POPE FRANCIS at the REGINA CAELI
St. Peter's Square - Sunday, May 16, 2021
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today, in Italy and in other countries, the solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is celebrated. The Gospel passage ( Mk 16: 15-20) - the conclusion of the Gospel of Mark - presents us with the last meeting of the Risen One with the disciples before going up to the right hand of the Father.
Usually, we know, farewell scenes are sad, they give those who remain a feeling of bewilderment, of abandonment; instead all this does not happen to the disciples. Despite their detachment from the Lord, they do not appear disconsolate, on the contrary, they are joyful and ready to go as missionaries to the world.
Why aren't the disciples sad? Why should we also rejoice to see Jesus ascend into heaven?
The ascension completes the mission of Jesus among us. In fact, if it is for us that Jesus descended from heaven, it is always for us that he ascends there. After having descended into our humanity and having redeemed it - God, the Son of God, descends and becomes man, he takes our humanity and redeems it - now he ascends to heaven taking our flesh with him. He is the first man who enters heaven, because Jesus is man, true man, he is God, true God; our flesh is in heaven and this gives us joy. To the right of the Father now sits a human body, for the first time, the body of Jesus, and in this mystery each of us contemplates his own future destination. It is not at all a question of abandonment, Jesus remains forever with the disciples, with us. He remains in prayer, because He, as a man, prays to the Father, and as God, man and God, He makes Him see the wounds, the wounds with which he redeemed us. The prayer of Jesus is there, with our flesh: he is one of us, God man, and he prays for us. And this must give us a certainty, indeed a joy, a great joy! And the second reason for joy is the promise of Jesus. He told us: “I will send you the Holy Spirit”. And there, with the Holy Spirit, that commandment is made that He gives precisely in the farewell: “Go into the world, proclaim the Gospel”. And it will be the power of the Holy Spirit that takes us there in the world, to bring the Gospel. It is the Holy Spirit of that day, which Jesus promised, and then nine days later he will come on the feast of Pentecost. It is precisely the Holy Spirit who has made it possible for all of us to be like this today. A great joy! Jesus has gone to heaven: the first man before the Father. He left with the plagues, which were the price of our salvation, and pray for us. And then he sends us the Holy Spirit, he promises us the Holy Spirit, to go out to evangelize. For this the joy of today, for this the joy of this day of the Ascension.
Brothers and sisters, on this feast of the Ascension, as we contemplate Heaven, where Christ has ascended and sits at the right hand of the Father, we ask Mary, Queen of Heaven, to help us to be courageous witnesses of the Risen in the world in the concrete situations of life. .
After the Regina Caeli
Dear brothers and sisters!
I am following with great concern what is happening in the Holy Land. In recent days, violent armed clashes between the Gaza Strip and Israel have taken over, and are in danger of escalating into a spiral of death and destruction. Numerous people were injured, and many innocent people died. Among them there are also children, and this is terrible and unacceptable. Their death is a sign that they do not want to build the future, but they want to destroy it.
Furthermore, the growing hatred and violence that is affecting various cities in Israel is a serious wound to fraternity and peaceful coexistence among citizens, which will be difficult to heal if we do not open up to dialogue immediately. I wonder: where will hatred and revenge lead? Do we really think we are building peace by destroying the other? "In the name of God who created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and called them to coexist as brothers among themselves" (cf. Human Brotherhood Document) I appeal to calm and, to whom it has the responsibility to put an end to the clamor of weapons and to walk the paths of peace, also with the help of the international community.
We pray incessantly that Israelis and Palestinians may find the path of dialogue and forgiveness, to be patient builders of peace and justice, opening up, step by step, to a common hope, to a coexistence among brothers.
We pray for the victims, especially the children; let us pray to the Queen of Peace for peace. Ave Maria…
Today begins the “ Laudato si ' Week ”, to educate us more and more to listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor. I thank the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the World Catholic Climate Movement, Caritas Internationalis and the numerous member organizations, and I invite everyone to participate.
I greet the pilgrims from various nations who yesterday, here in Rome in Saint John Lateran, took part in the beatification of the priest Francesco Maria della Croce, founder of the Salvatorian and Salvatorian religious. He was a tireless herald of the Gospel, using every means that Christ's charity inspired him. May his apostolic zeal be an example and a guide to those in the Church who are called to bring the word and love of Jesus to every environment. A round of applause to the new Blessed! There is the icon here in front….
I cordially greet all of you from Rome, Italy and other countries, in particular the AGESCI-Lupetti Group of the parish of San Gregorio Magno in Rome; and the Redemptoris Mater Seminary of the diocese of Florence.
I wish everyone a happy Sunday, even the children of the Immaculate Conception, who are good. And please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation