Text of Pope's Easter Message

Official Vatican translation of Pope John Paul II's Easter message

``Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando.''

Death and life have contended in that stupendous combat: The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal. Once again, today, the whole church pauses in amazement at the empty tomb. Like Mary Magdalen and the other women, who came to anoint with spices the body of the crucified one, like the Apostles Peter and John who came running at the word of the women, the church bows before the tomb in which her Lord was placed after the crucifixion.

A month ago, as pilgrim in the Holy Land, I had the grace of kneeling before the stone slab which marks the place of Jesus' burial. Today, Easter Sunday, I make my own the proclamation of the heavenly messenger: ``He is risen, he is not here'' (Mark 16:6). Yes, life and death were locked in combat and Life was victorious for ever. All is once again orientated to life, to Eternal Life!

``Victimae paschali laudes immolent christiani.''

``Christians, to the paschal Victim offer sacrifice and praise. The sheep are ransomed by the Lamb; and Christ, the undefiled, has sinners to his Father reconciled.'' The words of the Easter sequence marvelously express the mystery accomplished in Christ's Passover. They point to the power of renewal flowing from his Resurrection. With the weapons of love, God has defeated sin and death. The Eternal Son, who emptied himself to become the obedient servant to the point of dying on the Cross (Philippians 2:7-8), has conquered evil at its roots by opening to contrite hearts the path of return to the Father. He is the gate of Life who at Easter overcomes the gates of hell. He is the Door of salvation, opened wide for all, the Door of divine mercy, who sheds a new light on human existence.


The Risen Christ signals the paths of hope along which we can advance together toward a world more just and mutually supportive, in which the blind egoism of the few will not prevail over the cries of pain of the many, reducing entire peoples to conditions of degrading misery. May the message of life proclaimed by the angel near the stone rolled back from the tomb overturn the hardness of our hearts; may it lead to removing unjustified barriers and promote a fruitful exchange between peoples and cultures. May the image of the new man, shining on the face of Christ, cause everyone to acknowledge the inalienable value of human life; may it encourage effective responses to the increasingly felt demand for justice and equal opportunity in all areas of society; may it impel individuals and States to full respect for the essential and authentic rights rooted in the very nature of the human person.

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