Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Resurrection gives all Christians a “missionary mandate”, Pope says

With the Resurrection, Jesus “defeated death, caused by our sin, and led us back to immortal life”. 

He also gave the Church a missionary mandate, which involves all Christians, everywhere and at all times, Benedict XVI said on Easter Monday, before the Regina Caeli, to a crowd of 2,000 gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, where the Pope has been staying for a brief period of rest.
  “The Resurrection of the Lord,” he said before the Marian prayer, “marks the renewal of our human condition. Christ defeated death, caused by our sin, and led us back to immortal life. The entire life of the Church and the existence of Christians spring from that event. We read this, on Easter Monday, in the first missionary address by the nascent Church, ‘God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father and poured it forth, as you (both) see and hear’ (Acts, 2:32-33)”.

“One of the characteristic signs of faith in Resurrection is the greeting Christians exchange at Easter, inspired by the ancient liturgical hymn, ‘Christ is risen; indeed, he is risen!’ It is profession of faith and a commitment of life, like that of the women described in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, “And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.” Jesus met them and said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (28:9-10)”.

“Thus,” wrote the Servant of God Paul VI, “it is the whole Church that receives the mission to evangelize, and the work of each individual member is important for the whole. [. . .] She remains as a sign—simultaneously obscure and luminous—of a new presence of Jesus, of His departure and of His permanent presence. She prolongs and continues Him” (Es. Ap. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 8 December 1975, 15: AAS 68 [1976], 14).

“How can we meet the Lord and become his true witnesses? asked Saint Maximus of Turin, ‘Whoever wants to reach the Saviour must first place him with his faith to the right of the divinity and set him with the heart’s persuasion in the heavens’ (Sermo XXXIX a, 3: CCL 23, 157). In other words, he must learn to raise constantly mind and heart to God’s height, where the Risen Christ stands. 

In praying and worshipping, God thus meets man. For Theologian Romano Guardini, ‘worship is not something incidental, secondary . . . . It is the ultimate interest of sense and being. In worship, man recognises what matters in a pure, simple and holy sense’ (La Pasqua, Meditazioni, Brescia 1995, 62). Only if we know how to address God, pray to him, can we discover the deepest meaning of our life, and the daily journey is illuminated by the light of the Risen.”

Following the Marian prayer, in his Spanish greetings the Pope said, “May the peace born from the triumph of the Lord over sin spread across the earth, especially in those regions that need it most.”