"More than ever, today's world has a need to rediscover the meaning of life and death, in the perspective of eternal life," the Pontiff told the thousands of pilgrims gathered today in St. Peter's Square before the recitation of the midday Angelus.
"Outside of it," he said, "modern culture, born to exalt man and his dignity, is paradoxically transformed into a culture of death, because, without the horizon of God, he finds himself as a prisoner in the world, overwhelmed by fear, and, unfortunately, gives way to multiple personal and collective pathologies."
The Bishop of Rome illustrated this truth by quoting the Apostle Paul's first Letter to the Corinthians: "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain. ... If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep."
John Paul II continued by quoting a homily of St. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584), archbishop of Milan, where he recalled that for man, everything is a gift from God, including death, because it is accompanied by the "resurrection of your dead body" so that "not a hair of your head will be lost."
The saint's liturgical feast day is Monday. That gave John Paul II -- whose baptismal name Karol means Charles -- the chance to thank the faithful for the congratulations and prayers he received for his name day.