Urbi et Orbi Message of the Holy Father – Easter 2019
URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE
OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
Central loggia of the Vatican Basilica
Sunday, 21 April 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Easter!
Today the Church renews the announcement of the first disciples: “Jesus is risen!” And from mouth to mouth, from heart to heart echoes the invitation to praise: “Alleluia! … Hallelujah! ” On this Easter morning, the perennial youth of the Church and of all humanity, I would like to convey to each one of you the initial words of the recent Apostolic Exhortation dedicated in particular to young people:
«Christ lives. He is our hope and the most beautiful youth of this world. Everything he touches becomes young, becomes new, is filled with life. Therefore, the first words I want to address to each young Christian [and to each] Christian are: He lives and wants you alive! He is in you, He is with you and never goes away. As far as you can get away, next to you is the Risen One, calling you and waiting for you to start over. When you feel old for sadness, grudges, fears, doubts or failures, He will be there to give you strength and hope “( Christus vivit , 1-2).
Dear brothers and sisters, this message is addressed at the same time to every person and to the world. The Resurrection of Christ is the beginning of a new life for every man and every woman, because true renewal always starts from the heart, from the conscience. But Easter is also the beginning of the new world, freed from the slavery of sin and death: the world finally opened to the Kingdom of God, Kingdom of love, peace and fraternity.
Christ lives and stays with us. He shows the light of his face of the Risen One and does not abandon those who are in the trial, in pain and in mourning. He, the Living One, is hope for the beloved Syrian people, victim of a continuing conflict that threatens to find us increasingly resigned and even indifferent. Instead, it is time to renew the commitment to a political solution that responds to the just aspirations of freedom, peace and justice, face the humanitarian crisis and encourage the safe return of displaced persons, as well as those who have taken refuge in neighboring countries, especially in Lebanon and in Jordan.
Easter leads us to keep our eyes on the Middle East, torn by continuous divisions and tensions. Christians in the region do not fail to witness the resurrected Lord and the victory of life over death with patient perseverance. A particular thought I address to the people of Yemen, especially to children, exhausted by hunger and war. The Easter light illuminates all the rulers and peoples of the Middle East, starting with Israelis and Palestinians, and encourages them to alleviate so much suffering and to pursue a future of peace and stability.
The weapons cease to bloody Libya, where helpless people have begun to die in recent weeks and many families are forced to leave their homes. I urge interested parties to choose dialogue rather than oppression, avoiding the reopening of the wounds of a decade of conflict and political instability.
The Living Christ gives his peace to all the beloved African continent, still littered with social tensions, conflicts and sometimes violent extremisms that leave insecurity, destruction and death, especially in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon. My thoughts go also to Sudan, which is going through a moment of political uncertainty and where I hope that all the requests can find a voice and each will strive to allow the country to find the freedom, development and well-being to which it has long aspired.
The risen Lord accompany the efforts made by the civil and religious authorities of South Sudan, supported by the fruits of the spiritual retreat held a few days ago here in the Vatican. May a new page be opened in the history of the country, in which all the political, social and religious components actively engage for the common good and the reconciliation of the nation.
At this Easter, the population of the eastern regions of Ukraine will find solace, which continues to suffer from the ongoing conflict. The Lord encourages humanitarian initiatives and those aimed at pursuing lasting peace.
The joy of the Resurrection fills the hearts of those on the American continent who suffer the consequences of difficult political and economic situations. I am thinking in particular of the Venezuelan people: so many people lack the minimum conditions to lead a dignified and safe life, due to a crisis that continues and deepens. The Lord gives to those who have political responsibilities to work to put an end to social injustices, abuses and violence and to take concrete steps that will enable the divisions to be healed and offer the population the aid they need.
The risen Lord enlighten the efforts being made in Nicaragua to find a peaceful and negotiated solution for the benefit of all Nicaraguans as soon as possible.
In the face of the many sufferings of our time, the Lord of life does not find us cold and indifferent. Make us bridge builders, not walls. He, who gives us his peace, stops the clash of arms, both in the contexts of war and in our cities, and inspires the leaders of the nations to work to end the arms race and the worrying spread of weapons, especially in the most economically advanced countries. The Risen One, who has opened the doors of the sepulcher, open our hearts to the needs of the needy, the defenseless, the poor, the unemployed, the marginalized, those who knock on our door in search of bread, a refuge and the recognition of his dignity.
Dear brothers and sisters, Christ lives! He is hope and youth for each of us and for the whole world. Let us let ourselves be renewed by Him! Happy Easter!
Dear brothers and sisters,
I learned with sadness and sorrow the news of the serious attacks that, just today, the day of Easter, have brought mourning and pain in some churches and other meeting places in Sri Lanka. I wish to express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, struck while it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence. I entrust to the Lord those who have tragically disappeared and pray for the wounded and all those who suffer because of this dramatic event.
I renew my wishes for a Happy Easter to all of you, from Italy and from different countries, as well as to those who have joined us through television, radio and other means of communication. In this regard, I like to recall that seventy years ago, at Easter 1949, a Pope spoke for the first time on television. The Venerable Pius XII addressed the viewers of French TV , emphasizing how the eyes of the Successor of Peter and the faithful could also meet through a new means of communication. This occasion offers me the opportunity to encourage Christian communities to use all the tools that the technique makes available to announce the good news of the risen Christ, to communicate, not just to contact each other.
Enlightened by the light of Easter, we carry the fragrance of the Risen Christ in solitude, in misery, in the suffering of so many of our brothers, reversing the stone of indifference. In this square, the joy of the Resurrection is symbolized by the flowers, which also come from the Netherlands this year, while those in St. Peter’s Basilica are from Slovenia. A great special thanks to the donors of these splendid floral tributes!
And don’t forget to pray for me. Good Easter lunch and goodbye!