But the women did not allow themselves to be paralyzed, the pope observed.
"Jesus, like a seed buried in the ground, was about to make new life blossom in the world; and these women, by prayer and love, were helping to make that hope flower," he said. "How many people, in these sad days, have done and are still doing what those women did, sowing seeds of hope! With small gestures of care, affection and prayer."
The pope said that the Resurrection gave believers a fundamental right: "the right to hope". This is not mere optimism, he explained, but a gift from heaven.
He then referred to signs currently displayed in windows throughout Italy which proclaim "Andrà tutto bene" ("All will be well").
"Over these weeks, we have kept repeating, 'All will be well', clinging to the beauty of our humanity and allowing words of encouragement to rise up from our hearts," he said.
"But as the days go by and fears grow, even the boldest hope can dissipate. Jesus' hope is different. He plants in our hearts the conviction that God is able to make everything work unto good, because even from the grave he brings life."
He urged listeners undergoing suffering not to give in to despair.
He said: "Dear sister, dear brother, even if in your heart you have buried hope, do not give up: God is greater. Darkness and death do not have the last word. Be strong, for with God nothing is lost!"
More than 107,000 people had died from COVID-19 worldwide as of April 11, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.