On the Resurrection

"The Central Event of Christianity"

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 30, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's address today before praying the midday Regina Caeli with tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square.



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During Eastertide, the liturgy offers us numerous incentives to strengthen our faith in the risen Christ. On this Third Sunday of Easter, for example, St. Luke recounts that the two disciples of Emmaus, after having recognized "the breaking of the bread," left full of joy for Jerusalem to inform the others what had happened to them. And, in fact, while they were speaking, the Lord himself appeared showing his hands and feet with the signs of the passion.

In face of the apostles' incredulous surprise, Jesus asked that he be given baked fish and he ate it before them (cf. Luke 24:35-43). In this and other accounts there is a constant invitation to surmount incredulity and to believe in Christ's resurrection, as disciples are called, in fact, to be witnesses of this extraordinary event.

Christ's resurrection is the central event of Christianity, a fundamental truth that must be reaffirmed with vigor at all times, as to deny it in different ways, as has been attempted and continues to be attempted, or to transform it into a merely spiritual event is to make our faith vain. "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14).

In the days that followed the Lord's resurrection, the apostles remained gathered together, comforted by the presence of Mary and, after the Ascension, persevered with her in prayer, awaiting Pentecost. The Virgin was for them mother and teacher, a role she continues to carry out for Christians of all times. Every year, during Eastertide, we live this experience more intensely and, perhaps, precisely for this reason, popular tradition has consecrated the month of May, which normally falls between Easter and Pentecost, to Mary.

Therefore, the month that begins tomorrow helps us to rediscover the maternal role that she carries out in our lives so that we may always be docile disciples and courageous witnesses of the risen Lord.

Let us entrust the needs of the Church and of the world to Mary, especially at this moment marked by not a few shadows. Invoking also the intercession of St. Joseph, who we remember particularly tomorrow, thinking of the labor world, we address her with the Regina Caeli prayer, which enables us to relish the comforting joy of the presence of the risen Christ.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[After praying the Regina Caeli, the Pope greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors here today, including those gathered to mark the beatification of Father Augustine Kunjachan Thevarparampil taking place at Ramapuram, in Kerala, India.

Today's Gospel reminds us that in the name of the risen Christ we are called to forgive each other's sins and failings. May this Easter season be a time of joyful reconciliation within families and among nations. Upon each of you present, I invoke God's blessings of peace and wisdom.

© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]