By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis on Monday urged Christians to build fraternity, saying only fraternity can guarantee lasting peace, defeat poverty, extinguish tensions and wars, and eradicate corruption and crime.
Speaking to thousands of pilgrims and faithful gathered in in St. Peter’s Square for the midday “Regina Coeli” prayer, the Pope said fraternity lived by the first Christians is also needed today.
“He is risen” - shocking
Easter Monday, which is celebrated as ‘Pasquetta’ or ‘Little Easter’ holiday in Italy, is also called “Monday of the Angel”, after the Gospel episode of the angel in the empty tomb of Jesus.
The Pope said that the words “He is risen” spoken by the angel to the women, could be uttered only by “a superior being to communicate a reality so shocking, so incredible, that perhaps no man would dare to pronounce it.” The community of disciples later began to repeat it.
Fraternity builds common good, social justice
Pope Francis noted that after Easter, on Monday of the Angel, we feel the need to reunite and celebrate with our loved ones and friends. By rising again from death, the Pope explained, Jesus broke down the wall of division between men, restored peace, and began weaving the fabric of a new fraternity. The Holy Father underscored the importance of rediscovering fraternity in our time, just as it was lived in the early Christian communities.
The Pope said, “There cannot be a true communion and a commitment to the common good and social justice without fraternity and sharing.” “Without fraternal sharing, an authentic ecclesial or civil community cannot be created: there can only be a group of individuals motivated by their own interests,” the Pope warned.
Dialogue and relationship
The Resurrection of Christ, the Pope said, has made the novelty of dialogue and of the relationship explode in the world, a novelty that has become “a responsibility for Christians”. He recalled Jesus telling that the world would come know they were his disciples from their love for one another.
This is why, the Pope explained, we cannot close ourselves in our privacy, in our group, but we are called to take care of the common good, to take care of our brothers, especially the weakest and most marginalized. Only fraternity, the Pope stressed, can guarantee lasting peace, defeat poverty, extinguish tensions and wars, and can eradicate corruption and crime.
The Pope concluded urging all to implore the Virgin Mary help all make fraternity and communion their lifestyle and the soul of their relationships.
Witnesses of peace
After reciting the “Regina Coeli” and imparting his blessing, Pope Francis greeted various groups from Italy and around the world present in the square. He exhorted them to be witnesses of the peace of the risen Lord especially to the “most fragile and disadvantaged” people. In this regard, he reminded them about the World Autism Awareness Day observed on April 2.
The Holy Father also invoked peace on the entire world, especially on populations suffering because of ongoing conflicts. He renewed his appeal for those kidnapped or unjustly denied their liberty, that they be released and be allowed to return to their homes.