On Easter Joy

“The Supreme and Insuperable Act of the Power of God”

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 13, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave April 7 at the general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
 
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
 
The traditional Wednesday General Audience is inundated today by the luminous joy of Easter. In these days, in fact, the Church celebrates the mystery of the Resurrection and experiences the great joy that stems from the Good News of Christ’s victory over evil and death. A joy that is prolonged not only in the Octave of Easter, but is extended for 50 days until Pentecost. After the mourning and consternation of Good Friday, and after the silence charged with expectation of Holy Saturday, here is the stupendous announcement: “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” (Luke 24:34). In the whole history of the world, this is the “Good News” par excellence, it is the Gospel proclaimed and passed over the centuries, from generation to generation.
 
The Lord’s Easter is the supreme and insuperable act of the power of God. It is an absolutely extraordinary event, the most beautiful and mature fruit of the “mystery of God.” It is so extraordinary that it cannot be recounted in its dimensions which escape our human capacity of knowledge and research. And yet, this is also an “historical” event, real, witnessed and documented. It is the event that founds the whole of our faith. It is the central content in which we believe and the principal content of why we believe.
 
The New Testament does not describe Jesus’ Resurrection in its realization. It refers only to the testimonies of those whom Jesus met in person after resurrecting. The three Synoptic Gospels recount this announcement: “He has risen!” — it is proclaimed initially by some angels. Hence, it is an announcement whose origin is in God; but God entrusts it immediately to his “messengers” so that they will transmit it to everyone, And thus it is these same angels who invite the women, who arrived in the early morning at the sepulcher, to go quickly to tell the disciples: that “he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him” (Matthew 28:7). Thus, through the women of the Gospel, that divine mandate reaches one and all so that, in turn, they will transmit to others, with fidelity and courage, this same news: beautiful news, joyful and bearer of joy.
 
Yes, dear friends, our faith is founded on the constant and faithful transmission of this “Good News.” And we, today, want to express to God our profound gratitude for the innumerable multitudes of believers in Christ who have preceded us in the centuries, because they have never defaulted in the fundamental mandate to proclaim the Gospel that they had received. The Good News of Easter, therefore, requires the work of enthusiastic and courageous witnesses. Each disciple of Christ, also each one of us, is called to be a witness. This is the precise, committed and exciting mandate of the risen Lord. The “news” of new life in Christ must shine in the life of the Christian, it must be alive and active in the one who bears it, really capable of changing the heart, the whole existence. It is alive first of all because Christ himself is its living and vivifying soul. Saint Mark reminds us of it at the end of his Gospel, where he writes that the Apostles “went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it” (Mark 16:20).
 
The Apostles’ event is also ours and that of every believer, of every disciple who makes himself a “herald. “In fact, we also, are sure that the Lord , today as yesterday, works together with his witnesses. This is a fact that we can recognize every time we see the seeds of a true and lasting peace sprout, there where the commitment of Christians and of men of good will is animated by respect for justice, by patient dialogue, by convinced esteem for others, by selflessness, by personal and community sacrifice.  Unfortunately we also see in the world much suffering, much violence, much misunderstanding. The celebration of the Paschal Mystery, the joyful contemplation of the Resurrection of Christ, who defeats sin and death with the force of the Love of God is a propitious occasion to rediscover and profess with more conviction our trust in the risen Lord, who accompanies the witnesses of his word working miracles together with them. We will truly and absolutely be witnesses of the risen Jesus when we reflect in ourselves the miracle of his love: when in our words, and even more so in our deeds, in full consistency with the Gospel, the voice and hand of Jesus himself is recognized.
 
Hence, the Lord sends us everywhere as his witnesses. But we can only be so from and in continual reference to the paschal experience, which Mary Magdalen expressed when announcing to the other disciples: “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18). In this personal encounter with the Risen One is the indestructible foundation and the central content of our faith, the fresh and inexhaustible source of our hope, the ardent dynamism of our charity. Thus our Christian life itself with coincide fully with the proclamation: “Christ the Lord has truly risen.” Hence, let us allow ourselves to be conquered by the fascination of the Resurrection of Christ. May the Virgin Mary sustain us with her protection and help us to taste fully the Easter joy, so that we will be able to take it in turn to all our brothers.
 
Once again, Happy Easter to all!
 [Translation by ZENIT] [The Holy Father then addressed the people in several languages. In English, he said:] 
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
 
Our General Audience today is marked by the spiritual joy of Easter, as the Church continues her celebration of Christ’s glorious resurrection from the dead. The resurrection is the greatest of God’s mighty acts in history; mysterious beyond all imagining, it is also a real event attested by trustworthy witnesses who in turn became messengers of this Good News before the world. In every generation, the Gospel of Christ, crucified and risen, must constantly be proclaimed anew. Each of us, as a disciple of Christ, is called to testify to the reality and power of the new life bestowed by the Risen Lord upon those who believe. Saint Mark, at the end of his Gospel, tells us that the Lord “worked with” the Apostles, and “confirmed the message by the signs which accompanied it” (Mk 16:20). Today too, the Risen Christ wishes to work with us, so that we might reflect his words in our words and reveal the power of his love by our actions. During the Easter season, may our personal encounter with the Lord deepen our faith, hope and love, and inspire us to proclaim, with our lips and in our lives, the Good News that “Christ is truly risen!”
 
I offer a warm welcome to the newly-ordained deacons from the Pontifical Irish College, together with their families and friends. Dear young deacons: may the grace of your ordination conform you ever more fully to the Lord in humble obedience and faithful service to the building up of the Church in your beloved homeland. Upon all the English-speaking visitors present in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Malta, Croatia, Australia, Japan and the United States, I invoke the joy and peace of the Risen Christ!
 
Copyright 2010 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana
 [In Russian, he said:] 
I am very happy to send, through the kind channel of ITAR-TASS agency, a cordial greeting and a thought of good wishes to all Russians, both those who live in their homeland as well as those who are in different parts of the world. May the Solemnity of Holy Easter, which this year we have had the joy of celebrating together between Catholics and Orthodox, be the occasion of a renewed fraternity and of an ever more intense collaboration in truth and in charity.
 [In Italian, he said:] 
I address an affectionate thought also to yo
u, dear sick: may the light of Easter illumine you and sustain you in your suffering. And you, dear newlyweds, draw from the Paschal Mystery the courage to be protagonists in the Church and in society, contributing with your faithful and fruitful love to the building of the civilization of love.

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