Pope prays people will experience, share Easter joy

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Pope Francis waves to visitors and pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican as he prepares to lead the recitation of the "Regina Coeli" prayer April 1, 2024. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Like the women disciples who discovered Jesus had risen from the dead and ran to tell the others, Christians should be filled with such joy at Easter that they cannot help sharing it with others, Pope Francis said.

“The resurrection of Jesus is not just wonderful news or the happy ending of a story, but something that changes our lives completely and forever,” the pope said April 1 as he led the midday recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer.

Beginning by wishing visitors in St. Peter’s Square a “Happy Easter,” the pope said the joy of the Resurrection is beyond any other joy because “it is the victory of life over death, hope over despondency.”

“Jesus broke through the darkness of the tomb and lives forever. His presence can fill anything with light,” the pope said. “With him, every day becomes a step in an eternal journey, every ‘today’ can hope for a ‘tomorrow,’ every end a new beginning, every instant is projected beyond the limits of time, toward eternity.”

Pope Francis prayed that the peace and hope that flow from the Resurrection would “reach those places where there is greatest need: the people exhausted by war, by hunger, by every form of oppression.”

The Risen Lord told the women and tells Christians today, “Do not be afraid,” he said. “And if Jesus, the conqueror of sin, fear and death, tells us not to fear, then let us not be afraid, let us not settle into a hopeless life, let us not give up the joy of Easter!”

The women’s joy came from encountering the Risen Jesus and sharing the news with others, he said. “So, let us hasten to seek him in the Eucharist, in his forgiveness, in prayer and in lived charity.”

“Joy increases when it is shared,” he said. “Let us share the joy of Risen One.”

Cindy Wooden

Cindy Wooden is a journalist with Catholic News Service.