St. Peter's Square
Sunday of Divine Mercy, 28 April 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today's Gospel (see Jn 20: 19-31) tells us that on Easter Sunday Jesus appeared to his disciples in the Upper Room in the evening, bringing three gifts: peace, joy, the apostolic mission.
The first words he says are: "Peace be with you" (v. 21). The Risen Lord brings authentic peace, because through his sacrifice on the cross he has achieved the reconciliation between God and humanity and has conquered sin and death. This is peace. His disciples first needed this peace, because, after the capture and death sentence of the Master, they had fallen into bewilderment and fear. Jesus presents himself alive among them and, showing his wounds - Jesus wanted to preserve his wounds -, in the glorious body, he gives peace as the fruit of his victory. But that evening the Apostle Thomas was not present. Informed of this extraordinary event, he, incredulous before the testimony of the other Apostles, claims to verify personally the truth of what they affirm. Eight days later, that is just like today, the apparition is repeated: Jesus comes to meet the incredulity of Thomas, inviting him to touch his wounds. They constitute the source of peace, because they are the sign of the immense love of Jesus who defeated the forces hostile to man, sin, death. He invites him to touch the sores. It is a teaching for us, as if Jesus said to all of us: "If you are not at peace, touch my wounds".
Touch the wounds of Jesus, which are the many problems, difficulties, persecutions, diseases of so many suffering people. Aren't you at peace? Go, go to visit someone who is the symbol of the wound of Jesus. It touches the wound of Jesus. From those wounds comes mercy. This is why today is the Sunday of mercy. A saint said that the body of Jesus crucified is like a lot of mercy, that through the wounds it reaches us all. We all need mercy, we know that. Let us draw near to Jesus and touch his wounds in our suffering brothers. The wounds of Jesus are a treasure: Mercy comes from there. We are brave and touch the wounds of Jesus. With these wounds He stands before the Father, shows them to the Father, as if he were saying: "Father, this is the price, these wounds are what I paid for my brothers". With his wounds, Jesus intercedes before the Father. Give us mercy if we approach, and intercedes for us. Don't forget the wounds of Jesus.
The second gift that the risen Jesus brings to the disciples is joy. The evangelist reports that "the disciples rejoiced to see the Lord" (v. 20). And there is also a verse, in Luke's version, which says they could not believe for joy. We too, when maybe something incredible happened, something nice, we can say: "I can't believe it, this is not true!". Such were the disciples, they could not believe for joy. This is the joy that Jesus brings us. If you are sad, if you are not at peace, look at Jesus crucified, look at Jesus risen, look at his wounds and take that joy.
And then, in addition to peace and joy, Jesus also gives the disciples the gift as a gift. He tells them: "As the Father has sent me, I also send you" (v. 21). The resurrection of Jesus is the beginning of a new dynamism of love, capable of transforming the world with the presence of the Holy Spirit.
On this second Sunday of Easter, we are invited to approach Christ with faith, opening our hearts to peace, joy and mission. But let's not forget the wounds of Jesus, because peace, joy and strength for the mission come from there. We entrust this prayer to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, queen of heaven and earth.
After the Regina Coeli
Dear brothers and sisters,
yesterday in La Rioja, Argentina, they were proclaimed Blessed Enrique Angel Angelelli, diocesan Bishop, Carlos de Dios Murias, conventual Franciscan, Gabriel Longueville, fidei donum priest, and Wenceslao Pedernera, catechist, father of a family. These martyrs of the faith were persecuted because of justice and evangelical charity. Their example and their intercession support in particular those who work for a more just and united society. One of them was French, he went as a missionary to Argentina. The other three, Argentines. We applaud the new blesseds, all of them!
I invite you to join my prayer for the refugees who are in detention centers in Libya, whose situation, already very serious, is made even more dangerous by the ongoing conflict. I appeal for the special evacuation of women, children and the sick as soon as possible through humanitarian corridors.
And we also pray for those who lost their lives or suffered serious damage from the recent floods in South Africa. Even these brothers of ours do not lack our solidarity and the concrete support of the international community.
I greet all of you, Roman faithful and pilgrims from Italy and from many countries, in particular the faithful of Tlalnepantla (Mexico), the youth of Valencia, the students of Tricase, the adolescents of Arcore and those of Carugo; the faithful of Modugno and Genoa. A special greeting to the diocesan pilgrimage of the families of the Archdiocese of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie, as well as to the devotees of the Divine Mercy gathered today in the church of Santo Spirito in Sassia.
To our brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches who today, according to the Julian calendar, celebrate Easter, I offer cordial wishes. May the risen Lord give them joy and peace! And applause also for all Eastern Catholics and Orthodox, to say to them: "Happy Easter!".
Finally, I thank all those who have sent me Easter greetings at this time. I exchange them heartily, invoking every good for each and every family.
Good Sunday to all! And please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye.