MANILA, April 1, 2013—Pope Francis on Easter Sunday urged all Christians to allow themselves be transformed by the power of love of the Risen Jesus and become instruments of justice and peace in the world.
In the first urbi et orbi message of his pontificate, Pope Francis invited everyone to open their hearts to the grace of Christ’s resurrection and be renewed by his mercy.
“Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish,” he said.
Saying it was a joy for him to announce the message of the resurrection, he exhorted the multitude of pilgrims gathered at St. Peter’s Square on Easter morning to proclaim the same message of hope “to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons …”
“Most of all, I would like it to enter every heart, for it is there that God wants to sow this Good News: Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no longer in the power of sin, of evil! Love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious!”
The Holy Father urged everyone to pray for peace in the world, and “ask the risen Jesus, who turns death into life, to change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace.”
He prayed that peace may descend to countries torn by conflict and violence especially in the Middle East, in Africa and Asia.
The pope prayed for end to the protracted conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, for peace in Iraq and for the people of Syria, who are “torn by conflict and for the many refugees who await help and comfort.”
He also prayed that unity and stability may again return in Mali, as well as in Nigeria where innocent people fall victims to violent attacks of terrorist groups.
Lamenting the loss of lives and displacement of families who are forced to leave their homes and lived as refugees in other countries due to violence, the pope prayed for peace especially in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Central African Republic.
He also prayed for the cessation of hostilities in the Korean peninsula that “may disagreements be overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow.”
Noting how humanity’s “greed” and “selfishness” brought so much division and unpeace in the world, the pope prayed for peace in the world “still divided by greed looking for easy gain, wounded by the selfishness which threatens human life and the family, selfishness that continues in human trafficking, the most extensive form of slavery in this twenty-first century.”
He prayed that peace may reign in the whole world, “torn apart by violence linked to drug trafficking and by the iniquitous exploitation of natural resources,” and that “the risen Jesus bring comfort to the victims of natural disasters and make us responsible guardians of creation.”
Pope Francis concluded his message by asking the pilgrims to take to their families and nations “the message of joy, of hope and peace” that Easter brings. (CBCPNews)