Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pope Francis' Easter Surprise

I don't know if you've read or heard about Pope Francis' Easter words, but there's some pretty great stuff in there, so I thought I might post highlights and links. 

They see the stone removed from before the tomb, they draw near and they do not find the Lord’s body. It is an event which leaves them perplexed, hesitant, full of questions: “What happened?”, “What is the meaning of all this?” (cf. Lk 24:4). Doesn’t the same thing also happen to us when something completely new occurs in our everyday life? We stop short, we don’t understand, we don’t know what to do. Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us. We are like the Apostles in the Gospel: often we would prefer to hold on to our own security, to stand in front of a tomb, to think about someone who has died, someone who ultimately lives on only as a memory, like the great historical figures from the past. We are afraid of God’s surprises; we are afraid of God’s surprises! He always surprises us!
In the face of surprise we'd rather stay back with what's already known, even if it's not life giving -- like the Israelites in the desert telling Moses, 'We left Egypt for this? Let's go back and be slaves instead.'  He goes on:
Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won’t be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him.
On Easter Sunday, I just love the way he started: 
Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, Happy Easter! Happy Easter!
 What a joy it is for me to announce this message: Christ is risen! I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons.
Most of all, I would like it to enter every heart, for it is there that God wants to sow this Good News: Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no longer in the power of sin, of evil! Love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious! The mercy of God always triumphs! 
He ended yet another (blissfully short) homily by praying that the risen Christ's peace might be present throughout the world; and he went from region to region, talking about their struggles and need.   
...We ask the risen Jesus, who turns death into life, to change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace. Yes, Christ is our peace, and through him we implore peace for all the world.
Then finally, in an Argentinian tradition, the Pope donned the Bunny suit and greeted children.

Alright, that last bit comes from rather sketchy sources. It may not in fact be true. 

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