FULL TEXT Homily of Pope Francis at the Easter Vigil "Return to Him, rediscover the grace of the resurrection of God in you! " with Baptism of 8 People - VIDEO


Pope Francis presided at the Pascal vigil and baptised 8 people from Albania, the United States of America, Nigeria, Italy, and Venezuela. About 8,000 people were present with approximately 40 Cardinals, 25 bishops, and 200 priests. The Rite began in the atrium of St. Peter's Basilica with the blessing of the fire and the preparation of the Paschal candle. The procession to the Altar, with the Paschal candle lit and the singing of the Exultet, was followed by the Liturgy of the Word and the Baptismal Liturgy.

FREE Official Vatican Mass Booklet PDF with Music: https://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/libretti/2023/20230408-libretto-veglia-pasquale.pdf

HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS in the Basilica of Saint Peter on Holy Saturday, April 8, 2023

The night is coming to an end and the first lights of dawn come on, when the women set off towards the tomb of Jesus. They advance uncertain, lost, with their hearts lacerated by the pain of the death that took away the Beloved. But, arriving at that place and seeing the empty tomb, they reverse course, change direction; they leave the tomb and run to announce a new path to the disciples: Jesus is risen and awaits them in Galilee. Easter took place in the lives of these women, which means passage: in fact, they pass from the sad path towards the sepulcher to the joyful run towards the disciples, to tell them not only that the Lord is risen, but that there is a goal to be reached immediately, Galilee. The appointment with the Risen is there. The rebirth of the disciples, the resurrection of their hearts passes through Galilee. We too enter this journey of the disciples which goes from the grave to Galilee.

The women, says the Gospel, "went to visit the tomb" (Mt 28:1). They think that Jesus is in the place of death and that everything is over forever. Sometimes it also happens to us to think that the joy of meeting Jesus belongs to the past, while in the present we know above all sealed tombs: those of our disappointments, our bitterness, our distrust, those of "he is no more nothing to do”, “things will never change”, “better to live day by day” because “there is no certainty about tomorrow”. We too, if we have been gripped by pain, oppressed by sadness, humiliated by sin, embittered by some failure or haunted by some concern, have experienced the bitter taste of tiredness and have seen joy fade in our hearts.

Sometimes we have simply felt the fatigue of carrying on with everyday life, tired of risking ourselves in front of the rubber wall of a world where the laws of the smartest and the strongest always seem to prevail. At other times, we have felt helpless and discouraged in the face of the power of evil, the conflicts that tear relationships apart, the logic of calculation and indifference that seem to govern society, the cancer of corruption - there is so much -, the spread of injustice, to the icy winds of war. And, again, have we perhaps found ourselves face to face with death, because it has robbed us of the sweet presence of our loved ones or because it has touched us in sickness or calamities, and we have easily fallen prey to disillusionment and the source of our hope. Thus, for these or other situations - each of us knows our own -, our paths stop in front of tombs and we remain motionless crying and regretting, alone and powerless to repeat our "why". That chain of “why”…

Instead, women at Easter do not remain paralyzed in front of a tomb but, the Gospel says, "hastily leaving the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell his disciples" (v. 8). They bring the news that will change life and history forever: Christ is risen! (see v. 6). And, at the same time, they keep and transmit the Lord's recommendation, his invitation to the disciples: that they go to Galilee, because there they will see him (cf. v. 7). But, brothers and sisters, we ask ourselves today: what does it mean to go to Galilee? Two things: on the one hand, to emerge from the closure of the upper room to go to the region inhabited by the Gentiles (cf. Mt 4:15), to emerge from hiding to open up to the mission, to escape fear to walk towards the future. And on the other hand – and this is very beautiful – it means going back to the origins, because it all began right in Galilee. There the Lord had met and called the disciples for the first time. So to go to Galilee is to return to the original grace, it is to regain the memory that regenerates hope, the "memory of the future" with which we have been marked by the Risen One.

So here is what the Lord's Easter does: it pushes us to go forward, to get out of the sense of defeat, to roll away the stone from the tombs in which we often confine our hope, to look to the future with confidence, because Christ is risen and has changed the direction of the story; but, to do this, the Lord's Easter brings us back to our past of grace, it makes us go back to Galilee, where our love story with Jesus began, where our first call was. That is, he asks us to relive that moment, that situation, that experience in which we met the Lord, we experienced his love for him and we received a new and luminous gaze on ourselves, on reality, on the mystery of life .

Brothers and sisters, to be resurrected, to start over, to resume the journey, we always need to return to Galilee, that is, to go back not to an abstract, ideal Jesus, but to living memory, to the concrete and palpitating memory of the first encounter with him. Yes, to walk we must remember; to have hope we must feed the memory. And this is the invitation: remember and walk! If you recover your first love, the amazement and joy of meeting God, you will move forward. Remember and walk.

Remember your Galilee and walk towards your Galilee. It is the "place" where you met Jesus in person, where for you He has not remained a historical figure like others, but has become the person of life: not a distant God, but the close God, who knows you more than any other other and loves you more than anyone else. Brother, sister, remember Galilee, your Galilee: your call, that Word of God which in a precise moment spoke precisely to you; of that strong experience in the Spirit, of the greatest joy of forgiveness felt after that Confession, of that intense and unforgettable moment of prayer, of that light that turned on inside and transformed your life, of that encounter, of that pilgrimage… Everyone knows where his own Galilee is, each of us knows his own place of inner resurrection, the initial one, the founding one, the one that changed things. We cannot leave it in the past, the Risen One invites us to go there to celebrate Easter. Remember your Galilee, remember it, revive it today. Go back to that first meeting. Ask yourself how it was and when it was, reconstruct its context, time and place, re-experience its emotions and sensations, relive its colors and flavours. Because you know, it's when you forgot that first love, it's when you forgot that first meeting that dust began to settle on your heart. And you experienced sadness and, like the disciples, everything seemed without perspective, with a boulder sealing hope. But today, brother, sister, Easter strength invites you to roll away the boulders of disappointment and distrust; the Lord, an expert in overturning the tombstones of sin and fear, wants to illuminate your holy memory, your most beautiful memory, make that first encounter with Him current. Remember and walk: return to Him, rediscover the grace of the resurrection of God in you! Go back to Galilee, go back to your Galilee.

Brothers, sisters, let us follow Jesus to Galilee, let us meet him and adore him there where he awaits each of us. Let's revive the beauty of when, after discovering him alive, we proclaimed him Lord of our lives. Let's go back to Galilee, to the Galilee of first love: everyone goes back to his own Galilee, that of the first encounter, and we rise to new life!

Source: https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2023/04/08/0260/00560.html