Dear Brothers and Sisters,[snip]
After the catechesis on the psalms and canticles of Morning and Evening Prayer, I would like to dedicate the next Wednesday encounters to the mystery of the relationship between Christ and the Church, considering it from the experience of the apostles in the light of the mission entrusted to them.
The Church has been built on the foundation of the apostles as a community of faith, hope and love. Through the apostles, we reach all the way back to Jesus.
The Church was initially established when some fishermen from Galilee met Jesus; they allowed themselves to be won over by his gaze, his voice and his strong and warm invitation, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Mark 1:17; Matthew 4:19).
My beloved predecessor, John Paul II, at the beginning of the third millennium, proposed to the Church the contemplation of Christ's face (cf. "Novo Millennio Ineunte," No. 16ff). Moving in this direction, in the catechesis I begin today, I would like to show that precisely the light of that Face is reflected in the face of the Church (cf. "Lumen Gentium," No. 1), despite the limitations and the shadows of our fragile and sinful humanity.
After Mary, the pure reflection of the light of Christ, the apostles, through their word and testimony, hand on to us the truth of Christ. Their mission is not isolated. It is framed within the mystery of communion and involves all of God's People and is brought about in stages from the old to the new covenant.
In this sense, we must say that we completely distort Jesus' message when we separate it from the context of the faith and hope of the chosen people. As did John the Baptist, his immediate precursor, Jesus principally addresses all of Israel (cf. Matthew 15:24), in order to "unite it" in the eschatological time that arrived with his coming.
In a certain sense, we could say that the Last Supper is precisely the act of founding his Church, because he gives himself and in this way creates a new community, a community united in the communion with himself. From this perspective, it is understood that the Risen One grants them, with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, the power to forgive sins (John 20:23). The Twelve Apostles are in this way the most evident sign of Jesus' will over the existence and mission of his Church, the guarantee that between Christ and the Church there is no opposition: They are inseparable, despite the sins of the people who make up the Church.[The following passage got me thinking on exegetical lines:
Therefore, there is no way to reconcile Christ's intentions with the slogan that was fashionable a few years ago, "Christ yes, the Church no." The individualist Jesus is a fantasy. We cannot find Jesus without the reality that he created and through which he communicates himself. Between the Son of God, made man and his Church, there is a profound, inseparable continuity, in virtue of which Christ is present today in his people.
In the place of the revelation, "the mountain," with an initiative that manifests absolute awareness and determination, Jesus constitutes the Twelve so that they might be witnesses and heralds with him of the arrival of the Kingdom of God. There is no room for doubt concerning the historical character of this call, not only because of the antiquity and multiplicity of testimonies but also because of the simple fact that the name of the Apostle Judas, the traitor, appears despite the difficulties that including his name could imply for the incipient community.Benedict the exegete! Antiquity, multiple testimony, discomfort ... good historical-critical criteria for considering the authenticity of a pericope! :-D Though I'm sure the Pope will be the first to acknowledge that this alone is not what establishes the general "reliability" of Scripture.]