Pope Francis led Catholics into Easter at a vigil Mass on Saturday night and called on worshippers to live for God, not fleeting things such as wealth or success.
The Pontiff held the service in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and carved into a candle the number to mark the year 2019 and the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, Alpha and Omega, to signify that God is the beginning and end of all things.
Francis also delivered his homily around the Bible account of the women who went to Jesus’ tomb only to find it empty and the large stone that had sealed it had been cast away.
“God takes away even the hardest stones against which our hopes and expectations crash: death, sin, fear, worldliness,” the pontiff said.
Adding: “There is another stone that often seals the heart shut: the stone of sin. Sin seduces; it promises things easy and quick, prosperity and success, but then leaves behind only solitude and death. Sin is looking for life among the dead, for the meaning of life in things that pass away.”
Easter is the most important day in the Roman Catholic calendar, which commemorates the day believers say Jesus rose from the dead.
Pope Francis will hold a mass on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City and read the “Urbi et Orbi” (To The City and The World) message.