Pope: Easter Explains Creation

Says God Made the World as a Space for Knowledge and Truth 0

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 8, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI welcomed Easter at Saturday night's vigil with a reflection on the meaning of the creation of light, which "means that God created the world as a space for knowledge and truth, as a space for encounter and freedom, as a space for good and for love."

During his homily at the Holy Saturday Mass, the Pope spoke of the liturgy's presentation of creation: "Easter Day ushers in a new creation, but that is precisely why the Church starts the liturgy on this day with the old creation, so that we can learn to understand the new one aright."

Referring to the first reading that provides Genesis' account of creation, he emphasized two elements as especially important: "On the one hand, creation is presented as a whole that includes the phenomenon of time. The seven days are an image of completeness, unfolding in time. They are ordered towards the seventh day, the day of the freedom of all creatures for God and for one another. Creation is therefore directed towards the coming together of God and his creatures; it exists so as to open up a space for the response to God’s great glory, an encounter between love and freedom. 

"On the other hand, what the Church hears on Easter night is above all the first element of the creation account: 'God said, "let there be light!"' The creation account begins symbolically with the creation of light. The sun and the moon are created only on the fourth day. The creation account calls them lights, set by God in the firmament of heaven. In this way he deliberately takes away the divine character that the great religions had assigned to them. No, they are not gods. They are shining bodies created by the one God. But they are preceded by the light through which God’s glory is reflected in the essence of the created being."

The Holy Father proposed that the meaning of this is that "light makes life possible. It makes encounter possible. It makes communication possible. It makes knowledge, access to reality and to truth, possible. And insofar as it makes knowledge possible, it makes freedom and progress possible. Evil hides. Light, then, is also an expression of the good that both is and creates brightness. It is daylight, which makes it possible for us to act. To say that God created light means that God created the world as a space for knowledge and truth, as a space for encounter and freedom, as a space for good and for love. Matter is fundamentally good, being itself is good. And evil does not come from God-made being, rather, it comes into existence only through denial. It is a 'no.'"

Beginning anew

Easter is a re-creation, a time for God to say again, "Let there be light," the Pope said.

"Now it is the first day once again – creation is beginning anew," he reflected. "'Let there be light,' says God, 'and there was light': Jesus rises from the grave. Life is stronger than death. Good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Truth is stronger than lies. The darkness of the previous days is driven away the moment Jesus rises from the grave and himself becomes God’s pure light."

The Holy Father affirmed that this applies not only to the darkness of those days, but means that "light itself is created anew."

"He draws all of us after him into the new light of the resurrection and he conquers all darkness. He is God’s new day, new for all of us."

Changing our lives

Benedict XVI did not give a homily at this morning's Mass, but at the noontime blessing "urbi et orbi," he continued his reflection on the meaning of Easter.

"Every Christian relives the experience of Mary Magdalene," he said. "It involves an encounter which changes our lives: the encounter with a unique Man who lets us experience all God’s goodness and truth, who frees us from evil not in a superficial and fleeting way, but sets us free radically, heals us completely and restores our dignity. This is why Mary Magdalene calls Jesus 'my hope': he was the one who allowed her to be reborn, who gave her a new future, a life of goodness and freedom from evil. 'Christ my hope' means that all my yearnings for goodness find in him a real possibility of fulfilment: with him I can hope for a life that is good, full and eternal, for God himself has drawn near to us, even sharing our humanity."

After the blessing, the Pope sent Easter greetings to the whole world in 65 languages.

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On ZENIT's Web page:

Full text of Saturday homily: http://www.zenit.org/article-34598?l=english

Full text of "urbi et orbi" message: http://www.zenit.org/article-34601?l=english