From the Catholic News Agency: During his Urbi et Orbi Easter blessing, Pope Francis said Jesus' death and resurrection provide hope to a world marred by conflict, proving that modern tragedies such as war and violence won't have the final say.
“We Christians believe and know that Christ’s resurrection is the true hope of the world, the hope that does not disappoint,” the Pope said April 1, Easter morning.
Like the parable Jesus told of the grain of wheat which has to die before bearing fruit, Francis said that “it is the power of the grain of wheat, the power of that love which humbles itself and gives itself to the very end, and thus truly renews the world.”
“This power continues to bear fruit today in the furrows of our history, marked by so many acts of injustice and violence,” he said, and pointed to the plight of migrants and refugees, and victims of the drug trade, human trafficking and other forms of modern slavery.
He asked for peace throughout the world, especially in the “long-suffering” nation of Syria, “whose people are worn down by an apparently endless war.”
“This Easter, may the light of the risen Christ illumine the consciences of all political and military leaders, so that a swift end may be brought to the carnage in course, that humanitarian law may be respected” in order to facilitate access to aid, and to allow those who have been displaced to return to their homes.
Pope Francis also prayed for the Holy Land, which in recent days has seen an increase in violence, for Yemen and for the entire Middle East, “that dialogue and mutual respect may prevail over division and violence.”
“May our brothers and sisters in Christ, who not infrequently put up with injustices and persecution, be radiant witnesses of the risen Lord and of the victory of good over evil.”
He also prayed for those who yearn for “a more dignified life,” specifically children and those from areas in Africa that suffer from hunger, violence and terrorism, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.
Francis also prayed for the process of peace and dialogue on the Korean peninsula, and for Ukraine, that humanitarian aid would be able to reach the people and that recent steps to promote peace and harmony in the nation would be “consolidated.”
Turning to Venezuela, Pope Francis said citizens are living “in a kind of foreign land within their own country,” and prayed that with the grace of the resurrection, the nation would be able to find “a just, peaceful and humane way to surmount quickly the political and humanitarian crises that grip it.”
Prayers were also offered for children who lack education as a result of war, for elderly who have been “cast off by a selfish culture that ostracizes those who are not productive,” and for world leaders, that they “may always respect human dignity, devote themselves actively to the pursuit of the common good, and ensure the development and security of their own citizens.”
Pope Francis closed his address repeating the question the angel posed to the women who came to the tomb and found it empty, asking: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”
“Death, solitude and fear are not the last word.” he said. “There is a word that transcends them, a word that only God can speak: it is the word of the resurrection. ”And by the power of God’s love, “it dispels wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord and brings down the mighty.”