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).
General Audience, April 19, 2006