On the Angel's Monday

«We Are Messengers of His Resurrection»

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, APRIL 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Easter Monday, April 5, before praying the Regina Caeli in Castel Gandolfo.
 
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Dear Brothers and Sisters:
 
In the light of Easter, which we celebrate during this whole week, I renew my most cordial wish for peace and joy. As you know, the Monday following the Sunday of the Resurrection is called traditionally «the Angel’s Monday.» It is very interesting to reflect more deeply on this reference to the «angel.» Of course, our thought goes immediately to the evangelical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus, in which the figure of the Lord’s messenger appears. St. Matthew writes: «And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow» (Matthew 28:2-3).
 
All the evangelists specify later that, when the women went to the sepulcher and found it open and empty, it was an angel who announced to them that Jesus had resurrected. In St. Matthew this messenger of the Lord says to them: «Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said» (Matthew 28:5-6); then he showed them the empty tomb and told them to take the announcement to the disciples. St. Mark describes the angel as «a young man, dressed in a white robe,» who gives the women the same message (cf. Mark 16:5-6). St. Luke speaks of «two men in dazzling apparel,» who remind the women that Jesus had announced to them much earlier his death and resurrection (cf. Luke 24:4-7). St. John also speaks of «two angels in white»; it is Mary Magdalene who sees them while weeping near the sepulcher, and they say to her: «Woman, why are you weeping?» (John 20:11-13).
 
However, the angel of the resurrection also has another meaning. It is appropriate to recall that the term «angel,» in addition to describing the angels, spiritual creatures gifted with intelligence and will, servants and messengers of God, is also one of the oldest titles attributed to Jesus himself. For example, in Tertullian, in the 3rd century, we read: «He — Christ — has also been called ‘angel of counsel,’ that is, herald, term that denotes an office, not his nature. In fact, he had to proclaim to the world the great plan of the Father for man’s restoration» («De carne Christi,» 14). Thus writes Tertullian. Consequently, Jesus Christ, Son of God, is also called the angel of God the Father: He is the Messenger par excellence of his love.
 
Dear friends, let us think now of what the resurrected Jesus said to the Apostles: «As the Father has sent me, even so I send you» (John 20:21); and he communicated his Holy Spirit to them. This means that, as Jesus was the herald of the love of God the Father, we must also be so of the charity of Christ: We are messengers of his resurrection, of his victory over evil and death, bearers of his divine love. Of course we continue to be by nature men and women, but we receive the mission of «angels,» messengers of Christ: We are all given it in baptism and in confirmation. Priests, ministers of Christ, receive it in a special way, through the sacrament of Holy Orders; I am pleased to stress it in this Year for Priests.
 
Dear brothers and sisters, we now turn to the Virgin Mary, invoking her as Regina Caeli, Queen of Heaven. May she help us to accept fully the grace of the Easter mystery and to be courageous and joyful messengers of the resurrection of Christ.

[Translation by ZENIT] [The Pope then greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English he said:]
 
I am very pleased to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present here today for the Regina Cæli prayer. In these first days of Easter, we celebrate intensely the mystery of the Resurrection of the Lord. Like the women in today’s Gospel passage, may all of us, especially those baptized this Easter, keep alive in our hearts our awe and great joy in the presence of the Risen Lord. God bless you all!

© Copyright 2010 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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