Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – There is a strong connection between Easter’s faith and the mission to the world, one that Pope Benedict XVI stressed several times during the Regina Caeli prayer, which is said in lieu of the Angelus for the period of Easter.
Addressing a visibly enthusiastic crowd in the courtyard of Castel Gandolfo’s Apostolic Palace where he arrived for a brief period of rest, the Pope said that “like the women who stayed with Jesus during the Passion, the Risen One says to us not to be afraid, making us messengers who announce His Resurrection.”
“Whoever encounters and gives himself over to the Risen Jesus has nothing to fear,” he said. “Such is the message Christians are asked to bring to the farthest corners of the world. The Christian faith is born not in a doctrine’s acceptance but in an encounter with a Person, the dead and risen Christ. In our day-to-day existence, dear friends, there are so many opportunities to pass on our faith to others in a simple and convincing manner. It is something urgent for the men and women of our times to know and encounter Jesus so that, thanks to His example, they can let themselves be won over by Him.”
Together with the mission to the farthest corners of the earth, Benedict XVI underlined another characteristic of this liturgical period, namely joy or “spiritual elation.” In joking with the festive and noisy crowd of pilgrims, the Pope said “that one day” for Easter “was not enough for so much joy.” Hence, “the liturgy does not set aside just one day for this mystery . . . but instead dedicates 50 days, i.e. the whole Easter period up to Pentecost.” The Pope further explained that “with Easter Monday, today’s feast day, Easter Sunday is an absolutely special day, lasting this whole week till next Sunday, which is the Octave of Easter.”
The Pontiff brought his short reflection to a conclusion by highlighting the Easter joy of Mary, Mother of Jesus, who is a pillar for Christians and their mission.
“The Gospel,” Benedict XVI noted, “says nothing about Mary, but according to the Christian tradition She was happier than anyone else when she was able to embrace her divine Son again, the same one She held when he was taken down from the Cross. Now, after the resurrection, the Redeemer’s Mother rejoices with Jesus’ ‘friends’ who are the nascent Church. As I renew my heartfelt Easter greetings to all of you, I call upon Her, the Regina Caeli, to keep alive our faith in the Resurrection and make us messengers of hope and of the love of the Risen Christ.”