Pope: Closed hearts unable to be surprised by the Resurrection

Pope Francis greeted a young choir member at his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on April 19.

VATICAN CITY — Christian faith is a grace and can be perceived only in the hearts of those willing to be surprised by the joy of the Resurrection, Pope Francis said.

"A closed heart, a rationalistic heart" is incapable of understanding the Christian message which has God's love — manifested in Christ's victory over death — at its center, the pope said at his weekly general audience April 19.

An empty tomb and a bodily resurrection: why it matters

A life-size depiction of Jesus being laid in the tomb is seen April 9 in the Stations of the Cross on the grounds of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass.

WASHINGTON — Catholics and other Christians have grown up believing in the Resurrection, but the apostles themselves were among the first who were skeptical that Jesus arose from the dead.

They didn't believe it at first when they were told by the women who had come to anoint the crucified Jesus' body but instead found an empty tomb.

POPE’S MESSAGE | All Souls feast is a hopeful reminder of the resurrection

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Rome’s Prima Porta cemetery Nov. 2, the feast of All Souls.

VATICAN CITY — Visiting a cemetery on the feast of All Souls can evoke feelings of loss and sadness, but for Christians marking the feast, it also is an affirmation of hope in the resurrection, Pope Francis said.

Through His death on the cross, Jesus "opened for us the door of hope where we will contemplate God," the pope said Nov. 2 at an evening Mass amid the tombs of Rome's Prima Porta cemetery.

"The hope of the resurrection never fails us," the pope said. "The first one who walked this path was Jesus. We will walk the path He has walked."

FAITH AND CULTURE | Living in the Resurrection

F. Javier Orozco

A blessing and challenge of our culture is how rapidly people move from one event to another with relative ease and indifference. A variety of secular and religious rituals enter and depart in rhythmic fashion, each evoking different euphoric responses. Sports fans happily welcome the baseball season and leave behind fascination with March Madness. Movie watchers attentively watch the Oscars, even as they anticipate the upcoming summer blockbuster movies.

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Keeping the mystery of the Resurrection alive in our hearts

Bishop Robert J. Hermann

On Sunday, March 27, we celebrate the greatest feast day of the year. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is both a specific past event, and an ongoing mystery. Mary Magdalene, Peter and John gave witness to the historical event of the Resurrection, but we give witness to the ongoing mystery.

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb on Easter morning when it is still dark to be near the body of the person who had changed her life so drastically by casting out seven demons.

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Reexamine the past year in light of Jesus' Resurrection

Bishop Robert J. Hermann

In the Easter Gospel, Mary of Magdala, Peter and John were stunned, confused, bewildered and perplexed when they found the tomb empty. Even though Christ had told them that He would rise from the dead, His words at that time were incomprehensible. The apostles had no previous experiences to which they could connect His words.

The revelation about His Resurrection is about to explode in their consciousness. John, the beloved disciple and the contemplative, is the first to comprehend. When he entered the tomb, "he saw and believed."

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