In his first Easter as the Bishop of Rome in 2013, Pope Francis preached to the congregation gathered at St. Peter’s Basilica to celebrate the great Solemnity of Our Lord’s Resurrection, saying:
“Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won’t be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which He cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to Him.”
Referring to the women who came to anoint the dead body of Our Lord at dawn that first Easter morning, but who found instead the tomb empty, our Holy Father said: “What was a simple act, done surely out of love – going to the tomb – has now turned into an event, a truly life-changing event. Nothing remains as it was before, not only in the lives of those women, but also in our own lives and in the history of mankind. Jesus is not dead, He has risen, He is alive! He does not simply return to life; rather, He is life itself, because He is the Son of God, the living God. Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected towards the future; Jesus is the everlasting ‘today’ of God.
“This is how the newness of God appears to the women, the disciples and all of us: as victory over sin, evil and death, over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human. And this is a message meant for me and for you dear sister, for you dear brother. How often does Love have to tell us: Why do you look for the living among the dead? Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness… and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive! Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome Him as a friend, with trust: He is life! If up till now you have kept Him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following Him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust Him, be confident that He is close to you, He is with you and He will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as He would have you do.”
On behalf of Fr. Mariusz, Deacon Larry, and the parish staff, I wish you and your loved ones joy and peace this Easter. May the life of Christ, truly raised from the dead, refresh our souls and make all weary hearts new again.