During his first General Audience of this Easter Season, Pope John Paul II said before some 25,000 pilgrims that Christians need a personal encounter with the crucified and risen Christ.
“‘The Lord of Life was dead, but now He lives and triumphs!’ These words guide the reflections of our encounter today, which takes place within the octave of Easter,” the Pope wrote in his catechesis, which was read by an assistant and not by the Pope himself.
“Christ triumphs over evil and death,” said the text. “The Gospels tell us, with richness of detail, of the Risen Lord’s encounters with the women who ran to the tomb and, afterwards, with the Apostles.”
“As eyewitnesses they are the first to proclaim the Gospel of His death and Resurrection. … The Church, who is the deposit of this universal mystery of salvation, passes this on from generation to generation, to the men and women of all times and all places,” the Pope’s message continued.
In order to pass this mystery on, he added, “Christians must have their own personal encounter with Christ Crucified and Risen, and allow themselves to be transformed by the power of His love. When that happens, sadness becomes joy, fear gives way to the path of missionary ardor.”
“’Christ my hope is risen’. With these words the (Easter) sequence underlines an aspect of the Easter mystery that mankind today needs to understand more deeply. Marked by impending threats of violence and death, men are looking for something that gives them serenity and certainty. But where can they find peace, if not in Christ, the innocent one, Who reconciled sinners with the Father?,” he added.
“On Calvary,” the message closes, “divine mercy showed its face of love and pardon for everyone.” He ended praising Saint Faustina Kowalska, the Polish mystic who received the revelations of the Divine Mercy, who “in her humility was chosen to announce this message of light especially apt for today’s world.”
The universal feast of the Divine Mercy is celebrated on next Sunday, the Second of Easter.