Words and actions consistent
with Gospel will witness to the Risen Jesus
On Wednesday, 7 April , at the
General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father reflected on the
spiritual joy of Easter and on Christ's glorious Resurrection. The
following is a translation of the Pope's Catechesis, which was given in
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today the customary Wednesday General
Audience is bathed in the luminous joy of Easter. In these days, in
fact, the Church celebrates the mystery of the Resurrection and
experiences the great joy that comes to her from the Good News of
Christ's victory over evil and over death.
This joy is not only prolonged in the
Octave of Easter but is extended for 50 days until Pentecost. After the
weeping and distress of Good Friday and after the silence, laden with
expectation, of Holy Saturday, here is the wonderful announcement: "The
Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" (Lk 24:34).
This is the "Good News" par excellence
in the entire history of the world, it is the "Gospel" proclaimed and
passed on down the centuries, from generation to generation.
Christ's Pasch is the supreme and
unequalled act of God's power. It is an absolutely extraordinary event,
the most beautiful, ripe fruit of the "Mystery of God". It is so
extraordinary that it is ineffable in its dimensions that escape our
human capacity for knowing and investigating.
Yet, it is also a "historical" event,
witnessed to and documented. It is the event on which the whole of our
faith is founded. It is the central content in which we believe and the
main reason why we believe.
The New Testament does not describe how
the Resurrection of Jesus took place. It only mentions the testimonies
of those whom Jesus met personally after he had risen. The three
Synoptic Gospels tell us that this announcement: "He has risen!", was
first proclaimed by Angels. It is therefore a proclamation that
originates in God; but God immediately entrusts it to his "messengers",
so that they may pass it on to all.
Hence it is these same Angels who tell
the women, who had gone at daybreak to the tomb, "go quickly and tell
his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going
before you to Galilee; there you will see him" (Mt 28:7). In
this way, through the women of the Gospel, this divine mandate
reaches each and every one so that each in turn may transmit this same
news to others with faithfulness and courage the glad tidings, that are
joyful and convey delight.
Yes, dear friends, our whole faith is
founded on the constant and faithful transmission of this "Good News",
and today we want to tell God of our deep gratitude for the innumerable
hosts of believers in Christ who have gone before us in the course of
the centuries, because they never failed in their fundamental mandate to
proclaim the Gospel which they had received.
The Good News of Easter, therefore,
requires the action of enthusiastic and courageous witnesses. Each
disciple of Christ, and also each one of us, is called to be a witness.
This is the precise, demanding and exalting mandate of the Risen Lord.
The "news" of new life in Christ
must shine out in the life of Christians, it must be alive and active
in those who bring it, really capable of changing hearts and the whole
It is alive first of all because Christ
himself is its living and life-giving soul. St Mark reminds us, 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" (Mk 16:20).
The Apostles' experience is also our own
and that of every believer, of every disciple who makes himself a
"herald". In fact, we too are sure that the Lord works with his
witnesses today, as he did in the past. This is a fact we can recognize
every time we see the seeds of true and lasting peace sprouting and
wherever the work and example of Christians and of people of good will
is enlivened by respect for justice, patient dialogue, convinced esteem
for others, impartiality and personal and communitarian renunciation.
Unfortunately, we also see in the world
so much suffering, so much violence, so much misunderstanding. The
celebration of the Paschal Mystery, the joyous contemplation of Christ's
Resurrection that triumphs over sin and death with the power of God's
Love, is a favourable opportunity for rediscovering and professing with
greater conviction and trust in the Risen Lord, who accompanies the
witnesses of his word, working miracles together with them. We shall be
truly and with our whole selves witnesses of the Risen Jesus when we let
the wonder of his love shine through us: when in our words, and
especially, in our actions, the voice and hand of Jesus himself may be
recognized as fully consistent with the Gospel.