2. How could we not note the glaring contrast between the invitation to mercy and forgiveness echoing in today's liturgy and the violence of the tragic conflicts which are soaking the Balkan region in blood? May peace prevail at last! Here I renew the appeal dictated not only by faith but first of all by reason: may people be able to live together in harmony in their lands; may weapons be silenced and dialogue resumed!
My thoughts turn constantly to those who are suffering the harsh consequences of the war and I pray the risen Lord, the Prince of Peace, to give us the gift of his peace.
3. I would like to invite all believers to intensify their prayer for peace, because God offers what sometimes seems almost humanly impossible to those who request it as a gift of his mercy.
For this reason, let us invoke the intercession of Blessed Mary. Mother of Mercy, we pray to you to help us set out courageously on the way of love and peace.
After praying the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father said:
Today, as I have just said, the Orthodox Churches are celebrating Holy Easter. I join our Orthodox brothers and sisters in joyful prayer and offer them my heartfelt good wishes. May the peace Christ announced to his disciples on the day of his Resurrection always be effective among believers. At this time my thoughts turn, in particular, to those who are suffering from the war. May the hope for peace sustain them in this harsh trial and make them more and more the artisans of a coexistence that respects the rights of each individual and is marked by fraternal solidarity.
I extend a special greeting to the Marthoma Christians from the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Churches, who today celebrate the appearance of the risen Lord to the Apostle St Thomas. I pray that almighty God will continue to bless your communities with vigorous faith and generosity in works of charity.
I affectionately greet all the pilgrims present, particularly the faithful from the parishes of St Ambrose of Grion in Trebaseleghe, Padua, of St Mary and St Anthony Marostica in the Diocese of Vicenza, as well as the confirmands from St Symphorosa Parish in Bagni di Tivoli. I also greet the group of "Italian Restaurateurs Abroad".
I extend a special welcome to the young people who have gathered from various Italian regions to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Youth Tourist Centre. In 1949, the young people of Catholic Action founded this apostolic initiative to promote tourism that would be a source of spiritual enrichment. This is what I also hope today, as I cordially bless you all.
JOHN PAUL II
Sunday, 7 April 2002
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. "Peace be with you!" This is how Jesus greets his Apostles in the Gospel for this Sunday, that closes the Octave of Easter. At this time this greeting has a special impact on our hearts on account of the worrisome continuation of the clashes in the Holy Land. This is the reason why I asked all the children of the Church to offer today a simultaneous and insistent prayer for peace.
2. Peace is the gift of God. The Creator himself has written the law of respect for life on the human heart: "If anyone sheds the blood of a man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has he made man", is said in Genesis (9,6). When the merciless logic of arms prevails everywhere, only God can redirect hearts to thoughts of peace. Only he can give the energies that are necessary to be freed from hatred and the thirst for revenge and to undertake the process of negotiation for an agreement and for peace.
How is it possible to forget that, following Abraham's example, Israelis and Palestinians believe in the one God? To him, whom Jesus revealed as the merciful Father, the common prayer of Christians is raised, who repeat with St Francis of Assisi, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace".
At this time, my thoughts go especially to the Franciscan, Greek-Orthodox, and Armenian Orthodox communities who are passing through difficult moments in the Basilica of the Nativity. I assure everyone of my constant prayer.
3. The liturgy today invites us to see in Divine Mercy the source of that authentic peace that the risen Christ offers us. The wounds of the risen and glorious Lord are the permanent sign of God's merciful love for humanity. From them flows a spiritual light that enlightens consciences and pours into hearts comfort and hope.
In this complicated and difficult hour we repeat "Jesus, I trust in you", knowing that we need that Divine Mercy that more than a half century ago the Lord so generously manifested to St Faustina Kowalska. Wherever trials and difficulties are harsher, may the invocation of the Risen Lord be more insistent and may prayer for the gift of his Holy Spirit, source of love and peace, be more heartfelt.
4. Let us entrust our prayer to Mary, whom we will remember in a special way tomorrow, on the liturgical feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. The mystery of the conception of Jesus in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, reminds us that human life, assumed by Christ, is inviolable from its first instant. Contemplation of the mystery leads us to renew the commitment to love, welcome and serve life. This is a commitment that unites believers and unbelievers alike because "the defence and promotion of life are not the monopoly of anyone, but the task and responsibility of all" (Evangelium vitae, n. 91).
May the Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, who at the message of the angel conceived the Incarnate Word help us to respect life always and to promote peace everywhere.
Feast of Divine Mercy
Pope John Paul II died peacefully on the evening of 2 April, 9: 37 p.m. Rome time. The last gift of the Holy Father for Divine Mercy Sunday, 3 April (also the Second Sunday of Easter), was the Regina Caeli, read by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, at the end of the Holy Mass celebrated that day in St Peter's Square for the deceased Pope. "I have been charged", Archbishop Sandri said, "to read you the text that was prepared in accordance with his explicit instructions by the Holy Father John Paul II. I am deeply honoured to do so, but also filled with nostalgia".
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. Today the glorious Alleluia of Easter resounds. Today's Gospel from John emphasizes that on the evening of that day he appeared to the Apostles and "showed them his hands and his side" (John 20: 20), that is, the signs of the painful passion with which his Body was indelibly stamped, even after the Resurrection. Those glorious wounds, which he allowed doubting Thomas to touch eight days later, reveal the mercy of God who "so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (John 3: 16).
This mystery of love is at the heart of the liturgy today, the Second Sunday of Easter, dedicated to the devotion of Divine Mercy.
2. As a gift to humanity, which sometimes seems bewildered and overwhelmed by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, the Risen Lord offers his love that pardons, reconciles and reopens hearts to love. It is a love that converts hearts and gives peace. How much the world needs to understand and accept Divine Mercy!
Lord, who reveal the Father's love by your death and Resurrection, we believe in you and confidently repeat to you today: Jesus, I trust in you, have mercy upon us and upon the whole world.
3. The liturgical solemnity of the Annunciation that we will be celebrating tomorrow urges us to contemplate with Mary's eyes the immense mystery of this merciful love that flows from the Heart of Christ. With her help, we will be able to understand the true meaning of Easter joy that is based on this certainty: the One whom the Virgin bore in her womb, who suffered and died for us, is truly risen. Alleluia!
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homilies of Saint John Paul II, so that they could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
4 May 2014
See what really happened on the 1st Pentecost > Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11
Third Sunday of Easter, First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 2:14, 22-33
On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘Men of Israel, listen to what I am going to say: Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God by the miracles and portents and signs that God worked through him when he was among you, as you all know.
This man, who was put into your power by the deliberate intention and foreknowledge of God, you took and had crucified by men outside the Law.
You killed him, but God raised him to life, freeing him from the pangs of Hades; for it was impossible for him to be held in its power since, as David says of him:
I saw the Lord before me always, for with him at my right hand nothing can shake me.
So my heart was glad and my tongue cried out with joy;
my body, too, will rest in the hope that you will not abandon my soul to Hades
nor allow your holy one to experience corruption.
You have made known the way of life to me, you will fill me with gladness through your presence.
‘Brothers, no one can deny that the patriarch David himself is dead and buried: his tomb is still with us. But since he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn him an oath to make one of his descendants succeed him on the throne, what he foresaw and spoke about was the resurrection of the Christ: he is the one who was not abandoned to Hades, and whose body did not experience corruption.
God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. Now raised to the heights by God’s right hand, he has received from the Father the Holy Spirit, who was promised, and what you see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit.’