Visitors hold up a flag from Peru in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March 26, 2023. According to Vatican police, some 35,000 people gathered in the square to join Pope Francis in praying the Angelus. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
Jesus can offer everyone hope and new life, Pope Francis said.
"Let yourself be pulled out" by Jesus during "these bad moments that happen to us all," the pope said before praying the Angelus with some 35,000 visitors gathered in St. Peter's Square March 26.
In his talk, Francis reflected on the day's Gospel reading from St. John in which Jesus weeps and prays at Lazarus' tomb then calls to him to "Come out," bringing him back to life.
"The message is clear: Jesus gives life even when it seems that all hope has gone," the pope said.
Like the stone sealing shut Lazarus' tomb, he said, there are "moments when life seems to be a sealed tomb: everything is dark and around us we see only sorrow and despair."
But Jesus' miracle at the tomb teaches "this is not the end, that in these moments we are not alone; on the contrary, it is precisely in these moments that he comes closer than ever to restore life to us," the pope said.
Even though Jesus wept for his friend's death, the pope said, he also asked that the tomb be opened and that Lazarus, "Come out!" showing that Jesus "invites us not to stop believing and hoping, not to let ourselves be crushed by negative feelings."
"Jesus says this to us, too. Take away the stone: the pain, the mistakes, even the failures, do not hide them inside you, in a dark, lonely, closed room. Take away the stone: draw out everything that is inside" without fear, the pope said.
Jesus "will not be outraged," he said, because he always says, "I am with you, I care about you, and I want you to start living again" by getting back on the right path with renewed confidence.