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BUENOS AIRES: April 7, 2010
Paschal Epistle of Bishop John of Caracas and South America

Christ is Risen!

Faithful sons and daughters of Christ's Church, my dear brothers and sisters,
throughout Christendom the churches resound with triumphant hymnody, praising the Lord's resurrection from the dead.

Last week Christians turned their hearts to the remembrance and commemoration of the final days of the earthly life of the incarnate Son of God. They were overcome by the great mystery of His Passion and with aching heart wondered at the depths of human evil and ingratitude, but today, by the grace of God, they soar with the joy of the Resurrection of their Saviour.

Where there was darkness, there is now light; where there was sorrow, joy; instead of human malice, God's boundless love.

Christ's resurrection is the foundation of our whole faith, of all our hope, as St Paul says, if Christ is not risen, then our faith is in vain... then we are the most unfortunate of men (1 Cor. 15: 17-19). But Christ truly is risen, and we ourselves have seen it with the eyes of faith. And not only! If, at the end of the fourth century, St Augustine saw the flourishing of Christ's Church after the persecutions, inexplicable from a human perspective, as the greatest proof of Christ's resurrection, then we also, with
our own eyes have seen, in our own time, how the risen Christ has raised His Church, His mystical body, which was for so many years oppressed by the atheist enemies of God and man. But, alas, just as in the time of the Gospels, the enemies of Christ, unable to accept His resurrection, claimed that the disciples had stolen His body, so also today, there are those who do not wish to recognize the resurrection of His Church and would claim that it has been stolen.

We, as Christians, must live Christ's resurrection, both in our personal lives and in the life of the Church, and thus be not only witnesses, but living proof, of Christ's resurrection, otherwise our faith truly will be in vain.

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!

John,
Bishop of Caracas and South America