Christ's Resurrection Was A Concrete Event
by Pope John Paul II
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. In the liturgical season running from Easter to Pentecost, the Church is recollected
in contemplation of the risen Christ. Thus she relives the primordial experience that lies
at the basis of her existence. She feels imbued with the same wonder as Mary Magdalen and
the other women who went to Christ's tomb on Easter morning and found it empty. That tomb
became the womb of life.
Whoever had condemned Jesus, deceived himself that he had buried His cause under an
ice-cold tombstone. The disciples themselves gave in to the feeling of irreparable
failure. We understand their surprise, then, and even their distrust in the news of the
empty tomb. But the Risen One did not delay in making himself seen and they yielded to
reality. They saw and believed! Two thousand years later, we still sense the unspeakable
emotion that overcame them when they heard the Master's greeting: "Peace be with
2. The Church is based on their extraordinary experience. The first proclamation of the
Gospel was nothing other than the testimony of this event: "This Jesus God raised up,
and of that we all are witnesses!" (Acts 2:32). The Christian faith is so linked with
this truth that Paul did not hesitate to declare: "If Christ has not been raised,
then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" (1 Cor 15:14). Along these
lines the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: "The Resurrection of Jesus is the
crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by
the first Christian community, handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the
documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery
along with the cross" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 638).
Christ's Resurrection is the strength, the secret of Christianity. It is not a question
of mythology or of mere symbolism, but of a concrete event. It is confirmed by sure and
convincing proofs. The acceptance of this truth, although the fruit of the Holy Spirit's
grace, rests at the same time on a solid historical base. On the threshold of the third
millennium, the new effort of evangelization can begin only from a renewed experience of
this Mystery, accepted in faith and witnessed to in life.
3. Regina caeli, laetare! Rejoice, Holy Virgin, because He whom you bore in your
womb is risen! Dear brothers and sisters, let us try to relive the joy of the Resurrection
with Mary's heart. Even in the darkness of Good Friday she prepared herself to receive the
light of Easter morning.
Let us ask her to obtain for us a deep faith in this extraordinary event, which is
salvation and hope for the world.
From an address given by Pope John Paul II before reciting the Regina caeli on Sunday,
21 April 1996.