Pope Francis prays the Regina Coeli in St Peter’s Square on Easter Monday and reflects on the Gospel of St Matthew that describes the women meeting Jesus at the empty tomb.
The role of women as the first witness of the Resurrection: before praying the Regina Coeli, which takes the place of the Angelus during the Easter season, the Pope reflected on the Gospel of the day for Easter Monday, in which St Matthew takes us back to the empty tomb of Jesus.
Women the first witnesses
‘The women, full of awe and joy, are leaving in a hurry to go and bring the news to the disciples; and at that moment Jesus presents Himself before them’, said Pope Francis. The Lord tells them not to be afraid and encourages them to go and announce to their friends what has happened. ‘All the Gospels emphasize the role of women, Mary of Magdala and the others, as the first witnesses of the resurrection’, said the Pope. They were the first to meet the Risen Christ ‘and to bring the message that He was alive’.
We too called to be witnesses
Pope Francis said the words of Jesus addressed to the women resound for us today too: ‘Do not be afraid; go and proclaim...We too are called to meet Him personally and to become His heralds and witnesses’, he said. ‘The risen Jesus walks beside us’, continued Pope Francis, ‘He manifests Himself to those who call on Him and who love Him’. We meet Jesus, first of all, in prayer, said the Pope, ‘but also in simple joys lived with faith and gratitude’, sharing moments of friendship and welcome, or even contemplating nature.
The words of the Angels
Pope Francis reminded us of the words spoken to the women by the Angels at the empty tomb on that first day after the Sabbath: ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, He is risen’.
Christ’s resurrection was ‘humanly unthinkable’, said the Pope. He described it as ‘the most shocking event in human history’. But the Resurrection of Jesus is also proof of the victory of God's Love over sin and death, he said. It is what gives our hope of life ‘a rock-sold foundation’.