MASS OF THE DAY
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
Saint Peter's Square
Easter Sunday, 1 April 2018
After listening to the Word of God from this Gospel passage, there are three things that I would like to say.
First: the announcement. There is an announcement: the Lord has risen; that announcement which traveled by word of mouth ever since the early days of Christianity: it was a greeting: The Lord has risen. And the women who went to anoint the Lord’s body were met by a surprise. The surprise.... God’s announcements always bring surprises because our God is the God of surprises. It has been like this from the beginning of salvation history; ever since our father Abraham. God surprises you: “Just go, go, leave your land and go”. And one surprise always follows another. God is not able to make an announcement without surprising us. And the surprise is what moves your heart, what touches you in the very place you do not expect. To use the language of young people: the surprise is a low blow; you do not expect it. And he goes and moves you. First: the surprising announcement.
Second: haste. The women run, they hasten to say: “But we have found this!”. God’s surprises place us on a journey, immediately, without delay. And so they run to see. Peter and John run. The shepherds on that Christmas night run: “Let us go to Bethlehem to see what the angels have told us”. And the Samaritan woman runs to tell her people: “This is the news: I found a man who told me everything I have done”. And the people know the things that the woman has done. And those people run; they leave what they are doing, even the housewife leaves the potatoes in the pot — she will find them burnt [on her return] — but the important thing is to go, to run in order to see that surprise, that announcement. It still happens today. In our neighbourhoods, in the villages, when something extraordinary happens, people run to see; they go in haste. Andrew wasted no time and went in haste to tell Peter: “we have found the Messiah”. Surprises, good news are always announced in this manner: in haste. There is a person in the Gospel who takes his time. He does not want to take risks. But the Lord is good. He awaits him with love. It is Thomas. “I will believe when I see the wounds” he says. The Lord also has patience for those who are in no hurry.
The surprising announcement, the hastened response, and the third thing I wish to mention to you today is a question: “What about me? Do I have a heart that is open to God’s surprises; am I capable of going in haste or do I persist with the refrain: “well, I’ll see tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow?”. What does the surprise tell me? John and Peter hastened to the sepulchre. The Gospel said that John “believed”. Peter also “believed”, but in his own way; with his faith somewhat clouded by regret for having denied the Lord. The surprising announcement, the running, the hastening and the question: And what do I do on this Easter Day 2018? What do you do?
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