At the Regina Caeli on Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis recalls the gifts of the Risen Lord: peace, joy, mission. "But let's not forget the wounds of Jesus". The memory of the Argentine martyrs, defenders of the peasants against the landowners. Solidarity for refugees in Libya and for flood victims in South Africa. Best wishes to the Orthodox Churches that today celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "If you are not at peace, touch my wounds": for Pope Francis this is the invitation that Jesus addresses to everyone, on Divine Mercy Sunday, the second of Easter, in which the Gospel narrates of the incredulity of the apostle Thomas and of the invitation addressed to him by the risen Jesus "to touch his wounds". Speaking to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Regina Caeli,
He continued: "To touch Jesus’ wounds, which are the many problems, difficulties, persecutions, <and> sicknesses of so many suffering people. Are you not in peace? Go, go visit someone, who is the symbol of Jesus’ wound. Touch Jesus’ wound. Mercy flows from those wounds. Therefore, today is the Sunday of Mercy, which comes to all of us through <His> wounds. All of us, we know, are in need of mercy. Let us approach Jesus and touch His wounds in our suffering brothers. Jesus’ wounds are a treasure: mercy flows from there. Let us be courageous and touch Jesus’ wounds. He is before the Father with these wounds, He makes the Father see them as if to say: “Father, this is the price, these wounds are what I have paid for my brothers.” Jesus intercedes, with His wounds, before the Father. He gives us mercy if we approach Him, and intercedes for us. Do not forget Jesus’ wounds."
Still referring to the Gospel of the day (John 20, 19-31), Francis emphasized that "then, in addition to peace and joy, Jesus also brings the mission as gift to the disciples. He says to them: “As the Father has sent me, even so, I send you” (v. 21). Jesus’ Resurrection 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 heart to peace, to joy, and to the mission. However, let us not forget Jesus’ wounds, because from there issues peace, joy and the strength for the mission. We entrust this prayer to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven and earth."
After the Marian prayer, Francis expressed a long list of greetings. First of all, yesterday in La Rioja (Argentina), diocesan bishop Enrique Angel Angelelli (1923-1976), bishop Carlos de Dios Murias (1946-1976), conventual Franciscan, Gabriel Longueville (1931-1976), fidei donum priest, and Wenceslao Pedernera (1936-1976), lay catechist and family man were declared blessed. All of them were killed during the so-called "national reorganization process", while they defended the rights of peasants against the landowners. "These martyrs of the faith - Francis explained - were persecuted for the cause of justice and evangelical charity. May their example and intercession support, in particular, all those who work for a more just and solidary society. One of them was French; he went to Argentina as a missionary. The other three were Argentines. Let us applaud all the new Blesseds!"
The pontiff then asked everyone to join his prayer "I invite you to join my prayer for the refugees that are in detention centers in Libya, whose situation, already very grave, is made even more dangerous by the on-going conflict. I make an appeal so that the women, the children and the sick, can be evacuated soonest through humanitarian corridors."
He also expressed his hope that " our solidarity and also the concrete support of the International Community not be lacking these brothers of ours" who have lost their lives or suffered serious damage from the recent floods in South Africa.
Finally, recalling that today the Orthodox Easter is celebrated - for the Churches that follow the Julian calendar - he expressed his "cordial wishes". "The Risen Lord - he added - gives them joy and peace! And an applause also for all Eastern Catholics and Orthodox, And an applause also for all Eastern Catholics and Orthodox, to say to them: Happy Easter!”.