Pope: Christ Cures Humanity's Festering Wounds

Highlights in Easter Message the Need for Peace

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 23, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The risen Christ is the true hope for a humanity suffering "open and festering" wounds, said Benedict XVI in his Easter message.



After celebrating Easter Mass today, and before imparting the blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome and the world), the Pope read a message in which he highlighted the need for peace in Darfur, the Holy Land, Irak, Lebanon and Tibet.

A total of 102 television stations in 67 countries broadcast the event, reported the Vatican press office.

"The death and resurrection of the Word of God incarnate is an event of invincible love, it is the victory of that Love which has delivered us from the slavery of sin and death," the Pontiff said from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica to the crowds gathered in the square below on a rainy Easter morning.

He added, "It has changed the course of history, giving to human life an indestructible and renewed meaning and value."

"Through the death and resurrection of Christ, we too rise to new life today, and uniting our voice with his, we proclaim that we wish to remain forever with God, our infinitely good and merciful Father," said the Holy Father.

Benedict XVI continued: "The astonishing event of the resurrection of Jesus is essentially an event of love: the Father’s love in handing over his Son for the salvation of the world; the Son’s love in abandoning himself to the Father’s will for us all; the Spirit’s love in raising Jesus from the dead in his transfigured body.

"And there is more: the Father’s love which 'newly embraces' the Son, enfolding him in glory; the Son’s love returning to the Father in the power of the Spirit, robed in our transfigured humanity."

Converts to love

The Pope said at Easter, "we receive an appeal to be converted to Love; we receive an invitation to live by rejecting hatred and selfishness, and to follow with docility in the footsteps of the Lamb that was slain for our salvation."

He urged, "Let no heart be closed to the omnipotence of this redeeming love!"

"Jesus Christ died and rose for all," the Pontiff added. "He is our hope -- true hope for every human being."

The Holy Father said by considering the glorious wounds of the resurrected Christ, "we can understand the meaning and value of suffering, we can tend the many wounds that continue to disfigure humanity in our own day."

"How often relations between individuals, between groups and between peoples are marked not by love but by selfishness, injustice, hatred and violence," continued Benedict XVI. "These are the scourges of humanity, open and festering in every corner of the planet, although they are often ignored and sometimes deliberately concealed; wounds that torture the souls and bodies of countless of our brothers and sisters.

"They are waiting to be tended and healed by the glorious wounds of our Risen Lord [...] and by the solidarity of people who, following in his footsteps, perform deeds of charity in his name, make an active commitment to justice, and spread luminous signs of hope in areas bloodied by conflict and wherever the dignity of the human person continues to be scorned and trampled.

"It is hoped that these are precisely the places where gestures of moderation and forgiveness will increase!"

"Let us allow the light that streams forth from this solemn day to enlighten us," the Pontiff urges. "Let us open ourselves in sincere trust to the risen Christ, so that his victory over evil and death may also triumph in each one of us, in our families, in our cities and in our nations. Let it shine forth in every part of the world."