Pope: without faith in the resurrection, everything falls apart
The pope warns the faithful against falling prey to those who, in spite of historical proofs, bring into question "or even deny" the resurrection of Christ: without this understanding, Christian witness "becomes feeble". Immediately after the general audience, Benedict XVI meets with some children who survived the massacre of Beslan.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - If faith in the resurrection diminishes in the Church, "everything stops, everything falls apart.  On the contrary, the adherence in heart and mind to Christ dead and risen changes lives and illuminates the entire existence of persons and of peoples".  Benedict XVI made these remarks today during the general audience held in the courtyard of St Peter's basilica, in the presence of about 50,000 people.  Immediately after the audience, the pope spent a few moments with some children who survived the massacre of Beslan, hosted in Italy by the association "Reset".

The pontiff, who dedicated his catechesis to the resurrection of Christ, emphasises how "it is the certainty that Christ has risen that imparts courage, prophetic audacity, and perseverance to the martyrs of every age.  Is it not the encounter with the living Jesus that converts and fascinates so many men and women, who ever since the beginning of Christianity have continued to leave everything in order to follow him and put their lives at the service of the Gospel?".

Moreover, he continues, the "historical truth of the resurrection of Christ, a fundamental truth of the Christian faith, is widely documented, even if today, as in the past, there is no lack of those who in various ways bring it into question or even deny it".  This phenomenon must not influence the Christian faith, because "the weakening of faith in the resurrection of Jesus makes the witness of believers feeble".

The Easter proclamation, Benedict XVI emphasises, "which we hear over and over again in these days, is precisely this: Christ is risen, he is the Living One, and we can encounter him . . . And, even after his ascension, Jesus continues to remain present among his friends, just as he had promised: "Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Mt. 28:20).

The Lord is with us, the pope adds, "with his Church, until the end of time.  Illuminated by the Holy Spirit, the members of the primitive Church began to announce the Easter proclamation openly and without fear.  And this proclamation, handed down from generation to generation, has come to us and resounds each year at Easter with a power that is constantly renewed".

With this proclamation in our hearts, Benedict XVI concludes, "may the joy of these days make us even more firm in our faithful adherence to the crucified and risen Christ.  Above all, let us allow ourselves to be conquered by the fascination of his resurrection.  May Mary help us to become messengers of the light and joy of Easter for many of our brothers".