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Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 7 April 2024




Dear brothers and sisters, happy Sunday!

Today, the second Sunday of Easter, dedicated by Saint John Paul II to Divine Mercy, the Gospel (cf. Jn 20:19-31) tells us that, by believing in Jesus, Son of God, we can have eternal life in his name (v. 31). “To have life”: what does it mean?

We all want to have life, but there are various ways of having it. For example, there are those who reduce existence to a frenetic race to enjoy and possess many things: to eat and drink, to enjoy themselves, to accumulate money and things, to feel strong and new emotions, and so on. It is a path that at first sight seems pleasurable, but which does not satisfy the heart. It is not in this way that one “has life”, because by following the path of pleasure and power one does not find happiness. Indeed, many aspects of existence remain unanswered, such as love, for example, the inevitable experiences of pain, of limitations and of death. And then the dream we all have in common remains unfulfilled: the hope of living forever, of being loved without end. Today the Gospel says that this fullness of life, to which every one of us is called, is realized in Jesus. It is he who gives us this fullness of life. But how can one gain access to it, how can one experience it?

Let us look at what happened to the disciples in the Gospel. They were going through the most tragic moment in life: after the days of the passion, they had shut themselves away in the Upper Room, afraid and discouraged. The Risen One comes to them and shows them his wounds (cf. v. 20): they are signs of suffering and pain. They could have stirred feelings of guilt, yet with Jesus they become channels of mercy and forgiveness. In this way, the disciples see and touch with their hands the fact that with Jesus, life always wins, and death and sin are defeated. And they receive the gift of his Spirit, which gives them a new life, as beloved sons, a life imbued with joy, love and hope. I will ask one thing: do you have hope? Each one of you, ask yourselves: “How is my hope?”

This is the way to “have life” every day: it is enough to fix one’s gaze on the crucified and risen Jesus, encountering him in the Sacraments and in prayer, recognizing that he is present, believing in him, letting oneself be touched by his grace and guided by his example, experiencing the joy of loving like him. Every encounter with Jesus, a living encounter with him, enables us to have more life. Looking for Jesus, letting ourselves be found — because he looks for us — opening our heart to the encounter with Jesus.

However, let us ask ourselves: do I believe in the power of the Resurrection of Jesus, do I believe that Jesus is risen? Do I believe in his victory over sin, fear and death? Do I let myself be drawn into a relationship with the Lord, with Jesus? And do I let myself be prompted by him to love my brothers and sisters, and to hope every day? Each one of you, think about this.

May Mary help us to have ever greater faith in Jesus, in the risen Jesus, to “have life” and to spread the joy of Easter.


After praying the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters, I would like to remember the people who died in the bus crash in South Africa a few days ago. Let us pray for them and for their families.

Yesterday was the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. We all know that practising a sport can educate in an open, solidarity-based, unprejudiced sociality. But for this we need leaders and trainers who do not aim only at victory or profit.

Let us not cease to pray for peace, a just and lasting peace, especially for martyred Ukraine and for Palestine and Israel. May the Spirit of the Risen Lord enlighten and sustain those who work to reduce tensions and encourage gestures that make negotiations possible. May the Lord give leaders the ability to pause a little in order to deliberate, to negotiate.

I greet all of you, people of Rome and pilgrims from Italy and from many countries. In particular, I greet the students of the Mar Qardakh Catholic School in Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan; and the young people of Castellón, Spain. I affectionately welcome the prayer groups who cultivate the spirituality of Divine Mercy, gathered today at the Shrine of the Holy Spirit in Sassia.

I greet “La Perosina” bowling club, the acli group from Chieti, participants in the International Conference for the abolition of surrogacy, the faithful of Modugno and Alcamo, students of the “San Giuseppe” School of Bassano del Grappa and confirmation candidates from Santarcangelo di Romagna. I greet the many Polish people here: I can see the flags!

I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci!

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