Faith is neither an ideology nor a philosophical system, Pope Francis said yesterday, but based on the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Crux reports.
The Pope was speaking about the testimony of St Paul during his general audience in St Peter’s Square.
Francis said that “Paul was not an altar boy, he was a persecutor of the Church,” which is why his testimony about the Risen Christ is so dramatic.
“Speaking to his fellow Christians, Paul starts from a conclusive fact, that is not the outcome of a wise man’s reflection, but a fact, a simple fact that intervened in the life of some people,” the Pope said, saying this fact was that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.
“By announcing this event, which is the core of faith, Paul insists above all on the last element of the Paschal mystery, that is the fact that Jesus is risen,” he said, adding if Jesus’ story had ended with his death, it “would not be able to generate our faith.”
“He was a hero. No! He died, but he rose again,” the Pope said.
“Because faith is born from the resurrection. To accept that Christ is dead, that he died crucified, is not an act of faith, it is a historical fact.”
The Pontiff said Paul was very clear about the historicity of what happened on Easter morning: He lists the people to whom the risen Jesus appeared, including Peter, the apostles, the “five hundred brothers”, and James, with Paul listing himself last.
“He felt he was a successful man, with a very clear idea of what life was, with his duties,” the Pope explained, “but in this perfect picture - everything was perfect in Paul, he knew everything - in this perfect picture of life, one day something entirely unpredictable happened: The encounter with the Risen Christ, on the road to Damascus, where there was not only a man who fell to the ground - There was a person seized by an event that would have overturned the meaning of his life.”