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God dreams big, wants to transform world, defeat evil, pope says


  • Pope Francis waves as he arrives for his general audience in St. Peter's Square May 17 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)
  • A nun takes a photo as Pope Francis leads his general audience in St. Peter's Square May 17 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)
  • Pope Francis greets a group of nuns as he arrives for his general audience in St. Peter's Square May 17 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)
  • Relatives of the victims of the avalanche that hit Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, Italy, hold portraits of family members as Pope Francis leads his general audience in St. Peter's Square May 17 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)
  • Pope Francis arrives for his general audience in St. Peter's Square May 17 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- God is right by the side of each person on earth, seeing each individual's pain and wanting to bring hope and joy, Pope Francis said.

"He calls us by name and tells us, 'Rise up, stop weeping, because I have come to free you,'" the pope said May 17 at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.

The pope continued his series of talks on Christian hope by looking at the Gospel of John's account of St. Mary Magdalene visiting Jesus' tomb.

She was the first to go to the tomb after his burial, he said, pointing out that the same love and loyalty can be seen today in the many women who head to the cemetery, visiting their dearly departed for years, showing how not even death can break the bonds of love.

In Mary Magdalene's case, however, she experienced not only the sadness of Christ's death, but also the discovery that his body had disappeared, the pope said.

Just as she is weeping near the tomb, "God surprises her in the most unexpected way," the pope said, even though she is stubbornly "blind" to recognizing the two angels and the Risen Christ.

Eventually, he said, "she discovers the most earth-shattering event in human history when she is finally called by name."

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