“Christ is truly risen!” exclaimed the Holy Father again from St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday. The Pope spoke to pilgrims at the General Audience about the extraordinary event of Easter and the call for all Christians to be inspired in their proclamation of the “good news.”
Wednesday’s audience was “inundated by the luminous joy of Easter,” observed the Pope during his address to the more than 21,000 people gathered in the Square, still decorated with tens of thousands of Dutch flowers and plants remaining from Easter celebrations.
In these days and until Pentecost, the Pope said, “the Church celebrates the mystery of the Resurrection and experiences the great joy that comes from the good news of the triumph of Christ over evil and over death.”
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!" is the “good news” that continues to be passed from generation to generation, he told the crowd.
Easter is an “absolutely extraordinary event,” said the Holy Father, calling it “the most beautiful and mature fruit of the 'mystery of God'. ... Yet it is also a real historical fact, witnessed and documented. It is the event upon which all our faith rests. It is the central point in which we believe and the principal reason for which we believe.”
The “divine mandate” of transmitting the news that “He is risen,” which is entrusted to the women in the Gospel accounts who act as “messengers,” is also meant for us, said Pope Benedict XVI.
“Yes, dear friends, all our faith is founded on the constant and faithful transmission of this ‘good news.’”
We are all called to be “enthusiastic and courageous” in our witness to this Good News, he continued. “This is the precise, demanding 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 working in who bears it, truly able to change the heart, the entire existence,” the Pope exhorted.
As St. Mark wrote at the end of his Gospel, the Holy Father recalled, the Apostles go out and preach with the help of the Lord “who confirmed the message by the signs which accompanied it.”
We are called still today to be “announcers” said the Pope, “We also, in fact, are certain that the Lord, today as yesterday, works together with his witnesses.”
The fact that he accompanies us can be recognized when we push for lasting peace, provide an example inspired by respect for justice, work without ulterior interests and make sacrifices personally and as a community, said the Pope.
“Unfortunately,” the Pope lamented, “we see in the world also so much suffering, so much violence, so much incomprehension. The Celebration of the Paschal Mystery, the joyous contemplation of the Resurrection of Christ, who defeats sin and death with the force of God’s Love is a propitious occasion to rediscover and profess with greater conviction our faith in the Risen Lord, who accompanies witnesses of his word working marvels alongside them.
“We will be truly and fully witnesses of Risen Jesus,” taught Pope Benedict, “when we let the marvel of his love shine through in us; when in our words and, even more, in our actions, in full coherence with the Gospel, the voice and the hand of Jesus himself is recognized.”
Following the audience, the Holy Father was taken back to his residence at Castel Gandolfo by helicopter to continue resting after finishing a busy Easter schedule.