(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said “we also stand today before the empty tomb of Jesus, and meditate with wonder and gratitude on the great mystery of the Resurrection of the Lord” during his Easter Monday Regina Coeli address.
“Life has conquered death. Mercy and love have conquered sin! There is need of faith and hope to open this new and wonderful horizon,” Pope Francis said.
“And we know that faith and hope are a gift from God, and we have to ask: ‘Lord, give me faith, give me hope! We have so much need!’. Let us by pervaded by the emotions that resonate in the Easter sequence: ‘Yes, we are certain: Christ is truly risen.’ The Lord has risen among us! This truth marked in an indelible way the lives of the Apostles who, after the Resurrection, again felt the need to follow their Master and, receiving the Holy Spirit, went without fear to proclaim to all what they had seen with their own eyes and personally experienced.” The Holy Father said “in this Jubilee Year we are called to rediscover and to welcome with particular intensity the comforting announcement of the resurrection: ‘Christ, my hope, is risen!’”, adding “if Christ is risen, we can look with new eyes and hearts at every event of our lives, even the most negative.”
“The moments of darkness, of failure, and also of sin can be transformed and announce a new path. When we have reached the base of our misery and our weakness, the risen Christ gives us the strength to lift ourselves up. If we have faith in Him, His grace saves us!” – Pope Francis continued – “The crucified and risen Lord is the full revelation of mercy, present and active in history. This is the Easter message that still resonates today and that will resonate throughout the time of Easter until Pentecost.” The Pope said “the silent witness to the events of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus was Mary.” “She was standing next to the cross: She did not collapse in the face of grief, but her faith made her stronger” – he explained – “In the broken heart of a mother, there was always the flame of hope. We ask her to also help us to accept in fullness the Easter proclamation of resurrection, to embody it concretely in our daily lives.” He then invoked Our Lady before reciting the Regina Coeli prayer, which is prayed instead of the Angelus during the Easter season: “May the Virgin Mary give us the certainty of faith that suffered every step of our journey, illuminated by the light of Easter; that it will become a blessing and joy for us and for others, especially for those who suffer because of selfishness and indifference.”
After reciting the Regina Coeli, Pope Francis condemned the “reprehensible” terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan, and called on civil and other authorities to “do everything possible to restore security and peace to the population and, in particular, to the most vulnerable religious minorities.”
At the end of his address, the Holy Father encouraged everyone to spend a little bit of time every day reading from the Gospels. “It takes no more than five minutes to read a passage from the Gospel. Remember this!...And do not forget to pray for me!” Pope Francis concluded.
Pope Francis on Easter Monday called for pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square to pause for a moment of prayer for the victims of the terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan, which killed more than 70 people, mostly Christian families celebrating Easter Sunday in a public park. During his Regina Coeli address, Pope Francis called the attack “reprehensible” and said it “bloodied” Easter. “I wish to express my closeness to all those affected by this cowardly and senseless crime, and ask you to pray to the Lord for the numerous victims and their loved ones,” Pope Francis said.
“I appeal to the civil authorities and to all the social components of [Pakistan] to do everything possible to restore security and peace to the population and, in particular, to the most vulnerable religious minorities,” the Pope continued.
“I repeat, once again, that violence and murderous hatred lead only to pain and destruction; respect and fraternity are the only way to achieve peace,” – the Holy Father said – “The Passover of the Lord inspires in us, in an even more powerful way, prayers to God so that he stops the hands of the violent, who spread terror and death; and makes it possible for love, justice and reconciliation to reign in the world.” After his remarks, Pope Francis led those gathered in St. Peter's Square in a "Hail Mary" for the victims and their families.