message

Peace in Iraq and Syria the Focus of Pope's Easter Message

05/04/2015 1:37 pm

Pope Francis

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Saint Peter's Square on Sunday morning to take part in Solemn Mass with Pope Francis as we celebrate Easter. Following Mass, the Holy Father gave his traditional Easter message and Blessing - Urbi et Orbi - to Rome and to the World.

Pope Francis urged Christians to serve one another - to be the "seeds of another humanity" - ready to help our brothers and sisters.

He prayed that the Risen Lord would "lighten the sufferings of our many brothers and sisters who are persecuted for his name, and of all those
who suffer injustice as a result of ongoing conflicts and violence."

The Holy Father then named the humanitarian tragedies that have resulted in mass death and displacement:

  • Peace between the various groups in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen and the need for the international community not to stand by watching the humanitarian disasters unfold.
  • Peace between Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land and the need to end "years of suffering and division".
  • Peace in Nigeria, South Sudan and for the various areas of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Prayer for those who have lost their lives - particularly those who died at Garissa University College in Kenya.
  • Peace and hope for Ukraine.
  • Peace and freedom for men and women subject to old and new forms of criminal enslavement.
  • That the marginalised, the imprisoned, the poor and the migrants who are so often rejected, maltreated and discarded, the sick and the suffering, children, especially those who are victims of violence hear the consoling voice of the Lord.

Official: Full Message

5 April 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Jesus Christ is risen!

Love has triumphed over hatred, life has conquered death, light has dispelled the darkness!

Out of love for us, Jesus Christ stripped himself of his divine glory, emptied himself, took on the form of a slave and humbled himself even
to death, death on a cross. For this reason God exalted him and made him Lord of the universe. Jesus is Lord!

By his death and resurrection, Jesus shows everyone the way to life and happiness: this way is humility, which involves humiliation. This is
the path which leads to glory. Only those who humble themselves can go towards the “things that are above”, towards God (cf. Col 3:1-4). The
proud look “down from above”; the humble look “up from below”.

On Easter morning, alerted by the women, Peter and John ran to the tomb. They found it open and empty. Then they drew near and “bent down” in
order to enter it. To enter into the mystery, we need to “bend down”, to abase ourselves. Only those who abase themselves understand the
glorification of Jesus and are able to follow him on his way.

The world proposes that we put ourselves forward at all costs, that we compete, that we prevail... But Christians, by the grace of Christ,
dead and risen, are the seeds of another humanity, in which we seek to live in service to one another, not to be arrogant, but rather
respectful and ready to help.

This is not weakness, but true strength! Those who bear within them God’s power, his love and his justice, do not need to employ violence;
they speak and act with the power of truth, beauty and love.

From the risen Lord we ask the grace not to succumb to the pride which fuels violence and war, but to have the humble courage of pardon and
peace. We ask Jesus, the Victor over death, to lighten the sufferings of our many brothers and sisters who are persecuted for his name, and of
all those who suffer injustice as a result of ongoing conflicts and violence.

We ask for peace, above all, for Syria and Iraq, that the roar of arms may cease and that peaceful relations may be restored among the various
groups which make up those beloved countries. May the international community not stand by before the immense humanitarian tragedy unfolding
in these countries and the drama of the numerous refugees.

We pray for peace for all the peoples of the Holy Land. May the culture of encounter grow between Israelis and Palestinians and the peace
process be resumed, in order to end years of suffering and division.

We implore peace for Libya, that the present absurd bloodshed and all barbarous acts of violence may cease, and that all concerned for the
future of the country may work to favour reconciliation and to build a fraternal society respectful of the dignity of the person. For Yemen
too we express our hope for the growth of a common desire for peace, for the good of the entire people.

At the same time, in hope we entrust to the merciful Lord the framework recently agreed to in Lausanne, that it may be a definitive step
toward a more secure and fraternal world.

We ask the risen Lord for the gift of peace for Nigeria, South Sudan and for the various areas of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the
Congo. May constant prayer rise up from all people of goodwill for those who lost their lives – I think in particular of the young people who
were killed last Thursday at Garissa University College in Kenya, for all who have been kidnapped, and for those forced to abandon their homes
and their dear ones.

May the Lord’s resurrection bring light to beloved Ukraine, especially to those who have endured the violence of the conflict of recent
months. May the country rediscover peace and hope thanks to the commitment of all interested parties.

We ask for peace and freedom for the many men and women subject to old and new forms of enslavement on the part of criminal individuals and
groups. Peace and liberty for the victims of drug dealers, who are often allied with the powers who ought to defend peace and harmony in the
human family. And we ask peace for this world subjected to arms dealers.

May the marginalized, the imprisoned, the poor and the migrants who are so often rejected, maltreated and discarded, the sick and the
suffering, children, especially those who are victims of violence; all who today are in mourning, and all men and women of goodwill, hear the
consoling voice of the Lord Jesus: “Peace to you!” (Lk 24:36). “Fear not, for I am risen and I shall always be with you” (cf. Roman Missal,
Entrance Antiphon for Easter Day).

Pope Francis