unpack the meaning of the Resurrection of Jesus. Last week the words of Pope Benedict XVI served as the basis for our Easter reflections. Today we hear the words of Pope Francis, as he unpacks the various aspects of the Easter mystery.
At Mass on Easter Sunday morning, the Pope said in his homily, “Jesus has risen from the dead, and this is not a fantasy. It’s not a celebration with many flowers [pointing at the arrangements surrounding him]. This is beautiful, but [the resurrection] is more.”
“It is the mystery of the thrown-away stone, that ends up being the cornerstone of our existence. Christ has risen from the dead. In this throwaway culture, where that which is not useful takes the path of the use-and-throw, where that which is not useful is discarded, that stone that was discarded is the fountain of life,” he said.
And even “us, little pebbles,” who’ve been thrown in an earth full of “suffering, tragedy,” with faith in the risen Christ, “have a reason for being, amidst so much calamity. A sense to look beyond: There is not a wall, but a horizon. There’s life, joy, in there is the cross with this ambivalence.”
The pope began his remarks saying that the Church, facing “our distrust, [and] closed and fearful hearts,” continues to say, “calm down, the Lord has risen.”
The Lord says that to us every single moment. When we face the struggles of our lives, no matter how great or small, the message is “calm down, the Lord has risen.” Closing his homily, Francis called upon those present to think about the everyday problems of life, illnesses, wars, human tragedies and say, “with a humble voice, without flowers, alone, to God who’s in front of us: ‘I don’t know how this is going, but I’m sure that Christ has risen.”’
Following the Easter Sunday Mass, Pope Francis continued the tradition of going up to the central balcony of St. Peter’s and giving his Easter Day Urbi et Orbi blessing, addressed “to the city and to the world.”
In his remarks, the Pope spoke of the “Risen Shepherd,” meaning Christ who rose from the dead on the third day, who “tirelessly seeks us,” with the “marks of the passion- the wounds of his merciful love- he draws on us to follow him on his way.”
One group of people that the Pope said the Risen Shepherd is constantly reaching out to are migrants and refugees. The Pope said, “The Risen Shepherd walks beside all those forced to leave their homelands as a result of armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, famine and oppressive regimes.” The Pope then prayed that the Risen Lord, “guide the steps of all those who work for justice and peace. May he grant the leaders of nations the courage they need to prevent the spread of conflicts and to put a halt to the arms trade.”
At his General Audience on Easter Wednesday, the Pope said that faith is neither an ideology nor a philosophical system, but is based on the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is that fact which changes everything for believers. So, even in the midst of pain and sorrow, we can still trust and believe in the God of life, because “Jesus is still here, and continues to live in our midst, that Jesus is here, in the square, with us: risen and living.”
May you know the presence of the Risen Christ this week!
Fr. Gary Lazzeroni