“Women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord, in following him and communicating his face, because the eyes of faith always need the simple and profound look of love,” he said April 3 in Saint Peter’s Square.
“This is beautiful, and this is the mission of women, of mothers and women, to give witness to their children and grandchildren that Christ is Risen,” said the Pope.
According to the Italian authorities, 50,000 people attended the audience, including a delegation of 43 people from the U.S. Senate.
About 10,000 of the pilgrims came from Milan with their archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Scola.
Pope Francis reminded the crowd that the first witnesses of Christ’s Resurrection were women.
“This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria: the first witnesses of the birth of Jesus are the shepherds, simple and humble people, the first witnesses of the Resurrection are women,” he said.
“What matters to God is our heart, if we are open to Him, if we are like trusting children,” he stated.
According to the pontiff, the disciples found it harder to believe in the risen Christ. As examples he pointed to Peter, who stopped before the empty tomb, and Thomas who had to touch the wounds of Jesus’ body.
“In our journey of faith it is important to know and feel that God loves us, do not be afraid to love: faith is professed with the mouth and heart, with the word and love,” said Pope Francis.
“Unfortunately, there have often been attempts to obscure faith in the Resurrection of Jesus, and doubts have crept in even among believers themselves,” he warned.
But this kind of faith is “watered down,” due to “superficiality, sometimes because of indifference, occupied by a thousand things considered more important than the faith, or because of a purely horizontal vision of life.”
It is “the Resurrection that gives us the greatest hope,” the Pope emphasized, “because it opens our lives and the life of the world to the eternal future of God, to full happiness, to the certainty that evil, sin, death can be defeated.”
The Pope then told young people, “you, witnesses of Christ, bring forth hope to this world that is aged by wars and sin, go forward young people!”
“Bring forth this certainty to the world: the Lord is alive and walks beside us on our life’s journey,” Pope Francis encouraged the large number of young people at the audience.
“Bring forth this hope, be anchored in this hope, the hope that comes from heaven!” he exclaimed.
During his second Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis said that women’s main role in the Church is to communicate God’s love.
General audience, Women in the Church, Pope Francis