FRANCIS – EASTER 2017 •
During Easter Sunday Mass celebrated in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis broke with tradition and gave a homily that reflected closely on the dramas at play in the world today: ” Let us think a little about our daily problems, the illnesses that each one of us or one of our family members have experienced,” Francis said, and then he asked: “What does the Church say to us today in the light of so many tragedies? Simply this: the stone that was rejected is not really discarded.” The Pope added: “The small stones that create and are joined to this stone are not thrown away, they have a meaning.” Easter is not a “celebration of many flowers, this is beautiful, but it is much more,” he said. “It is the Mystery of the discarded stone that became the cornerstone of our existence. Christ is Risen! It means that in our throw away culture, where things that are no longer useful are “used and thrown away”…this stone that was rejected is the source of life. Similarly, our small stones in this land of pain, tragedy have a meaning, if we have faith in the resurrected Christ.”
Happy Easter, discarded stones…in the Church, in Schoenstatt, in the past and the present. Happy Easter, stones discarded by illness, poverty, offenses, for being pioneers, for being prophets, for thinking “out of the box,” for offending….
On Easter morning the news arrived that Robert W. Taylor had died. Taylor who? Taylor, a computer engineer who started designing network computers in 1966 and developed ARPANET, the precursor of what we know today as the Internet. In 1969, he was already talking about a virtually connected world where human beings would communicate via their computers and would find information on “the net.” Many people laughed at him….at this architect and pioneer of the world we know today as the age of the Internet. Today we speak about Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. The pioneers were the “discarded stones” like Taylor, like Tim Berners-Lee, who created the World Wide Web (WWW), Larry Roberts who created the prototype of what would later become the Net, Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn, who implemented the protocol of the Internet TCP/IP, the computer language used on the Internet today….discarded stones, cornerstones.
We can add so many more names. Joseph Kentenich was also a “discarded stone” in his time, discarded by this church…Happy Easter, discarded stones.
Complete text of Pope Francis’ spontaneous homily on Easter Sunday
Today the Church repeats, sings, shouts: Jesus is risen! But how can this be? Peter, John and the women went to the tomb and it was empty, but He was not there. They went with their hearts closed in sadness, the sadness of defeat. The Master, their Master whom they loved so much was tried and killed and nobody comes back from the dead. This is defeat. Their journey to the tomb is the journey of defeat. But the Angel said to them: He is not here, he is risen. The first announcement. He has risen!
After the confusion, the closed heart, the apparitions, they were locked away all day in the cenacle for fear that the same thing that had happened to Jesus would happen to them. And the Church does not stop saying to our weaknesses, our closed and fearful hearts: Behold! The Lord is Risen! But if the Lord is risen, why do all these things happen? Why is there so much tragedy, sickness, human trafficking and the trade of people, war, destruction, mutilation, revenge, hatred…where is the Lord?
Yesterday I telephoned a young man with a serious illness. He was an educated young man, an engineer. As I was speaking to him to give him a sign of faith, I told him: there are no explanations for what is happening to you. Look at Jesus, at the cross. God did this with his own son, there is no other explanation. He answered me: Yes. But if he asked the Son and the Son said yes. But nobody asked me if I wanted this, and I did not say yes. This moves us. None of us has asked if we are happy about what is happening in the world, if we are prepared to carry this cross…and the cross remains and our faith in Jesus weakens. This is why the Church continues to say: Jesus is risen! And this is not a fairy tale. Christ’s resurrection is not a celebration with flowers; it is something more. It is the Mystery of the discarded stone that became the cornerstone of our existence. Christ is Risen! It means that in our throw away culture, where things that are no longer useful are “used and thrown away” and everything that does not work is thrown away; this stone that was rejected is the source of life. Similarly, our small stones in this land of pain, tragedy have a meaning, if we have faith in the resurrected Christ. In the midst of so many tragedies, without looking further, instead of a wall, there is a horizon. Here there is life, here there is glory, the cross is in this ambiguity. Look beyond. Do not close yourselves. Your small stone has a meaning in your life because you are a stone taken from that great stone that the evil of sin has rejected.
What does the Church say to us today in the light of so many tragedies? Simply this: the stone that was rejected is not really discarded. The small stones that create and are joined to this stone are not thrown away, they have a meaning. With this sentiment, the Church repeats from deep within the heart: Christ is risen!
Let us think a little about our daily problems, the illnesses that each one of us or one of our family members have experienced; let us think about the wars and the human tragedies, and simply with a humble voice, without flowers, alone before God, alone with ourselves. I do not know what is going to happen but I am certain that Christ is risen and I put my faith in that. Brothers and sisters, that is what I wanted to say to you. Return home today and repeat in your hearts: Christ is risen!
Original: Spanish. Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Cape Town, South Africa