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Wednesday, April 15, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 12 APR 2009 (VIS) - At 10.30 this morning, Benedict XVI celebrated the Easter Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord in St. Peter's Square.

  In his homily, the Holy Father quoted St. Paul's "triumphant words" to the effect that "Christ, our Paschal lamb, has been sacrificed!" And he went on: "The central symbol of salvation history - the Paschal lamb - is here identified with Jesus, Who is called 'our Paschal lamb'" because "in His Passion and death, Jesus reveals Himself as the Lamb of God, 'sacrificed' on the Cross, to take away the sins of the world".

  "On the basis of this new meaning of the Paschal feast, we can also understand St. Paul's interpretation of the 'leaven'. The Apostle is referring to an ancient Hebrew usage: according to which, on the occasion of the Passover, it was necessary to remove from the household every tiny scrap of leavened bread. On the one hand, this served to recall what had happened to their forefathers at the time of the flight from Egypt: leaving the country in haste, they had brought with them only unleavened bread. At the same time, though, the 'unleavened bread' was a symbol of purification: removing the old to make space for the new. Now, St. Paul explains, this ancient tradition likewise acquires a new meaning, once more derived from the new 'Exodus', which is Jesus' passage from death to eternal life. And since Christ, as the true Lamb, sacrificed Himself for us, we too, His disciples - thanks to Him and through Him - can and must be the 'new dough', the 'unleavened bread', liberated from every residual element of the old yeast of sin: no more evil and wickedness in our heart.

  "'Let us celebrate the feast ... with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth', Benedict XVI added. "This exhortation from St. Paul, which concludes the short reading that was proclaimed a few moments ago, resounds even more powerfully in the context of the Pauline Year. Dear brothers and sisters, let us accept the Apostle's invitation; let us open our spirit to Christ, Who has died and is risen in order to renew us, in order to remove from our hearts the poison of sin and death, and to pour in the life-blood of the Holy Spirit: divine and eternal life".

  "And if Jesus is risen, and is therefore alive, who will ever be able to separate us from Him? Who will ever be able to deprive us of the love of Him Who has conquered hatred and overcome death? The Easter proclamation spreads throughout the world", Pope Benedict concluded. "The Risen One goes before us and He accompanies us along the paths of the world. He is our hope, He is the true peace of the world".
BXVI-HOLY WEEK/EASTER SUNDAY/...            VIS 20090415 (490)

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