16 April 2017
Easter Homily: Put your faith in God instead of corrupt and bureaucratic world
Francis makes special reference to women who discovered Jesus’ tomb 'who knew bitter taste of injustice'
Christians should put their faith in a God who “upsets all the rules and offers new possibilities” instead of resigning themselves to a world of injustice paralysed by corruption and faceless bureaucracies, Pope Francis said during the Easter Vigil.
His homily on Saturday evening in St Peter’s Basilica made special reference to the women who discovered Jesus’ empty tomb, “who knew the bitter taste of injustice” but refused to accept things the way they always are.
Mary Magdalene and the “other Mary”, Francis explained, reflect all those who feel the unfairness of life; the brutality, the dire poverty and the sight of their children whose futures are crushed by selfishness and in those “who are greeted with contempt because they are immigrants, deprived of country, house and family.”
“Their faces mirror the faces of women, mothers, who weep as they see the lives of their children crushed by massive corruption that strips them of their rights and shatters their dreams,” the Pope explained. “By daily acts of selfishness that crucify and then bury people’s hopes. By paralysing and barren bureaucracies that stand in the way of change. In their grief, those two women reflect the faces of all those who, walking the streets of our cities, behold human dignity crucified.”
Too often, the Pope went on, people grow used to “living within the tomb” where consciences are blunted, and we walk “poised between the desire of God and bleak resignation.”
He made his remarks during the Church’s set-piece liturgy which starts with St Peter’s engulfed in darkness. Then, slowly, light appears when the paschal candle is lit in a symbolic representation of the new life brought by Christ’s resurrection.
The Easter vigil, which was this year served by seminarians from the Scots College in Rome, is the moment when new converts are welcomed into the Church, and tonight Francis received newcomers from Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, United States, Albania, Malta, Malaysia and China.
The new life brought by Jesus rolling “back the stone of the tomb”, the Pope explained, breaks down walls, ends “sterile pessimism” and those “carefully constructed ivory towers” that isolate people from reality.
“When the High Priest and the religious leaders, in collusion with the Romans, believed that they could calculate everything, that the final word had been spoken and that it was up to them to apply it, God suddenly breaks in, upsets all the rules and offers new possibilities,” the Pope explained. “God once more comes to meet us, to create and consolidate a new age, the age of mercy.”
The message of Easter, Francis concluded, is the moment when buried dreams, hope and dignity can be given new life, and he urged those present - including cardinals and bishops from the Roman Curia - to tell the news that death does not have the final word.
“If we cannot let the Spirit lead us on this road, then we are not Christians,” the Pope said.
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