Dear Brothers and Sisters: this morning I wish to reflect on Christian hope and the reality of death, a reality which our modern world so often leaves us unprepared to face. Past civilizations had the courage to face death, and older generations taught the younger to see that inescapable event as a call to live for something enduring, greater than themselves. For our days, no matter how many they are, pass like a breath. It is Jesus, however, that ultimately helps us to confront this mystery. He shows us that it is natural to mourn the loss of a loved one. For he too wept at Lazarus’ death. But he did not only mourn; he also prayed to the Father and called Lazarus from the tomb. Here is our Christian hope: Jesus has come to heal us, to save us from death. He says: “I am the resurrection and the life” (Jn 11:25); if we believe in him, even if we die, we will live. In the face of our sorrow, Jesus invites us to faith in him. This is our hope: when we mourn, we know that Christ remains always close to us. And one day, when we too face death, we will hear Jesus’s voice: “I say to you, arise” (Mk 5:41).
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, China, Ghana, Lesotho, the Philippines, and the United States of America. May Jesus Christ strengthen you and your families in faith and make you witnesses of hope to the world, especially to those who mourn. May God bless you all!