Pope Francis urged the world in his 2016 Easter message to use the “weapons of love” to combat the evil of “blind and brutal violence,” following the attacks in Brussels.
Pope Francis’s “Urbi et Orbi” Easter 2016 Message
“Praise the Lord for he is good:
for his mercy endures forever” ( Ps 135,1).
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Easter!
Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God’s mercy, to love died on the cross and rose again for love. For this we proclaim today: Jesus is Lord!
Resurrection completely fulfilled the prophecy of the Psalm: God’s mercy is eternal, his love is forever, never dies. We can trust completely in Him, and give thanks because for us it is let down in the bottom of the abyss.
Faced with the spiritual and moral abyss of humanity, facing the empty that open the hearts and causing hatred and death, only an infinite mercy can give us salvation. Only God can fill with his love these gaps, these abysses, and allow us not to sink but to continue to walk together towards the Land of freedom and life.
The joyful Easter proclamation: Jesus, the crucified, is not here, he is risen (cf. Mt 28,5-6) offers us the consoling certainty that the abyss of death has been crossed and, with it, have been defeated on mourning, lamentation and grief (cf. Ap 21,4). The Lord, who suffered the abandonment of his disciples, the weight of an unjust condemnation and shame of an infamous death, makes us now share in his immortal life, and gives us his look of tenderness and compassion for the hungry and the thirsty, the strangers and the prisoners, the marginalized and rejected, victims of abuse and violence. The world is full of people who suffer in body and spirit, while the daily chronicles are filled with reports of brutal crimes, which often are consumed in the home, and of armed conflicts on a large scale who submit entire populations to unspeakable evidence.
Risen Christ indicates paths of hope to the beloved Syria, a country torn by a long conflict, with its sad procession of destruction, death, contempt for humanitarian law and disintegration of civil society. The power of the risen Lord we entrust the ongoing talks, so that with the good will and the cooperation of all you can collect the fruits of peace and start to build a fraternal society, respectful of the dignity and rights of every citizen. The message of life proclaimed by the angel near the stone rolled back in the tomb overturn the hardness of our hearts and promote a fruitful exchange between peoples and cultures in other areas of the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, Yemen and Libya.
The new image of man, that shines on the face of Christ, in the Holy Land promotes coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as the patient availability and the daily effort to work towards building the foundations of a just and lasting peace through direct negotiations and sincere. The Lord of life accompany well as efforts to reach a definitive solution to the war in Ukraine, inspiring and supporting even the humanitarian aid initiatives, including the release of detained persons.
The Lord Jesus, our peace ( Eph 2:14), who by rising defeated evil and sin, stimuli in this Easter holiday our closeness to the victims of terrorism, blind and brutal form of violence that continues to shed innocent blood in different parts of the world, as has happened in recent attacks in Belgium, Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Iraq; Volga to success the ferment of hope and prospects for peace in Africa; I think in particular Burundi, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and southern Sudan, marked by political and social tensions.
With the weapons of love, God has defeated selfishness and death; His Son Jesus is the door of mercy wide open for everyone. His Easter message is projected more and more on the Venezuelan people in the difficult conditions in which he lives and of those who hold in their hands the destiny of the country, so that we can work towards the common good, looking for dialogue and collaboration with all. Wherever it takes action to promote the culture of encounter, justice and mutual respect, which alone can ensure the spiritual well-being of citizens and material.
The Risen Christ, life announcement for all humanity, reverberates through the centuries and invites us not forget the men and women on their journey in search of a better future, increasingly great number of migrants and refugees – including many children – fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice. These brothers and sisters, in their way too often encounter death or otherwise the refusal of those who could offer them hospitality and help. The next round of the World Humanitarian Summit should not fail to put the human person at the center with his dignity and to develop policies that assist and protect victims of conflict and other emergencies, especially the most vulnerable and those who are persecuted on ethnic grounds and religious.
In this glorious day, “let the earth rejoice flooded with great splendor” (cf. Easter Proclamation), yet so abused and vilified by one greedy exploitation of profit, which alters the balance of nature. I think in particular to those areas affected by the effects of climate change, which often cause drought or severe flooding, resulting in food crises in different parts of the planet.
With our brothers and sisters who are persecuted for their faith and for their loyalty to the name of Christ and before the evil which seems to prevail in the lives of so many people, let us listen to the consoling words of the Lord: “Do not be afraid! I have overcome the world! “( Jn 16:33). Today is the day of this brilliant victory, because Christ trampled death and his resurrection has brought life and immortality (cf. 2 Tim 1:10). “He made us pass from slavery to freedom, from sadness to joy, from mourning to celebration, from darkness to light, from slavery to redemption. So we say to Him: Alleluia! “ (Melito of Sardis, Paschal Homily ).
To those in our societies have lost all hope and joy of living, to overcome seniors who feel the loneliness come less forces, young people who seem to miss the future, all I extend once again the words of the Risen Lord: “Behold, I I make all things new … to him who is thirsty I will give water from the fountain of life “ ( Rev 21.5 to 6). This reassuring message of Jesus, help each of us to start again with more courage and hope to build pathways of reconciliation with God and with our brothers. We need it so much!
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I wish to renew my best wishes for a Happy Easter to all of you who have come from Rome and from different countries, as well as those who are connected through television, radio and other media. Will resonate in your hearts, in your families and communities the message of the Resurrection, accompanied by the warm light of the presence of Jesus Alive: presence that illuminates, comforts and forgives, cheers … Christ has conquered evil at its root: it is the Gate of Salvation , wide open for everyone to find mercy.
I thank you for your presence and for your joy in this day of celebration. Special thanks for the gift of flowers, which this year come from the Netherlands.
Bring to all the joy and hope of the risen Christ. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Happy Easter lunch and goodbye!