Pope Francis urges people to find hope and joy in a world ravaged by darkness, war

Difficult world marked by darkness, war, indifference and an uncertain future, this is how Pope Francis described the present reality during the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter at Saint Peter’s Basilica on Saturday evening.

The celebration started with the evocative rite of the blessing of fire at the entrance of the Basilica followed by the candlelight procession while Lumen Christi was sung, and the Basilica lights came on in all their brilliance.

The celebration also included the baptism and confirmation of eight catechumens from Albania, the United States, Nigeria, Italy, and Venezuela.

In his homily, Pope Francis emphasized how the women who visited Jesus’ tomb and found it empty underwent an incredible experience that marked a passage from immense sorrow over Jesus’ death to experiencing utter amazement over the Lord’s resurrection.

He noted how this journey from sadness to indescribable joy is one to which we are all called.

The Pope observed that sometimes we can get overwhelmed with sorrow when we only see the present in terms of tombs of disappointment, bitterness, or dismay, believing nothing can change. He further noted how disillusionment can lead to the wellspring of hope drying up within us.

However, the women at Easter became immediately transformed by their experience of the empty tomb and the Lord’s resurrection, the Pope explained. They ran away quickly, in part fearful but overwhelmed by joy, to tell the disciples about the news “that will change life and history forever: Christ is risen!”

The Pope emphasized that the Lord’s resurrection motivates us to go forward in hope and joy, to “roll away the stone of the tombs in which we often imprison our hope” with full confidence for the future since Christ is risen and “changed the direction of history.”

“Remember and keep moving forward,” the Pope said, “and rediscover the grace of God’s resurrection within you!”

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