Christ Transforms Those He Meets, Says Pope

Speaks of Mary Magdalene at Weekly Audience

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 23, 2006 (Zenit.org).- An encounter with the risen Christ is a transforming event, says Benedict XVI.



The Holy Father said this during last Wednesday's general audience, which coincided with the celebration of the first anniversary of his pontificate, in which he spoke of Mary Magdalene's meeting with the risen Christ.

Mary Magdalene, said the Pope, "discovers the open and empty sepulcher and immediately fears that they have taken the Lord's body away."

Jesus "then called her by her name, and in that moment a profound change takes place in her: Grief and confusion are transformed into joy and enthusiasm," Benedict XVI said. "In haste, she goes to the apostles and announces 'I have seen the Lord.'"

The Pontiff continued: "Whoever encounters the risen Jesus is transformed in his interior. The risen one cannot be 'seen' without 'believing' in him."

The Holy Father invited all present to pray that the Lord "call each one of us by our name and convert us, opening us to the 'vision' of faith."

Because "faith is born from a personal encounter with the risen Christ and is transformed into an impulse of courage and freedom that leads us to proclaim to the world: Jesus has risen and lives forever," Benedict XVI added.

Joyful heralds

"This is the mission of the disciples of the Lord of all ages and also of our time," which does not mean "to pay no attention to daily commitments" or to "earthly realities," but "to permeate all our human activities with a supernatural dimension, … becoming joyful heralds and witnesses of the resurrection of Christ, who lives forever," the Pontiff said.

Easter joy, Benedict XVI continued, "extends to the whole liturgical year, and is renewed in a special way on Sunday, a day dedicated to the memory of the Lord's resurrection."

Each Sunday is a weekly "little Easter," the Pontiff said, a moment in which "the liturgical assembly gathered for holy Mass proclaims in the creed that Jesus rose on the third day," and that we await "the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come."

The Pope added: "In this way it indicates that the event of the death and resurrection of Jesus constitutes the center of our faith and on this announcement the Church is founded and grows."