Monday, April 20, 2009

Pope Says Christ Leads Us to a New Future

Underlines Historical Reality of the Resurrection

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, APRIL 19, 2009 ( Benedict XVI is affirming the new life that all Christians share by participating in Jesus' resurrection, a cause for joy that no pain or difficulty can destroy.

The Pope said this Wednesday at the general audience in the pontifical residence at Castel Gandolfo.

These days, he said, are "pervaded by a spiritual joy, that joy that no suffering or pain can destroy, because it is the joy that flows from the certainty that Christ, with his death and resurrection, has definitively triumphed over evil and death."

"Seen from the perspective of the resurrection," the Pontiff noted, "we can say that this whole way of suffering is the road of light and spiritual rebirth, of interior peace and solid hope."

He affirmed, "The unsettling novelty of the resurrection is so important that the Church does not cease to proclaim it, prolonging the recollection especially every Sunday."

Real event

The Holy Father explained that "it is fundamental to our Christian faith and witness to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as a real historical event testified to by many authoritative witnesses."

He added: "We strongly affirm this because, even in our times, there is no lack of those who deny its historicity, reducing the Gospel account to a myth, to a 'vision' of the Apostles, taking up again and presenting old worn-out theories as new and scientific.

"Certainly for Jesus the resurrection was not a mere return to the former life. In this case, in fact, it would be a thing of the past: 2,000 years ago someone rose from the dead, returned to his old life, just as Lazarus did, for example.

"The resurrection is oriented in another direction; it is the passage to a dimension of life that is profoundly new, that also implicates us, that involves the whole of the human family, of history and of the universe."

Benedict XVI stated, "This year too, at Easter there resounds unchanged and always new, in every corner of the earth, this good news: Jesus, who has died on the cross and been resurrected, lives in glory because he has defeated the power of death, he has brought human beings into a new communion of life with and in God."

He continued, "Jesus' resurrection founds our certain hope and illuminates the whole of our earthly pilgrimage, including the human enigma of pain and death."

"God reveals himself and the power of the trinitarian love that annihilates the destructive forces of evil and death in the events of Easter," he said.

The Pope urged his listeners, "Let us allow ourselves to be enlightened by the splendor of the risen Lord."

He added: "We cannot just hold onto the proclamation of this truth -- which changes the life of everyone -- only for ourselves. And with humble confidence let us pray: 'Jesus, who, rising from the dead, anticipated our resurrection, we believe in you!'"

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