VATICAN CITY — Simple gestures of welcome and solidarity, when supported by faith in Jesus' resurrection, proclaim the value of life, Pope Francis said.
Being "men and women of the resurrection, men and women of life" involves making "gestures of solidarity, gestures of welcome, increasing the universal desire for peace and the aspiration for an environment free of degradation," the pope said April 17 before reciting the "Regina Coeli" prayer.
On the Easter Monday public holiday, thousands of Italians and tourists gathered in St. Peter's Square at noon to join the pope for the Easter-season Marian prayer, which begins, "Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia."
Pope Francis told the crowd that the message of the angel to the women at the tomb, "Go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead,'" is directed to believers today as well.
Christians, he said, are called "to proclaim to the men and women of our time this message of joy and hope."
Jesus' resurrection means "the last word isn't the tomb, it is not death, it is life," the pope said. "This is why we repeat so often, 'Christ is risen.' In him the tomb was vanquished. Life was born."
Mary, "silent witness of the death and resurrection of her son Jesus," can help believers be clearer signs of his love and life in the world "so that those experiencing tribulation and difficulty do not become victims of pessimism and defeat or resignation, but find in us brothers and sisters who offer support and consolation," Pope Francis said.
The pope ended his remarks affirming that Mary intercedes particularly on behalf of those "Christian communities who are persecuted and oppressed in many parts of the world and are called to a more difficult and courageous witness."