In Pope Francis' Easter message, he told listeners to cling to faith amid wars and hatred. He encouraged people to be steadfast and to hold on to their faith even though there are wars, sickness, and hatred in the world. People wonder where God is when they are experiencing so much evil and suffering. His Saturday night message and his Good Friday message were filled with some of the same themes about suffering in a world where bad things happen.

Broke from tradition

The arrangements for the service were different this year. During previous years, the pope didn't give a homily during the morning Mass.

Pope Francis usually saves his message for a noonday service from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica where he delivers a message to the city and to the world.

This Easter Sunday morning, the Mass was celebrated on the steps leading to St. Peter's Basilica instead of from the central balcony. Pope Francis didn't follow his previous years' tradition. Instead, he delivered an impromptu message to address the question that many people are asking. They wonder why so many tragedies and wars are going on in the world today if Christ has risen from the dead. After all, that's the reason Christians celebrate Easter each year.

Tragedies in the world today

Pope Francis cited that in the world today people are facing all sorts of tragedies including accidents, illnesses, human trafficking, revenge, and hatred, as well as other sufferings.

Francis gave an object lesson by pointing to the beautiful potted flowers surrounding him.

He said Easter isn't a party with lots of flowers like the potted hyacinths, tulips, daffodils, and bouquets of pink roses, arranged in neat rows on the steps. He said the flowers are pretty, but life is more than pretty flowers. Francis admitted that Easter is an occasion to think about the Mystery Of Faith.

He reminded Christians that Easter brings a sign in the midst of so many calamities. It is a matter of looking beyond a wall to a horizon where there is life and where there is joy.

Tight security

Tens of thousands of people went through security checks and got caught up in a brief downpour to hear Pope Francis on Easter Sunday.

Security has been tight at all of the weekend services where large crowds gathered. On Friday, everyone had to go through two rounds of checks. On Saturday night, they had to go through metal detectors. On Sunday, people had to deal with street closures and security checks.