When popular Pope Francis on Saturday evening presided at the Easter Vigil in St Peter’s Basilica, GLOBALO was represented to report from the Vatican next to the Bronze Altar.
He was speaking clear, slow and with a gentle voice to an international audience in Italian and Latin, which included many young people from all over the world. This year more people visited Rome from China.
Security was doubled since last year, due to threats from ISIS and after the sad events in Paris and Brussels, with airport-like controls starting before the huge St. Peter’s square, roads blocked for traffic and many more police cars and soldiers around.
The Easter mess started with Pope Francis entering into a dark church, with just one candle in his hand. Slowly the thousands of pilgrims lighted their white candles.
This was the main message for Easter: light and hope by Jesus to the people in a world with dark moments.
“Let us not allow darkness and fear to distract us and control our hearts,” the Holy Father demanded.
Pope Francis is speaking as the leader of the Roman Catholic church to the world and formulating his Christian thoughts as the most respected politician in the world as well. Here his main theological arguments for Easter 2016:
Optimism, hope and courage in sad days: “Peter did not give into sadness and darkness but allowed the light of God to enter his heart. Like Peter and the women, he said, let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but instead break open our sealed tombs and let the Risen Christ into our hearts.” Without giving in to sadness or darkness, Peter made room for hope: he allowed the light of God to enter into his heart, without smothering it. Peter’s resurrection is the resurrection of his heart. Without giving in to sadness or darkness, he made room for hope: he allowed the light of God to enter into his heart, without smothering it”. We will always encounter problem, we must let the light of Christ shine on them, knowing that He is always at our side and will not let us down. Pope Francis said this certainty is the foundation of our Christian hope which is not mere optimism or a desire to be courageous.
- Vitality of life needed: The Spirit, he said, does not remove evil with a magic wand. But rather He pours into us the vitality of life and the knowledge that Christ has conquered fear, sin and death, compelling us to set out and announce this Easter message to others.
- We, like Peter and the women, cannot discover life by being sad, bereft of hope. Let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but let us break open our sealed tombs to the Lord so that he may enter and grant us life.
- We see and will continue to see problems both within and without. They will always be there. But tonight it is important to shed the light of the Risen Lord upon our problems, and in a certain sense, to “evangelize” them. Let us not allow darkness and fear to distract us and control us; we must cry out to them: the Lord “is not here, but has risen!” (v. 6). He is our greatest joy; he is always at our side and will never let us down.
- This is the foundation of our hope, which is not mere optimism, nor a psychological attitude or desire to be courageous. Christian hope is a gift that God gives us if we come out of ourselves and open our hearts to him. This hope does not disappoint us because the Holy Spirit has been poured into our hearts (cf. Rom 5:5).
- The Lord is alive and wants to be sought among the living. After having found him, each person is sent out by him to announce the Easter message, to awaken and resurrect hope in hearts burdened by sadness, in those who struggle to find meaning in life. There is so necessary today. However, we must not proclaim ourselves. Rather, as joyful servants of hope, we must announce the Risen One by our lives and by our love; otherwise we will be only an international organization full of followers and good rules, yet incapable of offering the hope for which the world longs.
How can we strengthen our hope?
The living word of God is able to involve us in this history of love, nourishing our hope and renewing our joy.
Let us open our hearts to hope and go forth.
May the memory of his works and his words be the bright star which directs our steps in the ways of faith towards the Easter that will have no end.”