By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — If Christians truly believe that Jesus has risen, they must allow his love and goodness to shine through their words and their actions, Pope Benedict XVI said.
“We will truly and completely be witnesses of the Lord’s resurrection when we allow the lavishness of his love to shine through us and when in our words — and even more in our gestures — people can recognize the voice and hands of Jesus himself,” the pope said April 7 during his weekly general audience.
An estimated 21,000 people gathered under sunny skies for the audience in St. Peter’s Square, which was still full of Easter flowers.
The pope, who returned to the Vatican by helicopter from the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo and went back to the villa south of Rome after the audience, focused his remarks on the need to proclaim Christ’s resurrection to the world.
As newspapers around the world continued to carry stories about cases of clerical sexual abuse and the church’s handling of accusations, Pope Benedict said, “The good news of Easter requires a work of enthusiastic and courageous witness. Every disciple of Christ, including each one of us, is called to be a witness.”
The pope said the resurrection of Jesus is “a historical fact,” and one that means the promise of new life is not simply a wish.
“New life in Christ must shine in the life of each Christian; it must be alive and active,” demonstrating that “it really is capable of changing one’s heart and whole existence,” the pope said.
The signs that Christ’s victory over sin and death is changing minds and hearts include situations where violence is replaced with peace, where justice is promoted, where people patiently engage in dialogue, where respect is shown for others and where men and women make personal sacrifices to assist others, he said.
“Unfortunately, we also see much suffering in the world, much violence and misunderstanding,” the pope said. “The celebration of the paschal mystery and the joyful contemplation of the resurrection of Christ, who vanquishes sin and death with the power of love, is a favorable moment for rediscovering and professing our trust in the risen Lord with greater conviction,” he said.
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Editor’s Note: The text of the pope’s audience remarks in English will be posted online at: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20100407_en.html.
The text of the pope’s audience remarks in Spanish will be posted online at: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20100407_sp.html.
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