Holy Father says Christ’s love is the ‘one non-negotiable certitude we have in this life’
In his Easter Vigil homily, Pope Francis said that the Risen Christ desires to “roll back the stone” that blocks the entrance to one’s heart, so that God’s light and love can enter.
“The Lord calls us to get up, to rise at his word, to look up and to realize that we were made for heaven, not for earth, for the heights of life and not for the depths of death,” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Basilica April 20.
“Each of us is called tonight to rediscover in the Risen Christ the one who rolls back from our heart the heaviest of stones. So let us first ask: What is the stone that I need to remove, what is its name?” he asked.
Pope Francis said the “stone of sin” blocks many hearts. “Sin is looking for life among the dead, for the meaning of life in things that pass away,” he explained.
“Sin seduces; it promises things easy and quick, prosperity and success, but then leaves behind only solitude and death,” he said, adding that with Christ we can pass “from self-centredness to communion, from desolation to consolation, from fear to confidence.”
“Why not prefer Jesus, the true light, to the glitter of wealth, career, pride and pleasure? Why not tell the empty things of this world that you no longer live for them, but for the Lord of life?” Francis asked.
The Vatican Easter Vigil Mass began with the blessing of the new fire in the atrium and the blessing of the paschal candle. The pope then processed into the dark church carrying the lit candle to signify the light of Christ coming to dispel the darkness.
“Today, let us remember how Jesus first called us, how he overcame our darkness, our resistance, our sins, and how he touched our hearts with his word,” he said.
Francis warned against having a “museum faith” instead of a living, “Easter faith.” Christ is “a person living today,” he said, not only a person from the past. “We encounter him in life.”
“Let us not keep our faces bowed to the ground in fear, but raise our eyes to the risen Christ. His gaze fills us with hope, for it tells us that we are loved unfailingly, and that however much we make a mess of things, his love remains unchanged,” he said.
Pope Francis described Christ’s love as the “one non-negotiable certitude we have in this life.”
“The Lord loves your life, even when you are afraid to look at it,” he said.
“In Easter he shows you how much he loves that life: even to the point of … experiencing anguish, abandonment, death and hell, in order to emerge triumphant to tell you: ‘You are not alone; put your trust in me!’” he continued.
During the Easter Vigil Mass, Pope Francis administered the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist – to eight people, from Italy, Ecuador, Peru, Albania, and Indonesia.
“Dear brothers and sisters: let us put the Living One at the centre of our lives,” Pope Francis said. “Let us seek him in all things and above all things. With him, we will rise again.”