My dear brothers and sisters, Happy Easter! Happy Easter! What a joy it is for me to announce this message: Christ is risen! This is the new and glorious news that eagerly goes out to every house and every family, especially where suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons, to our homebound, and to those who lack faith or hopeâ€¦
Most of all, this message longs to enter into every heart, for it is there that God wants to sow this Good News: Jesus is risen, there is hope for us, we are no longer in the power of sin, of evil!
Love has triumphed, mercy has been victoriousâ€¦for the mercy of God always triumphs! We too, like the women who were Jesus’ disciples, who went to the tomb and found it empty, may wonder what this event means. What does it mean that Jesus is risen?
Quite simply, it means that the love of God is stronger than evil and death itself; it means that the love of God can transform our lives and let those desert places in our hearts bloom. The love of God can do this!
This same love for which the Son of God became man and followed the way of humility and self-giving to the very end, even down to hell – to the abyss of separation from God – this same merciful love has flooded with light the dead body of Jesus, has transfigured it, has made it pass into eternal life. Jesus didn’t return to his former life, to earthly life, but he entered into the glorious life of God and he entered there with our humanity, thus opening for us a future full of hope.
This is what Easter is: it is the exodus, the passage of human beings from slavery to sin and evil, to the freedom of love and goodness.
Dear brothers and sisters, Christ died and rose once for all, and for everyone, but the power of the Resurrection, this passover from slavery to evil to the freedom of goodness, must be accomplished in every age, in our concrete existence, in our everyday lives. How many deserts there are, even today, that human beings need to cross! Above all, the desert within, when we have no love for God or neighbor, when we fail to realize that we are guardians of all that the Creator has given us and continues to give us. God’s mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones.
So this is the invitation which I address to everyone: Let us accept the grace of Christ’s Resurrection! Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, and make justice and peace flourish.
So let us ask the risen Jesus, who turns death into life, to change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, envy into admirationâ€¦ war into peace.
As the Psalmist writes: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.”
Bear in your families and in your schools and places of workâ€¦bear to the townsfolk and the stranger the message of joy, hope and peace which every year, on this day, is powerfully renewed.
May the risen Lord, the conqueror of sin and death, be a support to you all, especially to the weakest and neediest.
Finally thank you for your presence today and for the witness of your faith. To all of you I affectionately say again: may the risen Christ guide all of us and the whole of humanity on the paths of justice, love and peace.
“Christus vincit, Christus resurrexit! Alleluia!”