11/05/2008, 00.00
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Christianity “is not an easy path” but a “demanding climb,” says Pope

In discussing Saint Paul’s Christology, Benedict XVI highlights the central nature of the resurrection without which Christianity would be “absurd.” The Apostle’s respect for the tradition indicates that theologians “do not create new visions” but help understand the reality of the Resurrection.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Christianity “is not an easy path” but a “demanding climb” that “does not spare Christians from suffering,” as Saint Augustine said. It is however a life brightened by hope in which the cross is shared awaiting for the resurrection, an “event” that is crucial to the faith and central to Saint Paul’s Christology.

The “decisive character” of the Resurrection in Saint Paul was at the heart of the discussion Benedict XVI had today before almost 20,000 people in St Peter’s Square. Since the summer in this Pauline Year the Pope has devoted his general audience reflections to the Apostle.

“If Christ has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching.” Indeed in the First Letter to the Corinthians Paul implied that without the Resurrection the cross would be a tragedy.” Paul “begins and arrives at the mystery of the One whom the Father has raised from death.” The basic event the Apostle refers to is that “Christ is raised and living amongst us.”

For Benedict XVI Paul showed “great respect” for the tradition which was referred to him. “Both I and they preach,” he writes, highlighting the “link between receiving and transmitting and the unity of all believers”.

“The originality of this Christology never comes at the expense of faithfulness to tradition [. . .] in which the faith of all the Churches is expressed, which are one Church.”

“Theologians and preachers do not create new visions of the world or of life but remain at the service [. . .] of the Resurrection” to “help us understand” the reality of the Resurrection.

“Paul is not concerned with presenting a comprehensive doctrinal exposition, but approaches the subject by responding to the concrete doubts and queries that were put to him by the faithful.”

He concentrated “on essentials: we have been 'justified'—that its made just, saved—by Christ who died and rose for us. What emerges above all is the fact of the resurrection, without which Christian life would be simply absurd.” It is something “very real [. . .], something marked by specific signs recorded by numerous witnesses.”

Not only does Paul proclaim the resurrection but also the crucial fact that “we have been ‘justified’,” revealing the true reality of Jesus as Lord. Thus life for believers becomes sharing death and resurrection.

“True believers obtain salvation by professing with their mouths that Jesus is the Lord and believing with their hearts that God raised Him from the dead”.

It is not enough to have faith in the heart, we must bear witness to it. This way Christians “become part of the process” that “began with the resurrection of Christ, on which is founded the hope that we too may one day enter with Christ into our true homeland in heaven.”

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