In the presence of thousands at St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI continued his weekly teachings on St. Paul, speaking about the apostle’s proclamation of the resurrection. The Holy Father noted that the true believer obtains salvation professing with his lips that Jesus is Lord and believing in his heart that God has raised him from the dead.
Looking at St. Paul, the Pontiff explained, we are offered an example of how to evangelize, explained the Holy Father. In preaching Jesus Christ risen from the dead, “St. Paul is not concerned with presenting a comprehensive doctrinal exposition, but approaches the subject by responding to the concrete doubts and queries that were put to him by the faithful.”
St. Paul concentrated "on essentials: we have been 'justified' - that its made just, saved - by Christ Who died and rose for us. What emerges above all is the fact of the resurrection, without which Christian life would be simply absurd.”
"On that Easter morning,” the Holy Father continued, "something extraordinary yet at the same time very real happened, something marked by specific signs recorded by numerous witnesses.” For Paul, “the resurrection is linked to the testimony of those who had direct experience” with the risen Christ. This not only involved seeing and feeing, but also with “an inner light that compels us to recognize what the exterior senses record as objective fact.”
We may ask ourselves, “For Paul, what is the importance of Christ’s resurrection?” the Holy Father asked. “Why is it important for us two thousand years later?” In his Letter to the Romans, Paul responds by referring to “the Gospel of God… the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead.”
The Holy Father then discussed the title of Jesus, “Son of God.” The name comes to illustrate the intimate rapport of Jesus with God, a rapport with is fully revealed that Easter morn. The resurrection reveals Jesus’ true identity as the eternal Son of God and Lord of the living and the dead.
We are called “to participate in the death and resurrection of Christ,” the Pope continued. St. Paul said: “We have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.”
This is the reality of the Christian life, explained Pope Benedict. Our present sufferings become a sharing in Christ’s own suffering and death, while the hope of the resurrection even now draws us toward the fullness of life with all the saints in his Kingdom.
Paul tells us that salvation comes from confessing with our lips that Jesus is Lord, and believing in our hearts that God raised him from the dead. Along with the Apostle, the Holy Father concluded, let us strive ever more fully, in faith and hope, "to know Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection."