During his ‘urbi et orbi’  Easter blessing, Pope Francis said: “The words heard by the women at the tomb are also addressed to us: ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.

“By the power of God’s love” [Jesus’s victory over death] “dispels wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord and brings down the mighty,” the Pope said, quoting the formal Easter proclamation.

“This is precisely what happened: Jesus, the grain of wheat sowed by God in the furrows of the earth, died, killed by the sin of the world.

“He remained two days in the tomb; but his death contained God’s love in all its power, released and made manifest on the third day, the day we celebrate today: the Easter of Christ the Lord.”         

No to ritual sacrifice of children

Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, said that “only the blood of Jesus is capable of saving us… Know that you will render an account for the blood that you pour out.”

The cardinal was preaching to nearly 5,000 people at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week. His words have to be understood in the context of a country where since the beginning of the year, there have been three confirmed cases of child sacrifice. A five-year-old child was killed after a witch doctor promised that a child sacrifice would make the murderer extremely wealthy.

Don’t marginalise people with autism

In a message for World Autism Awareness Day, Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, urged faith communities to have meaningful encounters with those who have autism, and with their families, in opposition to a culture of exclusion.

Turkson said it is important that governments, institutions, and the entire community “work to respond adequately to the needs of people with autism spectrum disorders.

“In this way, the culture of encounter and solidarity will be fostered in spite of that of exclusion and of waste, which instead relegates them to the margins of society.”

Turkson said that it is estimated that one in every 160 children will be affected by autism, requiring an even greater commitment on the part of Christians to providing an adequate response.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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