Easter rolls away the stones of sin, despair, pope says at vigil

Pope Francis carries a candle in procession as he arrives to celebrate the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican April 20, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

As individuals and as a church, it can be tempting to dwell on mistakes, failures and sins that block the fullness of life, but Easter is the proclamation that the Lord is victorious and his love will triumph, Pope Francis said.

“Easter is the feast of tombstones taken away, rocks rolled aside,” the pope said in his homily April 20 during the Easter Vigil.

The gaze of the risen Lord, he said, “fills us with hope for it tells us that we are loved unfailingly and that however much we make a mess of things, his love remains unchanged. This is the one, non-negotiable certitude we have in life: his love does not change.”

Pope Francis began the vigil in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica, blessing a fire and lighting the Easter candle. A deacon carried the candle into the semi-darkened basilica, lit the pope’s candle and began sharing the light with the thousands of people in the congregation. Little by little light filled the world’s largest Catholic church.

During the liturgy, Pope Francis baptized and confirmed eight adults, who were between the ages of 21 and 60. The five women and three men included four Italians and one person each from Ecuador, Peru, Albania and Indonesia.

In his homily, the pope focused on the Gospel scene of the women going to Jesus’ tomb to anoint his dead body. Pope Francis imagined that the women were worried about how they would remove the stone sealing the tomb and said that in an analogous way it is a worry the entire Christian community can experience.

Easter joy comes when people learn to view their lives as God does, “for in each of us he never ceases to see an irrepressible kernel of beauty,” Pope Francis said. “In sin, he sees sons and daughters to be restored; in death, brothers and sisters to be reborn; in desolation, hearts to be revived.”

Full story at Catholic San Francisco.

Comments

  1. Many fine words, to be sure. But “in death, brothers and sisters to be reborn” seems at first glance to misplace being “born again” to life post-mortem instead of at baptism, which then falls in line with his either explicit or tangential universalism. His words, as generally seems to be the case, can be taken different ways. But if I were a universalist, I would champion this man as the greatest light in Church history.

    • Anonymous says

      Catholics believe that all souls with be resurrected at the end of the world, the good for eternal bliss; the bad for eternal suffering.
      Pope Francis said to sinners:
      “Convert, there is still time for not ending up in hell. It is what is waiting for you if you continue on this path.”

  2. Your Fellow Catholic says

    “Easter is the feast of tombstones taken away, of rocks rolled aside: the one, non-negotiable certitude we have in life: his love does not change”

    Amen, alleluia, amen!

  3. William Robert says

    What a beautiful Easter Meditation! Thank you Pope Francis…and thank you for your leadership of the Church during these very difficult times. May God continue to bless you in your Petrine ministry!

  4. Very good! However, I think that this Pope needs to focus on the hard issues of sin, in today’s world, in his office as Pope– and do like many successful Protestant evangelists (such as Rev. Billy Graham) to show people actually what the Lord wants of His people– how He truly wants us to live. And for those struggling in sin– give them definite teachings, as to how to get out of that bad life of sin, and get successfully into a wonderful, new life, of a practicing Catholic! With lots of points, lots of encouragement, lots of prayers, for the poor, struggling sinners! Next– post their inspirational stories of success, on this website!

  5. Recently I saw the movie, “Unbroken: Path To Redemption.” Very inspiring! It shows how poor Louis Zamperini, the famous Olympic athlete, struggled with PTSD after coming home from a Japanese POW camp, during WWII– and how PTSD nearly destroyed his life! He was rescued from PTSD– including alcoholism– by a dramatic conversion to Christ, during Rev. Billy Graham’s 1949 Los Angeles Crusade! The Pope needs to do likewise– and rescue millions of suffering souls, with good evangelization, for Christ!

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