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On the Way, the Truth and the Life
"To Proclaim Jesus Christ ... Is the Main Task of the Church
VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before praying the midday Regina Caeli with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
The Gospel of this Sunday, the Fifth of Easter, proposes a twofold commandment on faith: to believe in God and to believe in Jesus. In fact, the Lord said to his disciples: "Believe in God and believe also in me" (John 14:1). They are not two separate acts, but just one act of faith, full adherence to the salvation wrought by God the Father through his Only-begotten Son.
The New Testament put an end to the Father's invisibility. God has shown his face, as Jesus' answer to the Apostle Philip confirms: "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). With his incarnation, death and resurrection, the Son of God has freed us from the slavery of sin to give us the freedom of the children of God and has shown us the face of God, which is love: God can be seen, he is visible in Christ.
St. Teresa of Avila wrote: "We must not distance ourselves from what constitutes all our good and our remedy, that is, the most holy humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Interior Castle, 7, 6: "Opere Complete," Milan, 1998, 1001). Therefore, only by believing in Christ, by remaining united to him, the disciples, among whom we also are, can continue their permanent action in history: "Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do" (John 14:12).
Faith in Jesus means to follow him daily, in the simple actions that make up our day. "It is part of the mystery of God that he acts so gently, that he only gradually builds up his history within the great history of mankind; that he becomes man and so can be overlooked by his contemporaries and by the decisive forces within history; that he suffers and dies and that, having risen again, he chooses to come to mankind only through the faith of the disciples to whom he reveals himself; that he continues to knock gently at the doors of our hearts and slowly opens our eyes if we open our doors to him" (Jesus of Nazareth II, 2011, 276).
St. Augustine says that "it was necessary for Jesus to say: 'I am the way, the truth and the life' (John 14:6) because once the way was known, it remained to know the goal" (Tractatus in Ioh,, 69, 2: CCL 36, 500), and the goal is the Father. For Christians, for each one of us, hence, the way to the Father is to allow ourselves to the guided by Jesus, by his word of truth, and to receive the gift of his life. Let us make our own St. Bonaventure's invitation: "Open, therefore, your eyes, lend your spiritual ear, open your lips and dispose your heart, so that you will be able to see, hear, praise, love, venerate, glorify, honor your God in all creatures" ("Itinerarium mentis in Deum," I. 15).
Dear friends, the commitment to proclaim Jesus Christ, "the way, the truth and the life" (John14:6), is the main task of the Church. Let us invoke the Virgin Mary so that she will always assist the pastors and those who in the different ministries to proclaim the happy message of salvation, so that the Word of God is diffused and the number of disciples multiplied (cf. Acts 6:7).
[Translation by ZENIT]
[After praying the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English, he said:]
I welcome all the English-speaking visitors who join us for this Regina Caeli prayer. In a special way I greet the participants in the leadership training course offered by the St. Egidio community, assuring them of my prayers for their efforts to proclaim the Gospel and serve the poor and needy in their native countries. Also in these days the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation, organized by the World Council of Churches, is meeting in Kingston, Jamaica. The Convention is the culmination of a decade-long programme aimed at combating all forms of violence. Let us join in prayer for this noble intention, and recommit ourselves to eliminating violence in families, in society and in the international community. Dear friends, in the joy of this Easter season, may we be strengthened by the Risen Lord to follow him faithfully and to share in his life. Upon you and your families I invoke God's abundant blessings.
© Copyright 2011 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
[In Italian, he said:]
I address my cordial greeting to the Italian-speaking pilgrims, in particular to the numerous candidates for Confirmation of the diocese of Genoa, led by cardinal Bagnasco. A thought then goes to the large group of the Pro-Life Movement: dear friends, I congratulate you in particular for the commitment with which you help women who face difficult pregnancies, engaged couples and spouses who desire responsible procreation; thus you work concretely for the culture of life. I pray to the Lord that, thanks also to your contribution, the "yes to life" will be a motive of unity in Italy and in every country of the world. I bless the children accompanied by UNITALSI, who overcoming the hardship of illness make themselves witnesses of peace. I encourage the sick and volunteers present on the occasion of the National Week of Multiple Sclerosis. I greet the members of the Teresian Institution on the centenary of the Association; the faithful from Saiano, from Montegranaro and from some parishes of Rome; the schoolchildren of Verona and the youngsters of Torano Nuovo. I wish all a good Sunday.
[Translation by ZENIT]
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