Sunday, April 28, 2019

Regina Coeli for Divine Mercy Sunday

At noon today in Rome (6:00am EDT), the Second Sunday of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday, the Holy Father, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study inside the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Regina Coeli with the faithful and with pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square.

Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Regina Coeli

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today's gospel (cf Jn 20:19-31) explains that on Easter day, Jesus appeared to his disciples in the Upper Room, in the evening, bringing three gifts with him: peace, joy and apostolic mission.

The first words he says are: Peace be with you (Jn 20:21). 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 the true meaning of peace. His disciples first needed this peace, because, after the capture and death sentence of their Master, they had fallen into bewilderment and fear. Jesus presented himself alive among them and, showing them his wounds - Jesus wanted to preserve his wounds - on his glorious body, he gave them peace as the fruit of his victory. But that evening the Apostle Thomas was not present. Informed about this extraordinary event, he was incredulous before the testimony of the other Apostles and insisted on personally verifying the truth of what they affirmed. Eight days later, that is just like today, the apparition was repeated: Jesus came to meet Thomas' incredulity, 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 that are hostile to man: sin and death. He invited Thomas to touch his wounds. This is a teaching for us, as if Jesus were saying 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 and diseases of so many suffering people. Are you not at peace? Go, go to visit someone who is the symbol of the wounds of Jesus. Touch the wounds 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 his wounds he reaches us all. We all need mercy, we know that. Let us draw near to Jesus and touch his wounds in our suffering brothers and sisters. The wounds of Jesus are a treasure: mercy comes from those wounds. We must be brave and touch the wounds of Jesus. With these wounds He stands before the Father and he 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. He gives us mercy if we approach, and he 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 tells us that the disciples rejoiced to see the Lord (Jn 20:20). And there is also a verse, in Luke's version, which says that in their joy they could not believe their eyes. We too, when maybe something incredible happens, something nice, we can say: I can't believe it, this is not true!. Such were the disciples, they could not believe, out of joy. This is the joy that Jesus brings us. If you are sad, if you are not at peace, look to Jesus crucified, look to the risen Jesus, look at his wounds and you will find joy.

And then, in addition to peace and joy, Jesus also gives the disciples the gift of mission. He tells them: As the Father has sent me, so I send you (Jn 20:21). 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, to open our hearts to peace, joy and mission. But let us not forget the wounds of Jesus, because peace, joy and strength for the mission come from touching his wounds. We entrust this prayer to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, queen of heaven and earth.
Queen of Heaven, rejoice!  Alleluia!For he whom you merited to bear, Alleluia,Has risen as he said, Alleluia!Pray for us to God, Alleluia!Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, Alleluia!For the Lord has truly risen, Alleluia! 
Let us pray:O God, who through the resurrection of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christgave rejoicing to the worldgrant, we pray, that through his Mother, the Virgin Mary,we may obtain the joys of everlasting life.Through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Yesterday, in La Riojia, in Argentina, Enrique Angel Angelelli, a Diocesan Bishop; Carlos de Dios Murias, a Conventual Franciscan; Gabriel Longueville, a priest by the gift of faith; and Wenceslao Pedernera, a father and a catechist were beatified.  These martyrs for 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 were Argentines. Let us applaud the new blesseds, all of them! 

I invite you to join my prayer for the refugees who are in detention centres 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 let us also pray for those who lost their lives or suffered serious damage from the recent floods in South Africa. These brothers of ours also need our solidarity and the concrete support of the international community.

I greet all of you, the faithful of Rome and pilgrims from Italy and from many other countries, in particular the faithful from Tlalnepantla (Mexico), the youth from Valencia, the students from Tricase, the adolescents from Arcore and those of Carugo; the faithful from Modugno and Genoa. A special greeting to the diocesan pilgrimage of families from 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 who are part of the Eastern Churches who today, according to the Julian calendar, celebrate Easter, I offer cordial wishes. May the risen Lord give you joy and peace! And let us also applaud all Eastern Catholics and Orthodox, to say to them: Happy Easter!

Finally, I thank all those who during this period have sent me messages and greetings for Easter.  I willingly exchange these greetings with all of you, invoking every blessing for you and for your families.

Happy Sunday to all of you!  And please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye!
Original text in Italian

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