Audiences 2005-2013 22108

Wednesday, 22 October 2008 - Saint Paul (9): The Importance of Christology: Pre-existence and Incarnation.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the Catecheses of these past weeks we have meditated on St Paul's "conversion", the result of his personal encounter with the crucified and Risen Jesus, and we asked ourselves what relationship the Apostle to the Gentiles had with the earthly Jesus. Today I would like to speak of the teaching that St Paul bequeathed to us on the centrality of the Risen Christ in the mystery of salvation, on his Christology. In truth, the Risen Jesus Christ, "exalted above every other name", is at the centre of every reflection Paul makes. Christ, for the Apostle, is the criterion for evaluating events and things, the goal of every effort that he makes to proclaim the Gospel, the great passion that sustains his footsteps on the roads of the world. And this is a real and living Christ: "Christ", Paul says, "who loved me and gave himself for me" (
Ga 2,20). This person who loves me, with whom I can speak, who listens to me and answers me, this is truly the starting point for understanding the world and finding the way through history.

Those who have read St Paul's writings know well that he was not concerned to recount the sequence of individual events in Jesus' life. Nevertheless we may think that in his catechesis he told far more about the pre-Paschal Jesus than he writes in his Letters which are admonitions in precise situations. His pastoral and theological intention was so focused on fostering the nascent communities that it came naturally to him to concentrate completely on the proclamation of Jesus Christ as "Lord", alive now and present now among his followers. Hence the characteristic essentiality of Pauline Christology, which develops the depths of the mystery with a constant and precise concern: to proclaim the living Jesus, of course, but above all to proclaim the central reality of his death and Resurrection as the culmination of his earthly existence and the root of the successive development of the whole Christian faith, the whole reality of the Church. For the Apostle the Resurrection is not an event in itself, separate from death: the Risen One is always the One who has first been crucified. Even as the Risen One he bears his wounds: the Passion is present in him and we can say, together with Pascal, that he is the Suffering One until the end of the world, while at the same time being the Risen One and living with us and for us. Paul had understood this identification of the Risen One with the Crucified Christ at the encounter on the road to Damascus: at that moment it was clearly revealed to him that the Crucified One is the Risen One and the Risen One is the Crucified One, who asks Paul: "Why do you persecute me?" (Ac 9,4). Paul is persecuting Christ in the Church and then realizes that the Cross is not "accursed by God" (Dt 21,23), but is also the sacrifice for our redemption.

Fascinated, the Apostle contemplates the hidden secret of the Crucified and Risen One and, through the suffering experienced by Christ in his humanity (earthly dimension), goes back to that eternal existence in which he is wholly one with the Father (dimension before time): "When the time had fully come", he wrote, "God sent forth his son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons" (Ga 4,4-5). These two dimensions, his eternal pre-existence with the Father and the Lord's descent in his Incarnation are already announced in the Old Testament, in the figure of Wisdom. We find in the sapiential Books of the Old Testament certain texts which exalt the role of Wisdom that existed prior to the world's creation. Passages such as the one from Psalm 90[89] should be interpreted in this sense: "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God" (v. 2); or passages like this one that speaks of the creator Wisdom: "The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth" (Pr 8,22-23). The praise of Wisdom, contained in the Book of the same name, is also evocative: "She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and she orders all things well" (Sg 8,1).

The sapiential texts themselves which speak of the eternal pre-existence of Wisdom, also speak of the descent, the abasement of this Wisdom, who pitched a tent for herself among men. Thus we already hear echoing the words of the Gospel of John, who speaks of the tent of the Lord's flesh. He created a tent for himself in the Old Testament: here the temple is shown, and worship in accordance with the Torah; but the New Testament perspective enables us to realize that this was only a prefiguration of the tent that was far more real and meaningful: the tent of Christ's flesh. And we already see in the Books of the Old Testament that this lowering of Wisdom, her descent in the flesh, also suggests the possibility that she was rejected. St Paul, in developing his Christology, refers precisely to this sapiential perspective: in Jesus he recognizes the eternal wisdom that has always existed, the wisdom that descends and pitches a tent for herself among us and thus he can describe Christ as "the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1Co 1,24), he can say that Christ has become, through God's work, "our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption" (ibid., v. 30). Similarly, Paul explains that Christ, like Wisdom, can be rejected above all by the rulers of this world (cf. 1Co 2,6-9), so that within God's plans a paradoxical situation is created, the Cross, which was to transform itself into the means of salvation for the whole human race.

In the famous hymn contained in the Letter to the Philippians (cf. Ph 2,6-11) a further development of this sapiential cycle sees Wisdom abase herself to then be exalted despite rejection. This is one of the most elevated texts in the whole of the New Testament. The vast majority of exegetes today agree that this passage reproduces an earlier composition than the text of the Letter to the Philippians. This is a very important fact because it means that Judaeo-Christianity, prior to St Paul, believed in Jesus' divinity. In other words, faith in the divinity of Jesus was not a Hellenistic invention that emerged much later than Jesus' earthly life, an invention which, forgetful of his humanity, would have divinized him; we see in reality that early Judaeo-Christianity believed in the divinity of Jesus. Indeed, we can say that the Apostles themselves, at the important moments in the life of their Teacher, understood that he was the Son of God, as St Peter said in Caesarea Philippi: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16,16). However, let us return to the hymn in the Letter to the Philippians. This text's structure is in three strophes, which illustrate the high points on the journey undertaken by Christ. His pre-existence is expressed by the words: "though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped" (Ph 2,6). Then comes the Son's voluntary self- abasement in the second strophe: "emptied himself, taking the form of a servant" (v. 7), to the point of humbling himself and "[becoming] obedient unto death, even death on a cross" (v. 8). The third strophe of the hymn proclaims the Father's response to the Son's humbling of himself: "Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name" (v. 9). What is striking is the contrast between the radical humbling of himself and his subsequent glorification in the glory of God. It is obvious that this second strophe is in contrast with the claim of Adam, who wanted to make a God of himself, and in contrast with the act of the builders of the tower of Babel, who wanted to construct a bridge to Heaven and make themselves divinities. However, this initiative of pride ended in self-destruction: this is not the way to Heaven, to true happiness, to God. The gesture of the Son of God is exactly the opposite: not pride but humility, which is the fulfilment of love and love is divine. The initiative of Christ's abasement, of his radical humility, in stark contrast with human pride, is truly an expression of divine love; it is followed by that elevation into Heaven to which God attracts us with his love.

In addition to the Letter to the Philippians, there are other places in Pauline literature where the themes of the pre-existence and descent to the earth of the Son of God are connected to each other. A reaffirmation of the assimilation of Wisdom and Christ, with all the connected cosmic and anthropological implications, is found in the First Letter to Timothy: "He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory" (1Tm 3,16). It is above all on these premises that a better definition of Christ as the sole Mediator is possible, against the background of the One God of the Old Testament (cf. 1Tm 2,5 in relation to Is 43,10-11 Is 44,6). Christ is the true bridge that leads us to Heaven, to communion with God.

And lastly, just a brief reference to the last developments of St Paul's Christology in his Letters to the Colossians and to the Ephesians. In the former, Christ is described as the "first-born of all creation" (Col 1,15-20). This word "first-born" suggests that the first of numerous children, the first of a great many brothers and sisters, came down to draw us and make us his brothers and sisters. In the Letter to the Ephesians we find a beautiful exposition of the divine plan of salvation, when Paul says that in Christ God desired to recapitulate everything (cf. Ep 1,23). Christ is the epitome of all things, he takes everything upon himself and guides us to God. And thus he involves us in a movement of descent and ascent, inviting us to share in his humility, that is, in his love for neighbour, in order also to share in his glorification, becoming with him sons in the Son. Let us pray the Lord to help us conform to his humility, to his love, in order to be rendered participants in his divinization.
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I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Ghana, Guam, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada and the United States. Upon you and your families I cordially invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace.

St. Peter's Square

Wednesday, 29 October 2008 - Saint Paul (10): The Importance of Christology: the Theology of the Cross.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the personal experience of St Paul there is an incontrovertible factor: while he was at first a persecutor and perpetrated violence against Christians, from the moment of his conversion on the road to Damascus he switched to the side of the Crucified Christ, making Christ his raison d'être and the reason for his preaching. His was a life neither quiet nor free from dangers and difficulties, but spent entirely for souls (cf.
2Co 12,15). In his encounter with Jesus the central significance of the Cross had been made clear to him: he understood that Jesus had died and rose for all and for himself. Both these things were important; universality: Jesus really died for all, and subjectivity: he also died for me. Thus God's freely given and merciful love had been made manifest in the Cross. Paul experienced this love in himself first of all (cf. Gal Ga 2,20) and from being a sinner he became a believer, from a persecutor an apostle. Day after day, in his new life, he experienced that salvation was "grace", that everything derived from the death of Christ and not from his own merit, which moreover did not exist. The "Gospel of grace" thus became for him the only way of understanding the Cross, not only the criterion of his new existence but also his response to those who questioned him. First and foremost among these were the Jews who put their hope in deeds and from these hoped for salvation; then there were the Greeks who challenged the Cross with their human knowledge; lastly, there were those groups of heretics who had forged their own idea of Christianity to suit their own model of life.

For St Paul the Cross has a fundamental primacy in the history of humanity; it represents the focal point of his theology because to say "Cross" is to say salvation as grace given to every creature. The topic of the Cross of Christ becomes an essential and primary element of the Apostle's preaching: the clearest example concerns the community of Corinth. Facing a Church in which disorder and scandal were disturbingly present, where communion was threatened by internal factions and ruptures which damaged the unity of the Body of Christ, Paul did not present himself with sublime words or wisdom but with the proclamation of Christ, of Christ crucified. His strength is not in the use of persuasive language but, paradoxically, in the weakness and trepidation of those who entrust themselves solely to the "power of God" (cf. 1Co 2,1-5). The Cross, for all it represents, hence also for the theological message it contains, is scandal and folly. The Apostle says so with an impressive force that it is good to hear directly from his words: "for the word of the Cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God... it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles" (1Co 1,18-23).

The first Christian communities that Paul addressed knew well that Jesus was henceforth alive and risen; the Apostle does not only want to remind the Corinthians or the Galatians but also all of us that the Risen One is always the One who has been crucified. The "stumbling block" and "folly" of the Cross lie in the very fact that where there seems to be nothing but failure, sorrow and defeat, there is the full power of God's boundless love, for the Cross is an expression of love and love is the true power that is revealed precisely in this seeming weakness. For the Jews, the Cross is skandalon, that is, a snare or a stumbling block. It seems to hinder the faith of the devout Israelite who finds it difficult to discover anything like it in the Sacred Scriptures. With some courage, Paul seems to be saying that here the stakes at play are high: in the opinion of the Jews the Cross contradicts the very essence of God who manifested himself in wonderful signs. To accept the Cross of Christ therefore means bringing about a profound conversion in the way of relating to God. If, for the Jews, the reason for rejecting the Cross is found in Revelation, that is, the faithfulness to the God of the Fathers, for the Greeks, that is, the Gentiles, the criterion of judgement for opposing the Cross is reason. Indeed, the Cross for the latter is moría, folly, literally ignorance, that is, saltless food; thus, rather than an error, it is an insult to common sense.

Paul himself, on more than one occasion had the bitter experience of the rejection of the Christian proclamation, considered "insipid", devoid of importance, not even worthy of being taken into consideration at the level of rational logic. For those who, like the Greeks, see perfection in the spirit, in pure thought, it was already unacceptable that God should become man, immersing himself in all the limitations of space and time. Then for them it was definitely inconceivable to believe that a God could end on a Cross! And we see that this Greek logic is also the common logic of our time. How could the concept of apátheia, indifference, as an absence of passions in God, have understood a God who became man and was defeated, and was even to reassume his body subsequently to live as the Risen One? "We will hear you again about this" (Ac 17,32) the Athenians said scornfully to Paul when they heard him talking about the resurrection of the dead. They considered liberation from the body conceived as a prison as perfection. How could they not see the resumption of the body as an aberration? In ancient culture there did not seem to be room for the message of the Incarnate God. The entire "Jesus of Nazareth" event seemed to be marked by foolishness through and through and the Cross was certainly its most emblematic point.

But why did St Paul make precisely this, the word of the Cross, the fundamental core of his teaching? The answer is not difficult: the Cross reveals "the power of God" (cf. 1Co 1,24), which is different from human power; indeed, it reveals his love: "For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (ibid., v. 25). Centuries after Paul we see that in history it was the Cross that triumphed and not the wisdom that opposed it. The Crucified One is wisdom, for he truly shows who God is, that is, a force of love which went even as far as the Cross to save men and women. God uses ways and means that seem to us at first sight to be merely weakness. The Crucified One reveals on the one hand man's frailty and on the other, the true power of God, that is the free gift of love: this totally gratuitous love is true wisdom. St Paul experienced this even in his flesh and tells us about it in various passages of his spiritual journey which have become precise reference points for every disciple of Jesus: "He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'" (2Co 12,9); and again "God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong" (1Co 1,27). The Apostle identified so closely with Christ that in spite of being in the midst of so many trials, he too lived in the faith of the Son of God who loved him and gave himself for his sins and for the sins of all (cf. Gal Ga 1,4 Ga 2,20). This autobiographical fact concerning the Apostle becomes paradigmatic for all of us.

St Paul gave a wonderful synthesis of the theology of the Cross in the Second Letter to the Corinthians (2Co 5,14-21) where everything is enclosed between two fundamental affirmations: on the one hand Christ, whom God made to be sin for our sake (v. 21), he died for all (v. 14); and on the other, God reconciled us to himself without imputing our sins to us (vv. 18-20). It is from this "ministry of reconciliation" that every form of slavery is already redeemed (cf. 1Co 6,20 1Co 7,23). Here it appears how important this is for our lives. We too must enter into this "ministry of reconciliation" that always implies relinquishing one's superiority and opting for the folly of love.
St Paul sacrificed his own life, devoting himself without reserve to the ministry of reconciliation, of the Cross, which is salvation for us all. And we too must be able to do this: may we be able to find our strength precisely in the humility of love and our wisdom in the weakness of renunciation, entering thereby into God's power. We must all model our lives on this true wisdom: we must not live for ourselves but must live in faith in that God of whom we can all say: "he loved me and gave himself for me".

To special groups

I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present, especially those from Britain and Ireland, Norway, Australia, Korea, Vietnam and the United States of America. I greet especially the Delegation of Papal Knights from Great Britain, and the members and benefactors of the Gregorian University Foundation of New York. Upon you and your families, I cordially invoke God's Blessings of peace and joy.

Lastly, I greet the young people, the sick and the newlyweds. Yesterday the Liturgy commemorated the Holy Apostles Simon and Jude Thaddeus. May their example sustain you, dear young people, in your commitment of daily fidelity to Christ; may it encourage you, dear sick people, always to follow Jesus in the process of trial and suffering; may it help you, dear newlyweds, to make your family a place of constant encounter with the love of God and of the brethren.

St. Peter's Square

Wednesday, 5 November 2008 - Saint Paul (11): The Importance of Christology: the Decisiveness of the Resurrection.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain... and you are still in your sins" (
1Co 15,14-17). With these strong words from the First Letter to the Corinthians, St Paul makes clear the decisive importance he attributes to the Resurrection of Jesus. In this event, in fact, lies the solution to the problem posed by the drama of the Cross. The Cross alone could not explain the Christian faith, indeed it would remain a tragedy, an indication of the absurdity of being. The Paschal Mystery consists in the fact that the Crucified man "was raised on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures" (1Co 15,4), as proto-Christian tradition attests. This is the keystone of Pauline Christology: everything rotates around this gravitational centre. The whole teaching of Paul the Apostle starts from, and arrives at, the mystery of him whom the Father raised from the dead. The Resurrection is a fundamental fact, almost a prior axiom (cf. 1Co 15,12), on the basis of which Paul can formulate his synthetic proclamation (kerygma). He who was crucified and who thus manifested God's immense love for man, is risen again, and is alive among us.

It is important to understand the relationship between the proclamation of the Resurrection, as Paul formulates it, and that was in use since the first pre-Pauline Christian communities. Here indeed we can see the importance of the tradition that preceded the Apostle and that he, with great respect and care, desires to pass on in his turn. The text on the Resurrection, contained in chapter 1Co 15,1-11 of the First Letter to the Corinthians, emphasizes the connection between "receiving" and "transmitting". St Paul attributes great importance to the literal formulation of the tradition, and at the end of the passage under consideration underlines, "What matters is that I preach what they preach" (1Co 15,11), so drawing attention to the oneness of the kerygma, of the proclamation for all believers and for those who will proclaim the Resurrection of Christ. The tradition to which he refers is the fount from which to draw. His Christology is never original at the expense of faithfulness to tradition. The kerygma of the Apostles always presides over the personal re-elaboration of Paul; each of his arguments moves from common tradition, and in them he expresses the faith shared by all the Churches, which are one single Church. In this way St Paul offers a model for all time of how to approach theology and how to preach. The theologian, the preacher, does not create new visions of the world and of life, but he is at the service of truth handed down, at the service of the real fact of Christ, of the Cross, and of the Resurrection. His task is to help us understand today the reality of "God with us" that lies behind the ancient words, and thus the reality of true life.

We should here be explicit: St Paul, in proclaiming the Resurrection, does not worry about presenting an organic doctrinal exposition he does not wish to write what would effectively be a theological handbook but he approaches the theme by replying to doubts and concrete questions asked of him by the faithful; an unprepared discourse, then, but one full of faith and theological experience. We find here a concentration of the essential: we have been "justified", that is made just, saved, by Christ who died and rose again for us. Above all else the fact of the Resurrection emerges, without which Christian life would be simply in vain. On that Easter morning something extraordinary happened, something new, and at the same time very concrete, distinguished by very precise signs and recorded by numerous witnesses. For Paul, as for the other authors of the New Testament, the Resurrection is closely bound to the testimony of those who had direct experience of the Risen One. This means seeing and hearing, not only with the eyes or with the senses, but also with an interior light that assists the recognition of what the external senses attest as objective fact.
Paul gives, therefore, as do the four Gospels, primary importance to the theme of the appearances, which constitute a fundamental condition for belief in the Risen One who left the tomb empty. These two facts are important: the tomb is empty and Jesus has in fact appeared. In this way the links of that tradition were forged, which, through the testimony of the Apostles and the first disciples, was to reach successive generations until it came down to our own. The first consequence, or the first way of expressing this testimony, is to preach the Resurrection of Christ as a synthesis of the Gospel proclamation and as the culminating point in the salvific itinerary. Paul does all this on many occasions: looking at the Letters and the Acts of the Apostles, we can see that for him the essential point is to bear witness to the Resurrection. I should like to cite just one text: Paul, arrested in Jerusalem, stands accused before the Sanhedrin. In this situation, where his life is at stake, he indicates what is the sense and content of all his preaching: "with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead I am on trial" (Ac 23,6). This same phrase Paul continually repeats in his Letters (cf. 1Th 1,9ff; 1Th 4,13-18 1Th 5,10), in which he refers to his own personal experience, to his own meeting with the Risen Christ (cf. Gal Ga 1,15-16 1Co 9,1).

But we may wonder, what, for St Paul, is the deep meaning of the Resurrection of Jesus? What has he to say to us across these 2,000 years? Is the affirmation "Christ is risen" relevant to us today? Why is the Resurrection so important, both for him and for us? Paul gives a solemn answer to this question at the beginning of his Letter to the Romans, where he begins by referring to "the Gospel of God... concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh, and designated Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead" (Rm 1,3-4). Paul knows well, and often says, that Jesus was always the Son of God, from the moment of his Incarnation. The novelty of the Resurrection, consists in the fact that Jesus, raised from the lowliness of his earthly existence, is constituted Son of God "in power". Jesus, humiliated up to the moment of his death on the Cross, can now say to the Eleven, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Mt 28,18). The affirmation of Psalm Ps 2,8 has come to pass. "Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession". So, with the Resurrection begins the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ to all peoples the Kingdom of Christ begins, this new Kingdom that knows no power other than that of truth and love. The Resurrection thus reveals definitively the real identity and the extraordinary stature of the Crucified One. An incomparable and towering dignity: Jesus is God! For St Paul, the secret identity of Jesus is revealed even more in the mystery of the Resurrection than in the Incarnation. While the title of Christ, that is "Messiah"; "the Anointed", in St Paul tends to become the proper name of Jesus, and that of "the Lord" indicates his personal relationship with believers, now the title "Son of God" comes to illustrate the intimate relationship of Jesus with God, a relationship which is fully revealed in the Paschal event. We can say, therefore, that Jesus rose again to be the Lord of the living and the dead, (cf. Rm Rm 14,9 and 2Co 5,15) or in other words, our Saviour (cf. Rm Rm 4,25).

All this bears important consequences for our lives as believers: we are called upon to take part, in our inmost selves, in the whole story of the death and Resurrection of Christ. The Apostle says: we "have died with Christ" and we believe we shall "live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him" (Rm 6,8-9). This means sharing in the suffering of Christ, which is a prelude to that full unity with him through the resurrection that we hope for. This is also what happened to St Paul, whose personal experience is described in the Letters in tones as sorrowful as they are realistic: "that I may know him and the power of his Resurrection, and may share his sufferings becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead" (Ph 3,10-11 cf. 2Tm 2,8-12). The theology of the Cross is not a theory it is the reality of Christian life. To live in the belief in Jesus Christ, to live in truth and love implies daily sacrifice, implies suffering. Christianity is not the easy road, it is, rather, a difficult climb, but one illuminated by the light of Christ and by the great hope that is born of him. St Augustine says: Christians are not spared suffering, indeed they must suffer a little more, because to live the faith expresses the courage to face in greater depth the problems that life and history present. But only in this way, through the experience of suffering, can we know life in its profundity, in its beauty, in the great hope born from Christ crucified and risen again. The believer, however, finds himself between two poles: on the one hand, the Resurrection, which in a certain sense is already present and operating within us (cf. Col Col 3,1-4 Ep 2,6); on the other, the urgency to enter into the process which leads everyone and everything towards that fullness described in the Letter to the Romans with a bold image: as the whole of Creation groans and suffers almost as with the pangs of childbirth, so we groan in the expectation of the redemption of our bodies, of our redemption and resurrection (cf. Rm Rm 8,18-23).

In synthesis, we can say with Paul that the true believer obtains salvation by professing with his mouth that Jesus is the Lord and believing in his heart that God has raised Him from the dead (cf. Rm Rm 10,9). Important above all else is the heart that believes in Christ, and which in its faith "touches" the Risen One; but it is not enough to carry our faith in our heart, we must confess it and bear witness to it with our mouths, with our lives, thus making the truth of the Cross and the Resurrection present in our history. In this way the Christian becomes part of that process by which the first Adam, a creature of the earth, and subject to corruption and death, is transformed into the last Adam, heavenly and incorruptible (cf. 1Co 15,20-22 and 42-49). This process was set in motion by the Resurrection of Christ, and it is, therefore, on this that we found our hope that we too may one day enter with Christ into our true homeland, which is in Heaven. Borne up by this hope, let us continue with courage and with joy.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am pleased to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience. In a particular way I greet the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums from Florida. I also extend a warm welcome to the group from the Bunri Sato Educational Institute in Saitama, Japan. I greet especially the groups from England, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Cyprus, the Philippines and the United States. Upon all of you and your families I cordially invoke God’s abundant blessings of joy and peace.

St. Peter's Square

Audiences 2005-2013 22108