.- After presiding over Easter Sunday Mass yesterday at Saint Peters Square, Pope Benedict gave his message “Urbi et Orbi”, (to the city and to the world) from the central balcony, inviting humanity not to have fear and to open its heart to Jesus risen, echoing the words of the angel: "Do not be afraid! ... He is not here; he is risen (Mt 28:5-6)".
“Christ is risen!” was the exclamation with which the Holy Father started his Easter message to the World. “Numerous paschal candles were lit in churches, symbolizing the light of Christ that shines on humanity, defeating darkness , sin and evil for ever” said the Pontiff before more than 150.000 faithful gathered on the Vatican square.
Moreover, in his message preceding the blessing, the Pope reflected on the words of the angel in the tomb: “He is not here, he rose again,” affirming that “the Son of God could not be kept imprisoned in death, and the tomb couldn’t keep the 'Living,' himself the source of all life.”
After stressing that in the resurrection, “the Lord of Saturday fulfilled the work of the creation, elevating Man and the entire cosmos to the glory of freedom of the sons of God,” he added that “fulfilling this extraordinary work, the body was filled with the vital blow of God and rose again glorious.”
Remarking the humanity of Christ and the novelty of his resurrection, he continued saying “he walked through our earth, and ended his path in the tomb like everyone, but he overcame death in a new way, through an act of pure love, he opened the earth and opened the doors of heaven to it.”
Benedict XVI remarked that the resurrection of Christ, “thanks to Baptism, integrates us to Him, and becomes our resurrection. Today, the Creator’s promise is fulfilled, even in this modern age marked by anxiety and uncertainty, we relive the event of the Resurrection, which changed the face of our life and changed the history of humanity."
"From the risen Christ, all those who are still oppressed by chains of suffering and death look for hope, sometimes even without knowing it.”
After vowing that “the Spirit of the Risen One might bring consolation to the people of the World, the Pontiff prayed especially that “the Risen Lord grant that the strength of his life, peace and freedom be experienced everywhere. Let the humanity of the third millennium not fear to open its heart.”
“Christ is living now," he said in concluding, "he walks with us."
After this message, the Pope gave the traditional blessing to the city of Rome, and to the World in 63 languages. The blessing was given today on the same day the Holy Father celebrates his 79 birthday.
Last year, on the Sunday of the Resurrection 2005, was the last time John Paul II was seen in public, precisely the moment he gave the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing,” on March 27, he died a few days later, on April 2.