Pope Francis delivers his blessing during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 10. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Today Pope Francis’ delivered his weekly General Audience
catechesis to a packed St. Peter’s Square. The
full text of the address, as translated by Vatican Radio, is below.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good day!
In the last Catechesis we have focused on the event of the
Resurrection of Jesus, in which women have played a special role. Today I would
like to reflect on its meaning for salvation. What does the Resurrection mean
for our lives? And why, without it, is our faith in vain? Our faith is based on
the death and resurrection of Christ, just like a house built on foundations:
if they give in, the whole house collapses. On the Cross, Jesus offered himself
taking sins upon himself our and going down into the abyss of death, and in the
Resurrection he defeats them, he removes them and opens up to us the path to be
reborn to a new life. St. Peter expresses it briefly at the beginning of his
First Letter, as we have heard: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that
is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you"(1:3-4).
The Apostle tells us that the Resurrection of Jesus is
something new: we are freed from the slavery of sin and become children of God,
that we are born to a new life. When does this happen to us? In the Sacrament
of Baptism. In ancient times, it was normally received through immersion. Those
to be baptized immersed themselves in the large pool within the Baptistery,
leaving their clothes, and the bishop or the priest would pour water over their
head three times, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the
Holy Spirit. Then the baptized would emerge from the pool and put on a new
vestment, a white one: they were born to a new life, immersing themselves in
the death and resurrection of Christ. They had become children of God. In the
Letter to the Romans Saint Paul writes: you " For you did not receive a
spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of
adoption, through which we cry, “Abba,Father! '"(Rom. 8:15). It is the Holy Spirit
that we received in baptism that teaches us, leads us to say to God, "Father."
Or rather, Abba Father. This is our God, He is a father to us. The Holy Spirit
produces in us this new status as children of God, and this is the greatest
gift we receive from the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. And God treats us as His
children, He understands us, forgives us, embraces us, loves us even when we
make mistakes. In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah said that even though a
mother may forget her child, God never, ever forgets us (cf. 49:15). And this
is a beautiful thing, beautiful!
However, this filial relationship with God is not like a
treasure to be kept in a corner of our lives. It must grow, it must be
nourished every day by hearing the Word of God, prayer, participation in the
sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist and charity.
We can live as children! We can live as children! And this is our dignity. So
let us behave as true children! This means that each day we must let Christ
transform us and make us like Him; it means trying to live as Christians, trying
to follow him, even if we see our limitations and our weaknesses. The
temptation to put God to one side, to put ourselves at the center is
ever-present and the experience of sin wounds our Christian life, our being
children of God. This is why we must have the courage of faith, we must resist
being led to the mentality that tells us: "There is no need for God, He is
not that important for you". It is the exact opposite: only by behaving as
children of God, without being discouraged by our falls, can we feel loved by
Him, our life will be new, inspired by serenity and joy. God is our strength!
God is our hope!
Dear brothers and sisters, we must first firmly
have this hope and we must be visible, clear, brilliant signs of hope in world.
The Risen Lord is the hope that never fails, that does not disappoint (cf. Rom
5:5). God’s hope never disappoints! How many times in our life do our hopes
vanish, how many times do the expectations that we carry in our heart not come
true! The hope of Christians is strong, safe and sound in this land, where God
has called us to walk, and is open to eternity, because it is founded on God,
who is always faithful. We should never forget this; God is always faithful!
God is always faithful! Be risen with Christ through Baptism, with the gift of
faith, to an imperishable inheritance, leads us to increasingly search for the
things of God, to think of Him more, to pray more. Christianity is not simply a
matter of following commandments; it is about living a new life, being in Christ,
thinking and acting like Christ, and being transformed by the love of Christ,
it is allowing Him take possession of our lives and change them, transform
them, to free them from the darkness of evil and sin.
Dear brothers and sisters, to those who ask us
our reasons for the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pt 3:15), let us point to the
Risen Christ. Let us point to Him with the proclamation of the Word, but
especially with our resurrected life. Let us show the joy of being children of
God, the freedom he gifts us to live in Christ, who is true freedom, freedom
from the slavery of evil, sin and death! In looking to our heavenly home, we
will also have a new light and strength in our commitment and in our daily
efforts. It is a precious service that we give to our world, which is often no
longer able to lift its gaze upwards, it no longer seems able to lift its gaze