Sunday, April 26, 2020

Regina Caeli on the road to Emmaus

At noon today in Rome (6:00am EDT), the Holy Father led the recitation of the Regina Caeli from the Library inside the Vatican Apostolic Palace.  At the conclusion of the Regina Caeli, the Pope appeared at the window of his study to impart his blessing.

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

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today's Gospel, which takes place on the day of the resurrection, tells the story of the two disciples of Emmaus (cf Lk 24: 13-35). It is a story that begins and ends on the way. In fact, there is the outward journey of the disciples who have been saddened by the story of Jesus, and leave Jerusalem to return home, to Emmaus, walking for about eleven kilometers. It is a journey that takes place during the day, with a good part of the journey going downhill. And there is the return journey: another eleven kilometers, but made at night, with part of the way going uphill ... after the effort of the outward journey and the whole day has already passed. Two trips: one that is easy ... during the day and the other that is tiring ... at night. Yet the first occurs in sadness and the second in joy. In the first there is the Lord who walks by their side, but they do not recognize him; in the second they no longer see him, but they feel him near. In the first journey, they are discouraged and hopeless; in the second, they rush to bring the good news of the encounter with the Risen Jesus to others.

The two different paths of those first disciples tell us, the disciples of Jesus today, that in life we ​​have two opposite directions: there is the way of those who, like those two on the way out, allow themselves to be paralyzed by the disappointments of life and go though life sadly; and there is the way of those who do not put themselves and their problems first, but focus on Jesus who visits us, and the brothers who await his visit, that is, the brothers who wait for us to take care of them. Here is the turning point: stop focusing on yourself, the disappointments of the past, the unfulfilled ideals, the many bad things that have happened in your life. So many times we are led to gaze inward ... Leave that behind and go on looking at the greatest and truest reality of life: Jesus is alive, and Jesus loves me. This is the greatest reality. And I can do something for others. It is a beautiful reality, positive, sunny, beautiful! The reversal is this: to move from thoughts about myself to the reality of my God; move - with another play on words - from if (in Italian, se) to yes (the Italian word is ). Transform if into yes. What does this mean? If only He had freed us, if God had listened to me, if life had gone as I wanted, if I had this and that ..., in a tone of complaint. This if does not help, it is not fruitful, it does not help us, nor does it help others. Here are our selves, similar to those of the two disciples. But they move on to yes: “yes, the Lord is alive, he walks with us. Yes, let's leave now, not tomorrow, let's get back on the road to proclaim this good news. Yes, I can do this to make people happier, to make people better, to help many people. Yes, yes, I can.  From if to yes, from complaining to joy and peace, because when we complain, we are not experiencing joy; we are in a grey area, in a grey mood, that grey air of sadness. And that doesn't even help us grow well. From if to yes, from complaints to the joy of service.

This change of pace, from me to God, from if to yes, how did it happen in the lives of the disciples? Meeting Jesus: first, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus had to open their hearts to him; then they heard him explain the scriptures; then they invited him to enter their home. These are three steps that we can also take in our homes: first, we can open our hearts to Jesus, entrust him with the burdens, the labours, the disappointments of life, entrust him with the ifs; and then, the second step, listen to Jesus, take the Gospel in hand, read this passage today, in chapter twenty four of Luke's Gospel; third, pray to Jesus, in the same words as those disciples did: Lord, stay with us (Lk 24: 29). Lord, stay with me. Lord, stay with all of us, because we need your help in order to find the way. And without you there is only night.

Dear brothers and sisters, in life we are always on the way. And we become what we go towards. Let us choose the way of God, not that of the self; the way of yes, not that of if. We will discover that with Jesus by our side, there is nothing unexpected, there is no journey, there is no night that we cannot face. May Our Lady, Mother of the journey, who by welcoming the Word made her whole life a yes to God, show us the way.

Following the recitation of the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Yesterday was the United Nations' World Day against Malaria.  While we are fighting the coronavirus pandemic, we must also support the fight to prevent and to cure malaria, which is a threat to millions of people in many countries.  I am close to all those who are sick, to those who are caring for them, and to those who are working to ensure that every person has access to good basic health care services.

I also offer a greeting to all those who today, in Poland, are participating in the National Reading of Sacred Scripture.  On may other occasions, I have said, and I wish to repeat once again, how important it is to develop the habit of reading the Gospels, just for a few minutes, every day.  Let us carry the gospel with us in our pockets, in our purses ... so that the Word may always be close to us, even physically, and let us read a bit of the Word every day.

In a few days' time, the month of May will begin, the month that is dedicated in a special way to the Virgin Mary.  With a brief Letter - which was published yesterday - I invited all the faithful to pray during this month of the holy Rosary: to pray together, wth our families or alone, and to pray one of the two prayers which I made available to everyone.  May our Mother help us to confront this time of of trial with increased faith and hope.

I wish you all a good month of May and a good Sunday.  Please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye.
Testo originale nella lingua italiana

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