01/14/2009, 00.00
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Pope: world is full of dangerous powers, but united with Christ we fear nothing

Illustrating the letters of St. Paul to the Ephesians and to the Colossians, Benedict XVI stresses that Jesus "is above every hostile power." The Church is the "bride" for whom he gave his life and of whom he is "the head." He is also master of the cosmos.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Today "the world is full of dangerous powers," but united with Jesus "we need not fear anything," because Christ "is above every power," he is "the head" of the Church, but also of the cosmos, "because the entire universe is summed up in him." Continuing with his illustration of St. Paul's thought, for the 4,000 faithful present at the general audience, Benedict XVI today spoke about the letters to the Ephesians and to the Colossians, called "twins," because "they are very close in their manner of expression, vocabulary, and exposition." "More than one third of the words in the letter to the Colossians are also in the letter to the Ephesians."

"It is only here," he observed, "that the term 'cefa', head, is used for Christ. It means first of all that Christ is head of the Church": he is "the director" who "guides the Christian community as its leader and master. The other meaning is that he is like the head that is connected to and enlivens all the members of the body to which it is attached." "He not only commands, but he is organically connected to us." "In both cases, the Church is considered as subjected to Christ in order to receive both his instructions and the vital forces that emanate from him."

"In the second meaning, Christ is the head not only of the Church, but also of the celestial powers and the entire cosmos. Paul says that God places Christ above every principality and power. His words assure us that Christ is above every hostile power, so that if we are close to him we have nothing to fear." The two letters offer "a highly positive and fruitful message. Christ has no competitor to fear, because he is above any other form of power that presumes to humiliate men," "if we are united to Christ, we need not fear any enemy or adversity, he who is with Christ has nothing to fear." "Today as well, the world is full of dangerous powers, but Christ is the victor, and the one who is united to Christ need not fear anything." For the pagan world, which "believed in a world full of dangerous spirits, from which it had to defend itself, this announcement was a true revelation. This is also the case for the paganism of today, which believes that the world is full of dangerous powers. We as well," he added, "in a world full of so many fears must learn that Christ, beyond any domination, is the true Lord of the world." For this reason, "we must remain close to him."

But Jesus is also the master of the cosmos, and "with the blood of the cross he has reconciled the things in heaven and on the earth." "Everything is one in Christ." "If we begin to understand that the cosmos is the imprint of Christ, we learn the proper relationship to the cosmos, to all the problems of the conservation of the cosmos" and "to act in the right way" toward it.

The last point in common for the two letters is that of the Church as "bride" of Christ, who "gave himself for her, the greatest possible demonstration of love." The beauty of the Church is not only that given by baptism, but also that it should grow every day "without stain or wrinkle, but entirely holy and immaculate." It is love that builds the Church, giving it direction, inspiration, and life.

Finally, Benedict XVII again exalted "the beauty and value of the family," expressing his hope that the sixth world meeting of families, which opens today in Mexico City, may elicit "in all new energies on behalf of this irreplaceable, fundamental building block of society and of the Church."

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