At the Easter Vigil, Prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace, Rome (April 16, 2017)
[This section was given inEnglish]
“Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia!” The Lord has truly risen, alleluia! This is the cry, full of joy, that the Church raises to Heaven on this holy night. “Life has overcome death,” says Saint Josemaria (Holy Rosary, no. 11). Just as yesterday we saw our Lord die for each one of us, his glorious resurrection is also for each one of us. Victorious over the devil, over sin and death, he wants all men and women to share in his victory.
And to whom is this joyful message entrusted first of all? Not to the Apostles, who had fled—except for Saint John—during the Passion, leaving Jesus alone; but to that group of faithful women who, even after his death, contiue loving him with all their heart. We have heard this in the Gospel. After finding the empty tomb, an angel of the Lord tells them: “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus,who was crucified. He is not here because he has risen as he said” (Mt
28:4-5). They are asked to communicate this news to the others, and thus they become “apostles of apostles.”
We have received the same mission. During these days in Rome, it has resounded with new strength in our ears. Even humanly it is an exciting adventure. A mission that will become a reality with the power of the Holy Spirit and with our apostolic zeal. Everywhere there are so many young people, and also older people, who have never heard this message. They have to hear it from our lips, and see it reflected in our behavior.
[given in Spanish}
Christ’s Resurrection is an event documented in history. And at the same time, it is an object of our faith. As we recalled during the past few days when contemplating our Lord’s passion and death, each time that Mass is celebrated the sacrifice of the Cross is truly renewed, and the living Christ, the risen Christ truly becomes present. This is the divine way, which only God’s wisdom and omnipotence can bring about, by which each generation of Christians, until the end of time, can come into direct contact with the mystery of redemption.
How does this happen? Thanks to the sacrament of Baptism. This is what Saint Paul teaches in the letter to the Romans, as we have just heard: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:3-4).
We have to preserve and strengthen, by successive conversions, this new life, which is a sharing in God’s life. Today we are presented with the opportunity to reaffirm our decision to follow Jesus, by renewing our baptismal promises. These were made for us by our parents and godparents; or perhaps by ourselves, if we joined the Church as adults. Now our Lord waits to hear our firm, determined, generous promise to be faithful. When, in responding to the celebrant’s questions, you say that you are ready to renounce Satan and all his works and seductions, and that you believe in God the Father almighty, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit, and in the Catholic Church, do not say it just with your lips. Let the answer come from your heart! Let each and every one of us consider, when doing so, what it means specifically for me, here and now, to renounce sin and to give myself to God. Let it be a sincere answer.
It is not enough to strive personally to be good sons and daughters of God. We are all responsible for the Church’s mission, we all have to do apostolate. This is not a task for specialists. It is a divine task that now has been entrusted to us, as twenty centuries ago it was entrusted to the holy women and the first disciples.
How will we do this? With prayer. With good example. With words said in confidence to that friend, to that classmate or co-worker, who may be a good person but doesn’t practice her faith, because she is lukewarm, because she is disoriented or has followed a mistaken path, or simply because perhaps nobody has talked to her about Christ’s immense love for her.
We have the responsibility to transmit the knowledge of the faith and of God’s love to the people with whom we are in contact. It is the invitation that Jesus is directing to us now, as he did to the apostles: “Duc in altum!”—we have to put out into the deep. Those who are calculating, who are cowards or tepid can’t draw close to our Lord; but those who are sinners—as we all are— can, if they sincerely desire to leave behind their mediocrity, their lukewarmness, in order to be true apostles of our Lord.
[given in Italian]
Walk in a new life. As we conclude these days in Rome, let us ask our Lady, our Mother, to help us take this resolution seriously. Many of you can apply to yourselves in a special way some words of St. John Paul II, because you belong to the “millennial generation,” to the generation of this millennium. As the Holy Father said, when preparing the Church for the year 2000: “A new millennium is opening before the Church like a vast ocean upon which we shall venture, relying on the help of Christ. The Son of God, who became incarnate two thousand years ago out of love for humanity, is at work even today: we need discerning eyes to see this and, above all, a generous heart to become the instruments of his work” (Novo millennio ineunte, no. 58).
When many years have gone by, and future generations think about the time we are now living in, they will be able to count us among the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, if we really take our Christian vocation seriously. What a marvelous adventure! We have at our disposal the means to go forward in our resolutions: prayer, the sacrament of Penance, the Eucharist. Christ is alive. Not only does he make himself present on the altar during Mass, but he waits for us in the Tabernacle and reaches us with his all-powerful love in every circumstance. Let us go to the Tabernacle —physically if we can, and frequently with our heart— to thank him and ask him to increase our faith, our hope, our charity. Let us go, led by the hand of our Lady, Mother of God and our Mother, because as Saint Josemaría writes in The Way (no. 495): “To Jesus we always go, and to him we always return, through Mary.” Amen.
Romana, No. 64, January-June 2017, p. 125-127.