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The Third Day He Rose again in accordance with the Scriptures

Catechesis by Pope Francis      
General Audience, Wednesday 3 April 2013 - also in Arabic, Croatian, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear brothers and sisters, good morning,
Today we are resuming the catecheses of the Year of Faith. In the Creed we repeat this phrase: "On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures". This is precisely the event that we are celebrating: the Resurrection of Jesus, centre of the Christian message, which
since the beginning has resounded and been transmitted so that it reaches all the way to us. St Paul writes to the Christians of Corinth: "To you .. I have transmitted, first of all, what I have also received; that is, that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he was buried and that he rose on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures and that he appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve" (1 Cor 15, 3-5). This brief confession of faith announces the Paschal Mystery itself, with the first appearances of the Risen One to Peter and to the Twelve: the Death and Resurrection of Jesus are precisely the heart of our hope. Without this faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus our hope will be weak, it will not even be hope, and it is precisely the death and resurrection of Jesus that are the heart of our hope. The Apostle affirms: "If Christ has not risen, your faith is vain and you are still in your sins" (v 17). Unfortunately, attempts have often been made to obscure the faith in the Resurrection of Jesus, and doubts have crept in even among believers themselves. It's a bit like, as we say, "rosewater" faith; it is not a strong faith. And this is through superficiality, sometimes through indifference, occupied by a thousand things considered more important than faith, or through a solely horizontal vision of life. But it is precisely the Resurrection that opens us to greater hope, because it opens our life and the life of the world to the eternal future of God, to full happiness, to the certainty that evil, sin, and death can be overcome. And this leads to living daily realities with more trust, to facing them with courage and commitment. The Resurrection of Christ illuminates these daily realities with a new light. The Resurrection of Christ is our strength!

But how has the truth of faith of Christ’s Resurrection been transmitted to us? There are two types of testimonies in the New Testament: some are in the form of profession of faith, that is, of synthetic formulas that indicate the centre of the faith; while others are in the form of a narrative of the event of the Resurrection and of the facts linked to it. The first: the form of the profession of faith, for example, is that which we have just heard, or that of the Letter to the Romans in which St Paul writes: "If you proclaim with your lips: ‘Jesus is Lord!’, and believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Rom 10, 9). From the Church’s very first steps, the faith in the Mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Christ is well established and clear. Today, however, I would like to dwell on the second form, on the testimonies in the form of a narrative, which we find in the Gospels. First of all we note that the first witnesses of this event were women. At dawn, they went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body, and find the first sign: the empty tomb (cf Mk 16, 1). Then follows the encounter with a Messenger of God who announces: Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified One, is not here, he is risen" (cf v 5-6). The women are driven by love and know how to welcome this announcement with faith: they believe, and immediately transmit it, they do not keep it for themselves, they transmit it. The joy of knowing that Jesus is alive, the hope that fills the heart, cannot be contained. This should also happen in our life. Let us feel the joy of being Christians! We believe in a Risen One who has conquered evil and death! Let us have the courage to "go out" to bring this joy and this light to all the places of our life! The Resurrection of Christ is our greatest certainty; it is the most precious treasure! How can we not share this treasure, this certainty
with others? It is not only for us, it is to be transmitted, to be given to others, to be shared with others. This is precisely our testimony.

Another element. In the professions of faith in the New Testament only men, the Apostles,
are recorded as witnesses of the Resurrection, but not the women. This is because, according to the Judaic Law of that time, women and children could not render a reliable, credible testimony. In the Gospels, on the other hand, the women have a primary, fundamental role. Here we can grasp an element in favour of the historicity of the Resurrection: if it was an invented fact, in the context of that time it would not have been linked to the testimony of women. Instead the evangelists simply narrate what happened: the women are the first witnesses. This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria: the first witnesses of the birth of Jesus are shepherds, simple and humble folk; the first witnesses of the Resurrection are women. And this is beautiful. This is a bit of the mission of women; of mothers, of women! To give witness to children, to grandchildren, that Jesus is alive, he is the living One, he is risen. Mothers and women, go onwards with this testimony! For God it is the heart that counts, how open we are to Him, if we are like children who trust in Him. But this also makes us reflect on how women, in the Church and on the pathway of faith, have had and still have today a particular role in opening the doors to the Lord, in following Him and in communicating his Face, because the gaze of faith always needs the simple and profound gaze of love. The Apostles and disciples have more difficulty in believing. The women not so. Peter runs to the sepulcher, but stops at the empty tomb; Thomas has to touch with his hands the wounds of Jesus’ body. On our pathway of faith as well it is important to know and to feel that God loves us, to be not afraid to love him: faith is professed with the lips and with the heart, with the words and with love.

After the appearances to the women, others follow: Jesus renders himself present in a new way: he is the Crucified One, but his body is glorious; he did not return to earthly life, but in a new condition. At first they do not recognize him, and it is only through his words and gestures that their eyes are opened: the encounter with the Risen One transforms, gives a new strength to faith, an unshakeable foundation. For us too there are so many signs in which the Risen One makes himself known: the Sacred Scripture, the Eucharist, the other Sacraments, charity, those gestures of love which carry a ray of the Risen One. Let us allow ourselves to be illuminated by the Resurrection of Christ, let us be transformed by his strength, so that through us too the signs of death may give way to the signs of life in the world. I have seen that there are many young people in the piazza. There you are! I say to you: carry this certainty forward: the Lord is alive and walks alongside us in life. This is your mission! To carry forward
this hope. May you be anchored to this hope: this anchor which is in heaven; hold on tight to the rope, be anchored and carry hope forward. You, witnesses of Jesus, carry forward the testimony that Jesus is alive and this will give us hope, will give hope to this world a little aged by wars, by evil, by sin. Forward young people!"


Je suis heureux de vous saluer chers amis francophones, particulièrement les jeunes venus de France, de Suisse, de Belgique, ainsi que les jeunes du Liban qui ont préparé les méditations de la Via Crucis. Laissez-vous illuminer par la résurrection du Christ et transformer par sa force pour porter au monde des signes de sa vie ! Bonne semaine pascale à tous !

[Sono lieto di salutarvi, cari amici di lingua francese, particolarmente i giovani venuti dalla Francia, dalla Svizzera, dal Belgio, come pure i giovani del Libano che hanno preparato le meditazioni della Via Crucis. Lasciatevi illuminare dalla Risurrezione di Cristo e trasformare dalla sua forza, per portare al mondo i segni della sua vita! Buona settimana pasquale a tutti!]

I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Australia, the Philippines, Canada and the United States. In a special way I greet the newly-ordained deacons from the Pontifical Irish College and their families. My greeting also goes to the delegation from the United States Senate. I thank the choirs for their praise of God in song. With great affection I invoke upon all of you the joy and peace which are the abiding gifts of the risen Lord.

[Un cordiale benvenuto a tutti i pellegrini di lingua inglese presenti all’odierna Udienza, particolarmente a quelli provenienti dall’Inghilterra, Scozia, Galles, Irlanda, Norvegia, Svezia, Australia, Filippine, Canada e Stati Uniti. In modo speciale saluto i nuovi diaconi del Pontificio Collegio Irlandese e i loro familiari. Saluto inoltre i membri di una Delegazione del Senato degli Stati Uniti d’America. Ringrazio i cori per i loro canti. Con grande affetto invoco su tutti voi la gioia e la pace, che sono i doni duraturi del Signore Risorto.]

Mit Freude grüße ich alle Pilger und Besucher deutscher Sprache. Der auferstandene Christus ist auch unter uns gegenwärtig. Wir können ihn wahrnehmen im Hören auf sein Wort, mit dem er uns den Weg weist, der zum Leben führt. Er ist gegenwärtig in der Eucharistie und er begleitet uns in unseren Werken der Nächstenliebe. Lassen wir uns von seiner Liebe verwandeln. Euch allen wünsche ich eine gnadenreiche Osterzeit!

[Saluto con gioia i pellegrini e i visitatori di lingua tedesca. Cristo Risorto è presente anche in mezzo a noi. Lo possiamo sentire nell’ascolto della sua Parola in cui Egli stesso ci indica il cammino che porta alla vita. Egli è presente nell’Eucaristia e ci accompagna nelle nostre opere di carità. Lasciamoci trasformare dal suo amore! A tutti voi auguro un fruttuoso tempo di Pasqua.]

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los grupos provenientes de España, Argentina, México y los demás países latinoamericanos. Invito a todos a acoger la alegría que nos trae el Resucitado, para que el encuentro con Jesús abra nuestro corazón a la fe y a la esperanza, haciéndonos valientes testigos de su amor.

[Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini di lingua spagnola, in particolare i gruppi venuti dalla Spagna, Argentina, Messico ed altri paesi latinoamericani. Auguro a tutti di accogliere la gioia che ci porta il Risorto, perché l’incontro con Gesù apra il nostro cuore alla fede e alla speranza, rendendoci coraggiosi testimoni del suo amore.]

Amados peregrinos de língua portuguesa, particularmente o grupo de brasileiros vindos do Paraná: alegrai-vos e exultai, porque o Senhor Jesus ressuscitou! Deixai-vos iluminar e transformar pela força da Ressurreição de Cristo, para que as vossas existências se convertam num testemunho da vida que é mais forte do que o pecado e a morte. Feliz Páscoa para todos!

[Carissimi pellegrini di lingua portoghese, in particolare il gruppo di brasiliani venuto dal Paraná: gioite ed esultate perché il Signore Gesù è risorto! Lasciatevi illuminare e trasformare dalla forza della Risurrezione di Cristo, perché le vostre esistenze diventino una testimonianza della vita che è più forte del peccato e della morte. Buona Pasqua a tutti!]

الحجاج الأحباء الناطقون باللغة العربية: إن قيامة المسيح هي أساس أيماننا المسيحي. فالقيامة لم تُولد في الكنيسة بل أن الكنيسةَ قد
ولِدت من القيامة. فلا تخافوا من أن تبشروا بـ"المسيح مصلوبا وقائما ومنتصرا على الشر وعلى الموت"، عبر شهادة الحياة اليومية وأفعال الرحمة والمغفرة والمحبة تجاه الجميع. عيد فصح مبارك!. ولكم جميعا أمنح البركة الرسولية!

[Cari pellegrini di lingua araba: la Risurrezione di Cristo è il fondamento della nostra fede cristiana. Non fu la Risurrezione a nascere nella Chiesa, ma la Chiesa a nascere dal seno della risurrezione. Perciò, non abbiate paura di annunciare Cristo Crocifisso, Risorto, Vincitore del male e della morte, attraverso la testimonianza della vostra vita quotidiana e nei gesti di compassione, di perdono, di misericordia e di amore verso tutti. Buona Pasqua! E a tutti imparto la Benedizione Apostolica!]

Witam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, przeżywając – w tych dniach szczególnie – spotkanie ze zmartwychwstałym Panem, pozwólcie, aby Jego blask przeniknął wasze umysły i serca, i by przemieniała was Jego moc, abyście byli świadkami wiary wobec współczesnego świata. Niech życie wasze i waszych rodzin napełnia radość wielkanocnego poranka! Niech Bóg wam błogosławi!

[Do il benvenuto ai pellegrini polacchi. Cari fratelli e sorelle, vivendo — particolarmente in questi giorni — l’incontro con il Signore risorto, lasciate che la sua luce illumini le vostre menti e i vostri cuori e che la sua forza vi trasformi, affinché siate testimoni della fede davanti al mondo contemporaneo. La vita vostra e delle vostre famiglie sia colma della gioia del mattino pasquale! Dio vi benedica!]

* * *

Mentre parlava lo speaker per i saluti in italiano, il Papa ha detto questa frase in risposta ai numerosi applausi:

"Davvero sono entusiasti questi milanesi, eh!"

Saluto con affetto i pellegrini di lingua italiana. In particolare, accolgo con gioia il grande pellegrinaggio della Diocesi di Milano, guidato dal Cardinale Angelo Scola, e specialmente i ragazzi quattordicenni, che si preparano alla loro professione di fede. Cari ragazzi, prego per voi, perché la vostra fede diventi convinta, robusta, come una pianta che cresce e porta buoni frutti. Il Vangelo sia la vostra regola di vita, come lo fu per san Francesco d’Assisi. Leggete il Vangelo, meditatelo, seguitelo: umiltà, semplicità, fraternità, servizio; tutto nella fiducia in Dio Padre, nella gioia di avere un Padre nei cieli, che vi ascolta sempre e parla al vostro cuore. Seguite la sua voce, e porterete frutto nell’amore! Cari ragazzi.

Saluto i fedeli della Diocesi di Modena-Nonantola, con il loro Vescovo, Mons. Lanfranchi; saluto i nuovi Diaconi della Compagnia di Gesù, con i loro familiari; le Religiose e i Religiosi; i numerosi gruppi parrocchiali e le associazioni. Per tutti invoco la gioia e la speranza che derivano dalla Pasqua di Cristo.

A voi, cari giovani, e siete tanti, auguro di fare esperienza di Gesù Cristo vivo, per diventare suoi testimoni. Voi, cari malati, possiate sentire il conforto della presenza del Signore risorto. E voi, cari sposi novelli, accoglietelo ogni giorno nella vostra vita coniugale."

Francis - General Audience, Wednesday, 3 April 2013, St Peter's Square