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Easter 2006

Pope Benedict XVI's homily at the Easter Vigil
Saint Peter's Basilica, 15 April 2006 - also in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
"You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here" (Mk 16:6). With these words, God’s messenger, robed in light, spoke to the women who were looking for the body of Jesus in the tomb. But the Evangelist says the same thing to us on this holy night: Jesus is not a character from the past. He lives, and he walks before us as one who is alive, he calls us to follow Him, the living one, and in this way to discover for ourselves too the path of life.

"He has risen, he is not here." When Jesus spoke for the first time to the disciples about the cross and the resurrection, as they were coming down from the Mount of the Transfiguration, they questioned what "rising from the dead" meant (Mk 9:10). At Easter we rejoice because Christ did not remain in the tomb, his body did not see corruption; He belongs to the world of the living, not to the world of the dead; we rejoice because He is the Alpha and at the same time the Omega, as we proclaim in the rite of the paschal Candle; he lives not only yesterday, but today and for eternity (cf Heb 13:8). But somehow the resurrection is situated so far beyond our horizon, so far outside all our experience that, returning to ourselves, we find ourselves continuing the argument of the disciples: Of what exactly does this "rising" consist? What does it mean for us, for the whole world and the whole of history? A German theologian once said ironically that the miracle of a corpse returning to life - if it really happened, which he did not actually believe - would be ultimately irrelevant precisely because it would not concern us. In fact, if it were simply that somebody was once brought back to life, and no more than that, in what way should this concern us? But the resurrection of Christ is, just that, something more, something different. If we may borrow the language of the theory of evolution, it is the greatest "mutation", absolutely the most crucial leap into a totally new dimension that there has ever been in the long history of life and its development: a leap into a completely new order which does concern us, and concerns the whole of history.

The discussion, that began with the disciples, would therefore include the following questions: What happened there? What does it mean for us, for the whole world and for me personally? Above all: what happened? Jesus is no longer in the tomb. He is in a totally new life. But how could this happen? What forces were in operation? The crucial point is that this man Jesus was not alone, he was not an "I" closed in upon itself. He was one single reality with the living God, so closely united with Him as to form one person with Him. He found Himself, so to speak, in an embrace with Him who is life itself, an embrace not just on the emotional level, but one which included and permeated his being. His own life was not just his own, it was an existential communion with God, a "being taken up" into God, and hence it could not in reality be taken away from Him. Out of love, He could allow Himself to be killed, but precisely by doing so he broke the definitiveness of death, because in Him the definitiveness of life was present. He was one single reality with indestructible life, in such a way that it burst forth anew through death. Let us express the same thing once again from another angle. His death was an act of love. At the Last Supper He anticipated death and transformed it into self-giving. His existential communion with God was concretely an existential communion with God’s love, and this love is the real power against death, it is stronger than death. The resurrection was like an explosion of light, an explosion of love which dissolved the hitherto indissoluble compenetration of "dying and becoming". It ushered in a new dimension of being, a new dimension of life in which, in a transformed way, matter too was integrated and through which a new world emerges.

It is clear that this event is not just some miracle from the past, the occurrence of which could be ultimately a matter of indifference to us. It is a qualitative leap in the history of "evolution" and of life in general towards a new future life, towards a new world which, starting from Christ, already continuously permeates this world of ours, transforms it and draws it to itself. But how does this happen? How can this event effectively reach me and draw my life upwards towards itself? The answer, perhaps surprising at first but totally real, is: this event comes to me through faith and Baptism. For this reason Baptism is part of the Easter Vigil, as we see clearly in our celebration today, when the sacraments of Christian initiation will be conferred on a group of adults from various countries. Baptism means precisely this, that we are not dealing with an event in the past, but that a qualitative leap in world history comes to me, seizing hold of me in order to draw me on. Baptism is something quite different from an act of ecclesial socialization, from a slightly old-fashioned and complicated rite for receiving people into the Church. It is also more than a simple washing, more than a kind of purification and beautification of the soul. It is truly death and resurrection, rebirth, transformation to a new life.

How can we understand this? I think that what happens in Baptism can be more easily explained for us if we consider the final part of the short spiritual autobiography that St Paul gave us in his Letter to the Galatians. Its concluding words contain the heart of this biography: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal 2:20). I live, but I am no longer I. The "I", the essential identity of man - of this man, Paul - has been changed. He still exists, and he no longer exists. He has passed through a "not" and he now finds himself continually in this "not": I, but no longer I. With these words, Paul is not describing some mystical experience which could perhaps have been granted him, and could be of interest to us from a historical point of view, if at all. No, this phrase is an expression of what happened at Baptism. My "I" is taken away from me and is incorporated into a new and greater subject. This means that my "I" is back again, but now transformed, broken up, opened through incorporation into the other, in whom it acquires its new breadth of existence. Paul explains the same thing to us once again from another angle when, in chapter 3 of the Letter to the Galatians, he speaks of the "promise", saying that it was given to an individual - to one person: to Christ. He alone carries within Himself the whole "promise". But what then happens with us? Paul answers: You have become one in Christ (cf Gal 3:28). Not just one thing, but one, one only, one single new subject. This liberation of our "I" from its isolation, this finding oneself in a new subject means finding oneself within the vastness of God and being drawn into a life which has now moved out of the context of "dying and becoming". The great explosion of the Resurrection has seized us in Baptism so as to draw us on. Thus we are associated with a new dimension of life into which, amid the tribulations of our day, we are already in some way introduced. To live one’s own life as a continual entry into this open space: this is the meaning of being baptized, of being Christian. This is the joy of the Easter Vigil. The Resurrection is not a thing of the past, the Resurrection has reached us and seized us. We grasp hold of it, we grasp hold of the risen Lord, and we know that he holds us firmly even when our hands grow weak. We grasp hold of his hand, and thus we also hold on to one another’s hands, and we become one single subject, not just one thing. I, but no longer I: this is the formula of Christian life rooted in Baptism, the formula of the Resurrection within time. I, but no longer I: if we live in this way, we transform the world. It is a formula contrary to all ideologies of violence, it is a programme opposed to corruption and to the desire for power and possession.

"I live and you will live also", says Jesus in St John’s Gospel (14:19) to his disciples, that is, to us. We will live through our existential communion with him, through being taken up into him who is life itself. Eternal life, blessed immortality, we have not by ourselves or in ourselves, but through a relation - through existential communion with him who is Truth and Love and is therefore eternal: God himself. Simple indestructibility of the soul by itself could not give meaning to eternal life, it could not make it a true life. Life comes to us from being loved by him who is Life; it comes to us from living-with and loving-with him. I, but no longer I: this is the way of the Cross, the way that "crosses over" a life simply closed in on the I, thereby opening up the road towards true and lasting joy.

Thus we can sing full of joy, together with the Church, in the words of the Exsultet: "Sing, choirs of angels . . . rejoice, O earth!" The Resurrection is a cosmic event, which includes heaven and earth and links them together. In the words of the Exsultet once again, we can proclaim: "Christ . . . who came back from the dead and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever". Amen!

Pope Benedict XVI's Catechesis on the significance of the Pascal Triduum
Saint Peter's Basilica, 15 April 2006 - also in Croatian, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Tomorrow begins the Easter Triduum, the fulcrum of the entire liturgical year. With the help of the sacred rites of Holy Thursday, of Good Friday and of the solemn Easter Vigil, we will relive the mystery of the passion, death and Resurrection of the Lord. These are fitting days for reawakening within us a deeper desire to adhere to Christ and to follow him generously, aware that he loved us to the point of giving his life for us. Indeed, what are the events that the Sacred Triduum presents to us anew, other than the sublime manifestation of God's love for man? Let us therefore prepare to celebrate the Easter Triduum by accepting St Augustine's exhortation: "Consider now with attention these three most sacred days... of the Lord's Crucifixion, rest in the grave and Resurrection. Of these three, that of which the Cross is the symbol is the business of our present life: those things which are symbolized by his rest in the grave and his Resurrection we hold by faith and hope" (Letter 55, 14, 24).

The Triduum of Easter begins tomorrow, Holy Thursday, with the evening Mass, "in Cena Domini", although in the morning another important liturgical celebration is usually held, the Chrism Mass, during which the entire presbyterate of every Diocese, gathered round the Bishop, renews the priestly promises and participates in the blessing of the oils of the catechumens, of the sick and of the Chrism, and we will do this too, here in St Peter's tomorrow morning. In addition to the institution of the Priesthood, the total offering that Christ made of himself to humanity in the Sacrament of the Eucharist is commemorated on this holy day. As Holy Scripture records, on that same night on which he was betrayed, he left us the "new commandment" - "mandatum novum" - of brotherly love with the touching gesture of the washing of the feet, which is reminiscent of the humble service of slaves. This unique day, which calls to mind great mysteries, ends with Eucharistic Adoration, in memory of the agony of the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the grip of profound anguish, the Gospel relates, Jesus asked his disciples to watch and pray with him: "Remain here, and watch with me" (Mt 26: 38), but the disciples fell asleep. Still today, the Lord says to us: "Remain here, and watch with me"; and we realize that we too, disciples of today, are frequently dozing. For Jesus, that was the hour of abandonment and loneliness, followed by his arrest in the heart of the night and the beginning of the painful journey to Calvary.

Good Friday is focused on the mystery of the Passion. It is a day of fasting and penance, completely oriented to contemplation of Christ on the Cross. In churches, the Passion Narrative is proclaimed and the words of the Prophet Zechariah ring out: "They shall look upon him whom they have pierced" (Jn 19: 37). And on Good Friday we too desire to truly turn our gaze to the pierced heart of the Redeemer, in which, St Paul writes, "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col 2: 3), indeed, "in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily" (Col 2: 9). As a result, the Apostle can affirm that he wants nothing except "Jesus Christ and him crucified" (I Cor 2: 2). It is true: the Cross shows "the breadth and length and height and depth" - the cosmic dimensions is the meaning - of a love that surpasses all knowledge, a love that goes beyond what is known and fills us "with all the fullness of God" (Eph 3: 18-19). In the mystery of the Crucified One "is the culmination of that turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up and save him. This is love in its most radical form" (Deus Caritas Est, n. 12). The Cross of Christ, Pope St Leo the Great wrote in the fifth century, "is the fount of all blessings, the source of all graces" (Discourse 8 on the Passion of the Lord, 6-8; PL 54, 340-342).

On Holy Saturday the Church, spiritually united with Mary, remains in prayer at the tomb, where the Body of the Son of God is lying inert as it were in a condition of repose after the creative work of redemption brought about with his death (cf. Heb 4: 1-13). Late at night the solemn Easter Vigil will begin, during which the joyful singing of the Gloria and Easter Alleluia will well up from the hearts of the newly baptized and the entire Christian community, rejoicing because Christ is risen and has conquered death.

Dear brothers and sisters, for a fruitful celebration of Easter, the Church asks the faithful in these days to receive the Sacrament of Penance, which is like a sort of death and resurrection for each one of us. In the ancient Christian community, the Bishop presided at the Rite of the Reconciliation of Penitents on Holy Thursday. Historical conditions have certainly changed, but preparing oneself for Easter with a good confession continues to be an action to make the most of, because it offers us the possibility of giving our life a fresh start and of truly having a new beginning in the joy of the Risen One and in the communion of the forgiveness that he gives us. Aware that we are sinners but trusting in divine mercy, let us be reconciled by Christ, to enjoy more intensely the joy that he communicates with his Resurrection. The forgiveness which Christ gives to us in the Sacrament of Penance is a source of interior and exterior peace and makes us apostles of peace in a world where divisions, suffering and the tragedies of injustice, hatred and violence and the inability to be reconciled to one another in order to start again with a sincere pardon, unfortunately continue. However, we know that evil does not have the last word, because it was the Crucified and Risen Christ who overcame it, and his triumph is expressed with the power of merciful love. His Resurrection gives us this certainty: despite all the darkness that exists in the world, evil does not have the last word. Sustained by this certainty, we will be able, with greater courage and enthusiasm, to commit ourselves to work for the birth of a more just world.

I wholeheartedly formulate this wish for you, dear brothers and sisters, as I express the hope that you will prepare yourselves with faith and devotion for the Easter festivities that are now at hand. May you be accompanied by Mary Most Holy, who, after following her divine Son in the hour of the Passion and the Cross, shared in the joy of his Resurrection."

Saluti:

"Je salue cordialement les pèlerins francophones présents ce matin. Puissiez-vous préparer vos cœurs à célébrer ces jours saints et, dans le sacrement de Pénitence, vous laisser réconcilier avec le Christ, accueillant son pardon, pour goûter plus intensément la joie que sa résurrection vous communique.

I warmly welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims present, including the pupils and staff from De Lisle Catholic College. May your Holy Week pilgrimage be a time of great spiritual encouragement and renewal. I invoke an abundance of God’s blessings upon you and your families, and I wish everyone a happy and holy Easter!

Einen glaubensfrohen Gruß richte ich an euch, liebe Pilger und Besucher deutscher Sprache, besonders an die Oberösterreicher mit ihrem Landeshauptmann und an die Jugendlichen aus Eichstätt. - Die Feier des österlichen Triduums nimmt uns hinein in das Erlösungsopfer Christi. Wir wollen uns darauf auch durch den Empfang des Bußsakraments vorbereiten. Die Beichte ist eine Quelle des Friedens und macht uns zu Aposteln des Friedens. Der Herr schenke euch die Gnade, als "neue Menschen" in dieser Welt zu wirken. Allen eine gesegnete Karwoche!

Saludo a los peregrinos de España y América Latina, especialmente a los del apostolado de los Agustinos Recoletos y a los de la Obra de la Iglesia. También a los de Valladolid, León y Chile y a los estudiantes de Barcelona y Quito. Preparaos a las fiestas de Pascua con una buena confesión. Dejaos reconciliar por Cristo. Su perdón, es fuente de paz y os hace apóstoles de paz en el mundo. Que María Santísima, la cual siguió fielmente a su Hijo en su pasión y compartió la alegría de su resurrección, os acompañe.

Serdecznie pozdrawiam pielgrzymów polskich. Dni Wielkiego Tygodnia ukazują nam zbawcze tajemnice męki, śmierci i zmartwychwstania Chrystusa. Niech będą dla wszystkich czasem łaski i nawrócenia. Życzę wam godnego przygotowania do świąt i radosnego spotkania ze Zmartwychwstałym. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.

Brangūs piligrimai iš Lietuvos! Jus nuoširdžiai sveikinu ir linkiu, kad šis brangus maldos ir atgailos laikotarpis vestu link tikrosios mūsų gyvenimo vilties Kristaus - vienintelio mūsų Išganytojo. Viešpats telaimina Jus ir Jūsų šeimas. Garbė Jėzui Kristui!

Pozdravljam sve hrvatske hodočasnike. Spasitelj naš, svojom smrću na križu oprostio nam je grijehe, a uskrsnućem darovao novi život. Predragi, utisnite u srce tu njegovu ljubav kao svoje najvrjednije blago. Hvaljen Isus i Marija!


***

Rivolgo ora un caro saluto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. In particolare, saluto la Comunità monastica cistercense di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme di Roma, i fedeli della parrocchia Cristo Redentore, in Recanati, i partecipanti al pellegrinaggio promosso dal Comitato regionale toscano dell’Associazione Italiana Arbitri. Auspico cordialmente che questa Settimana Santa sia per tutti una provvida occasione per rafforzare la propria fede in Cristo crocifisso e risorto.

Lastly, I offer a cordial greeting to the young people, the sick and the newly-weds. Dear friends, prepare your hearts to celebrate the Easter Mystery with deep participation, to draw from contemplation of the death and Resurrection of Christ, the light that enables you to walk faithfully in the Redeemer's footsteps. In this regard I wish you all a good Holy Week and a Holy Easter."

Pope Benedict XVI's Catechesis on the significance of Easter
Saint Peter's Square, 19 April 2006 - also in Croatian, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
At the beginning of today's General Audience which is taking place in the joyful atmosphere of Easter, I would like to thank the Lord together with you. After calling me, exactly a year ago, to serve the Church as the Successor of the Apostle Peter - thank you for your joy, thank you for your applause - he never fails to assist me with his indispensable help. How quickly time passes! A year has already elapsed since the Cardinals gathered in Conclave and, in a way I found absolutely unexpected and surprising, desired to choose my poor self to succeed the late and beloved Servant of God, the great Pope John Paul II. I remember with emotion my first impact with the faithful gathered in this same Square, from the central Loggia of the Basilica, immediately after my election. That meeting is still impressed upon my mind and heart. It was followed by many others that have given me an opportunity to experience the deep truth of my words at the solemn concelebration with which I formally began to exercise my Petrine ministry: "I too can say with renewed conviction: I am not alone. I do not have to carry alone what in truth I could never carry alone" (L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 27 April 2005, p. 2).And I feel more and more that alone I could not carry out this task, this mission. But I also feel that you are carrying it with me: thus, I am in a great communion and together we can go ahead with the Lord's mission. The heavenly protection of God and of the saints is an irreplaceable support to me and I am comforted by your closeness, dear friends, who do not let me do without the gift of your indulgence and your love. I offer very warm thanks to all those who in various ways support me from close at hand or follow me from afar in spirit with their affection and their prayers. I ask each one to continue to support me, praying to God to grant that I may be a gentle and firm Pastor of his Church.

The Evangelist John says that precisely after his Resurrection Jesus called Peter to tend his flock (cf. Jn 21: 15, 23). Who could have humanly imagined then the development which was to mark that small group of the Lord's disciples down the centuries? Peter, together with the Apostles and then their successors, first in Jerusalem and later to the very ends of the earth, courageously spread the Gospel message, whose fundamental and indispensable core consists in the Paschal Mystery: the Passion, the death and the Resurrection of Christ. The Church celebrates this mystery at Easter, extending its joyous resonance in the days that follow; she sings the alleluia for Christ's triumph over evil and death. The celebration of Easter in accordance with a date on the calendar, Pope St Leo the Great remarked, reminds us of the eternal feast that surpasses all human time. Today's Easter, he noted further, is the shadow of the future Easter. For this reason we celebrate it, to move on from an annual celebration to a celebration that will last for ever. The joy of these days extends throughout the liturgical year and is renewed especially on Sunday, the day dedicated to the memory of the Lord's Resurrection. On Sunday, as it were, the "little Easter" of every week, the liturgical assembly gathered for Holy Mass proclaims in the Creed that Jesus rose on the third day, adding that we wait for "the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come". This shows that the event of Jesus' death and Resurrection constitutes the centre of our faith and that it is on this proclamation that the Church is founded and develops. St Augustine recalled incisively: "Let us consider, dear friends, the Resurrection of Christ: indeed, just as his Passion stood for our old life, his Resurrection is a sacrament of new life.... You have believed, you have been baptized; the old life is dead, killed on the Cross, buried in Baptism. The old life in which you lived is buried: the new life emerges. Live well: live life in such a way that when death comes you will not die (Sermo Guelferb. 9, 3).

The Gospel accounts that mention the appearances of the Risen One usually end with the invitation to overcome every uncertainty, to confront the event with the Scriptures, to proclaim that Jesus, beyond death, is alive for ever, a source of new life for all who believe in him. This is what happened, for example, in the case of Mary Magdalene (cf. Jn 20: 11-18), who found the tomb open and empty and immediately feared that the body of the Lord had been taken away. The Lord then called her by name and at that point a deep change took place within her: her distress and bewilderment were transformed into joy and enthusiasm. She promptly went to the Apostles and announced to them: "I have seen the Lord" (Jn 20: 18). Behold: those who meet the Risen Jesus are inwardly transformed; it is impossible "to see" the Risen One without "believing" in him. Let us pray that he will call each one of us by name and thus convert us, opening us to the "vision" of faith. Faith is born from the personal encounter with the Risen Christ and becomes an impulse of courage and freedom that makes one cry to the world: "Jesus is risen and alive for ever". This is the mission of the Lord's disciples in every epoch and also in our time: "If, then, you have been raised with Christ", St Paul exhorts us, "seek the things that are above.... Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth" (Col 3: 1-2). This does not mean cutting oneself off from one's daily commitments, neglecting earthly realities; rather, it means reviving every human activity with a supernatural breath, it means making ourselves joyful proclaimers and witnesses of the Resurrection of Christ, living for eternity (cf. Jn 20: 25; Lk 24: 33-34).

Dear brothers and sisters, in the Pasch of his Only-begotten Son, God fully revealed himself, his victorious power over the forces of death, the power of Trinitarian Love. May the Virgin Mary, who was closely associated with the Passion, death and Resurrection of the Son and at the foot of the Cross became the Mother of all believers, help us to understand this mystery of love that changes hearts and makes us experience fully the joy of Easter, so that we in turn may be able to communicate it to the men and women of the third millennium."

Saluti:

"Je salue cordialement les pèlerins francophones, en particulier les séminaristes du diocèse de Fréjus-Toulon, avec Mgr Dominique Rey, les étudiants de l’archidiocèse de Cambrai, avec Mgr François Garnier, ainsi que tous les jeunes, notamment ceux de Reims et de Joigny. Que la Vierge Marie vous aide à comprendre le mystère de l’amour de Dieu victorieux de la mort; qu’elle nous fasse goûter la joie pascale, pour la communiquer à tous nos contemporains.

I offer a warm welcome to the newly-ordained deacons of the Pontifical Irish College and their families. I also greet the pilgrims from the Diocese of Kerry. Upon all the English-speaking visitors, especially those from Ireland, Switzerland, Australia, Canada and the United States, I invoke an abundance of joy and peace in the Risen Lord.

Mit herzlicher österlicher Freude grüße ich die zahlreichen Pilger und Besucher aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache, besonders die Teilnehmer der Jugenddiözesanwallfahrt Regensburg, die Bundespolizeiseelsorge in Bayern, die Diözesanräte aus Rottenburg-Stuttgart mit ihrem Bischof und die vielen anderen größeren und kleineren Gruppen. Die Freude des auferstandenen Herrn Jesus Christus erfülle eure Herzen und mache euer Leben hell. Euch allen einen glücklichen und gesegneten Tag!

Saludo con afecto a los visitantes de Latinoamérica y de España, de modo especial a los Religiosos Agustinos, a los seminaristas de Madrid y a los numerosos grupos parroquiales y escolares españoles, así como a los diversos peregrinos de Argentina, Costa Rica, El Salvador y México. Que la Virgen María nos ayude a comprender este gran misterio de amor que cambia los corazones y nos hacer gustar la alegría pascual. Muchas gracias por vuestra atención.

Caríssimos amigos, Jesus Cristo vive. Esta é a certeza que a Igreja põe em nossos corações, nesta semana da Oitava de Páscoa. Ela nos convida a fazer refletir em nossas vidas a presença do Ressuscitado, sendo testemunhas credíveis da Sua presença no mundo. A todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, especialmente ao grupo de portugueses aqui presentes, renovo meus votos de Felizes Páscoas, exortando-vos a proclamar a grandeza do amor de Deus, mediante uma vida autenticamente cristã.

Pozdrawiam obecnych tu Polaków. W duchu wielkanocnej radości, w pierwszą rocznicę pontyfikatu, dziękuję Wam za życzliwość i za modlitwy. Niech pokój, który przynosi zmartwychwstały Chrystus, stale towarzyszy Wam i wszystkim Waszym rodakom. Niech Bóg Wam błogosławi. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.

S velikom uskrsnom radošću pozdravljam sve hrvatske hodočasnike! Svakodnevni susret i hod sa živim Gospodinom na putu života, neka vam ražari srca kako bi oduševljeno svjedočili svoju vjeru i naviještali silna Božja djela! Hvaljen Isus i Marija!

***

Cari fratelli e sorelle, grazie per il vostro affetto e per la vostra amicizia. Con affetto mi rivolgo ora ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. In particolare, saluto i rappresentanti della Federazione Istituti di Attività Educative provenienti dalla Toscana e accompagnati dal Vescovo di Livorno Mons. Diego Coletti. Saluto poi i fedeli della parrocchia della Trafigurazione, in Succivo e l'Associazione delle Forze di Polizia dell'Abruzzo.

Sono lieto inoltre di salutare i numerosi giovani provenienti dall'Arcidiocesi di Milano - si vede e si sente che sono numerosi -, che quest'anno fanno la loro "Professione di Fede" - e anche la vostra presenza qui è già una professione di fede -, e i ragazzi "missionari" della diocesi di Ugento-Santa Maria di Leuca. Cari ragazzi e giovani, come ai primi discepoli, Cristo risorto invita anche voi ad essere suoi testimoni. Rispondete con gioia e con amore a questo mandato e sarete seminatori di speranza nel cuore dei vostri coetanei.

My thoughts now go to the sick and to the newly-weds. For you, dear sick people, may the Resurrection of Christ be an inexhaustible source of comfort and hope. And you, dear newly-weds, may you be witnesses of the Risen Lord with your faithful conjugal love.

***

APPELLO DEL SANTO PADRE SUL MEDIO ORIENTE

Con grande dolore ho appreso la notizia del terribile attentato avvenuto lunedì scorso a Tel Aviv, in Israele, e sento il dovere di esprimere la più ferma condanna per tale atto terroristico. Non è con simili esecrabili atti che si possono tutelare i pur legittimi diritti di un popolo. Il Signore, Principe della pace, sia vicino ad israeliani e palestinesi affinché non si lascino andare ad una tragica deriva, ma riprendano i passi che li portino a vivere in pace e sicurezza, gli uni accanto agli altri, come figli dello stesso padre che sta nei cieli."