Castel Gandolfo - "The Resurrection of Jesus" is
"the crucial mystery of our faith. In fact, as St. Paul writes to the
Corinthians,"And if Christ has not been raised, then empty
[too] is our preaching; empty, too, your faith' (1
Cor 15:14) "This is what Benedict XVI stressed this Easter Monday, or
Monday of the Angels, which in Italy and
in many countries is a holiday. "The
Monday after Easter is in many countries a day of vacation, where we go for a walk
in the countryside, to visit relatives or travel to be together with distant
relatives. But I wish the reason of this holiday were always present in the
minds and hearts of Christians. " The
pope himself is "on vacation" for a few days at Castel Gandolfo, and
from there today celebrated the Regina Coeli, the Marian prayer that replaces
the Angelus during the Easter season, with thousands of pilgrims crammed into
the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace.
"In these days - continued the pope - it is important to read the narratives of the resurrection of Christ that we find in the four Gospels. These accounts, in different ways, relate the disciples' encounters with the risen Jesus, and so allow us to ponder this amazing event that has changed history and gives meaning to the life of every man. "
"The event of the resurrection is not described as such by the Evangelists: it remains mysterious, not in the sense of being any less real, but hidden, beyond the reach of our knowledge: like a light so bright that we can not see it with our own eyes, otherwise we would be blinded. The narratives instead begin when, at dawn the day after the Sabbath, the women went to the tomb and found it open and empty. St. Matthew speaks of an earthquake and a bright angel that rolled away the large tombstone and sat on it (cf. Mt 28.2). Received by the angel announcing the resurrection, the women, full of fear and joy, ran to break the news to the disciples, and just at that moment met Jesus, fell at his feet and worshiped him: and he said to them: " Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me (Matthew 28:10)."
Referring again to the Gospel narratives, the pope emphasized and evaluated the women's testimony: "In all the Gospels, the women have a large part in the accounts of the appearances of the risen Jesus, as also in the passion and death of Jesus . At that time, in Israel, women's testimony could have no official value, legal, but women experienced a special bond with the Lord, which is crucial for the practical life of the Christian community, and this always true in every age, not only at the beginning of the Churches' journey. "
"Model and sublime example of this relationship with Jesus - he ended - especially in his paschal mystery, of course, is Mary, the Mother of the Lord. It is through the transforming experience of the Easter of her Son, that the Virgin Mary becomes Mother of the Church , that is, for every believer and their communities. We now turn to her, invoking her as Regina Caeli with the prayer that tradition has us recite in place of the Angelus during the Easter season. May Mary help us experience the living presence of the risen Lord, source of hope and peace. "