Today is a national holiday in Italy and is known as Pasquetta, Little Easter, and also Monday of the Angel. As you will see, Pope Francis explains this expression at today’s Regina Coeli, the prayer that substitutes the Angelus from Easter Sunday to Pentecost.
Pasquetta is usually a day dedicated to family activities, big dinner or picnic gatherings and to people gathering St. Peter’s Square for the Pope’s Regina Coeli. However, today is the final day of a three-day red zone Easter lockdown which means just about everything you can think of is closed, and lots of things are banned, such as family picnics in city parks or beaches, and people gathering in St. Peter’s and other squares. etc. Churches, thank the Lord, have been open for months now and no new restrictions were imposed during Lent or the Easter vigil.
Today’s Regina Coeli reflections do not take much time to read and, as they are so beautiful and profound, I bring you the papal remarks almost in their entirety. He did adlib in a few places, saying some phrases were so important, we must repeat them.
After you read those reflections, you will absolutely want to watch this EWTN video posted in Instagram: EWTN on Instagram: “In a small museum just steps from the Vatican there is an incredible artifact – an original negative photographic plate, taken of the…”
MONDAY OF THE ANGEL, POPE RECITES REGINA COELI
Dear brothers and sisters, buongiorno!
The Monday after Easter is also called the Monday of the Angel because we recall the meeting of the angel with the women who arrived at Jesus’s tomb (see Mt 28:1-15). The angel said to them: “I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen (vv. 5-6). This expression “He has risen” goes beyond human capacity. Even the women who had gone to the tomb and had found it open and empty could not confirm “He has risen”, but only that the tomb was empty. Only an angel could say that Jesus had risen, just as only an angel had been able to say to Mary: “you will conceive son, [….] and he will be called the Son of the Most High” (Lk 1:31-32). (photo vaticannews)
Matthew the evangelist narrates that on Easter morning “there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat on it” (see v. 2). That large stone, that was supposed to be the seal of the victory of evil and death, was put underfoot, it becomes the footstool of the angel of the Lord. All of the plans and defenses of Jesus’s enemies and persecutors were in vain. The image of the angel sitting on the stone before the tomb is the concrete, visible manifestation of God’s victory over evil, of Christ’s victory over the prince of this world, of light over darkness. Jesus’ tomb was not opened by a physical phenomenon, but by the Lord’s intervention. The angel’s appearance, Matthew continues, “was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. (v. 3). These details are symbols that confirm the intervention of God himself, bearer of a new era, of the last times of history.
There is a twofold reaction in beholding this intervention on God’s part. That of the guards who cannot face the overwhelming power of God and are shaken by an interior earthquake: they became like dead men (see v. 4). The power of the Resurrection overthrows those who had been used to guarantee the apparent victory of death. The women’s reaction is very different because they are expressly invited by the angel of the Lord not to be afraid– “Do not be afraid!” (v. 5) – and not to seek Jesus in the tomb.
We can reap a precious teaching from the angel’s words: we should never tire of seeking the risen Christ who gives life in abundance to those who meet him. To find Christ means to discover peace of heart. The same women of the Gospel, after initially being shaken, experience great joy in discovering the Master alive (see vv. 8-9). In this Easter Season, my wish is that everyone might have the same spiritual experience, welcoming in our hearts, in our homes and in our families the joyful proclamation of Easter: “Christ, having risen from the dead dies now no more; death will no longer have dominion over him” (Communion Antiphon).
This certainty moves us to pray today and throughout the Easter Season: “Regina Caeli, Laetare – Queen of Heaven, rejoice”. The angel Gabriel had greeted her thus the first time: “Rejoice, full of grace!” (see Lk 1:28). Now Mary’s joy is complete: Jesus lives, Love has conquered. May this be our joy as well!