“Look Up” to Jesus the God of Life, Pope Francis Reminds Welcoming Jesus Prevents Despair

“Look Up” to Jesus the God of Life, Pope Francis Reminds Welcoming Jesus Prevents Despair

Vatican City - “Look up” to Jesus the source of life and assures us that embracing Him ensures that no setback can lead us to despair, said Pope Francis at the Easter Vigil Mass at St. Peter's Basilica.

The Easter Vigil celebrations commenced at the Basilica's entrance with the poignant ritual of fire blessing, followed by a candlelit procession accompanied by the singing of Lumen Christi, as the Basilica's lights illuminated in full splendor. The ceremony encompassed the baptism and confirmation of eight catechumens hailing from Italy (4), South Korea (2), Japan (1), and Albania (1).

Who will roll away the stone?
"In his sermon, Pope Francis pondered the Gospel narrative of the women arriving at Jesus' empty tomb, emphasizing two pivotal moments within that account.

Initially, the grieving women are confronted with a question: 'Who will roll away the stone from the tomb?'

'That stone, an overwhelming obstacle,' remarked the Pope, 'symbolized the profound sentiments of despair within the women. It epitomized the culmination of their shattered hopes, brought to an abrupt halt by the enigmatic and sorrowful mystery that extinguished their aspirations.'"

"Occasionally in our lives, the Pope Francis said, we encounter this sensation of being engulfed by sorrow and hopelessness: 'We come across these tombstones in the voids left by the passing of our dear ones, in the setbacks and anxieties that hinder us from fulfilling the good deeds we aspire to achieve,' but also 'in all the manifestations of self-centeredness that suffocate our inclinations towards generosity and genuine affection, in the barriers of selfishness and apathy that impede our efforts to construct more equitable and compassionate communities and societies, in all our yearnings for peace shattered by ruthless animosity and the brutality of conflict.'"

However, Pope Francis noted, the women who carried this weight in their hearts witnessed something truly remarkable: when they raised their eyes, they beheld that immense stone already moved aside, unveiling the power of God: "the conquest of life over death, the victory of light over darkness, the resurgence of hope amidst the wreckage of defeat."

Pope Francis urged the faithful to "lift their gaze" towards Him: "If we permit Jesus to guide us," he expressed, "no encounter with failure or sadness, however agonizing, will ultimately dictate the significance and trajectory of our lives."

"If we allow ourselves to be raised up by the Risen Lord, no setback, no suffering, no death will be able to halt our progress towards the fullness of life.”

By embracing Jesus, "our Passover," the "God of life," into our existence, and affirming our commitment to Him, the Pope appended, "no obstacle will obstruct the path to our hearts, no tomb will extinguish the joy of life, no setback will consign us to hopelessness."

"May we direct our gaze towards Him, the Risen Lord," he concluded, "and advance with confidence, knowing that amidst the somber backdrop of our dashed hopes and mortalities, the eternal life He came to bestow is already among us."

“The Man of Sorrows is no longer in prison: he has opened a breach in the wall; he is hastening to meet you. In the darkness, let an unexpected shout of joy resound: He is alive; he is risen!”

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