10/22/2008, 00.00
VATICAN
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For the Pope we can reach heaven and find happiness through humility, not pride

In continuing his discussion about Saint Paul, Benedict XVI shows how the Apostle’s teachings focus in particular on the death and resurrection of Jesus, who “came down to draw us [to him] and makes us His brothers and sisters.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Speaking to 20,000 or so faithful present for today’s general audience Benedict XVI continued his discussion about Saint Paul, illustrating Pauline Christology’s main features. He told them that through pride Adam, who wanted to be like God, and the Babylonians, who “wanted to build a bridge to heaven and become their own divinity,” only achieved their own “self-destruction.” In fact Jesus showed that heaven and happiness “cannot be reached through pride” but through humility for he is the “embodiment of love” that expresses “divine love.”

Jesus is “at the centre of every reflection” for the Apostle to the Gentiles. He is the “standard by which we can judge events and things, every effort’s purpose, and the great passion that supports His steps on the roads of the world.” He is the “principle enabling us to understand the world,” but “even as a standard, he never becomes an abstract principle” for he is the “living Christ,” someone “who loves me,” someone with whom “I can talk”, someone “who listens to me.”

In his Letters Saint Paul “did not worry about telling individual facts about Jesus’ earthly life.” Although “we might be under the impression that in his catechesis he talked more about them, actually his focus was on building the early communities.” For this reason everything in him was aimed at announcing the Risen Christ.

The focus was Jesus’ role as the “one mediator” in the mystery of salvation, the “true bridge” that leads to God and the love that he expresses.

“We see already in the Books of the Old Testament that the descent into the flesh implies the possibility of being rejected,” the Pope said.

Saint Paul “refers to this theology; he recognises in Jesus the wisdom that pre-exists and comes down between us” and for us becomes “wisdom, justice, sacrifice, [and] redemption.”

For the Holy father Letter to the Philippians shows among other things the main moments in Christ’s journey. “Pre-existence: even though he held the status of God, he did not consider it a privilege to be like God”. Instead he took on “the status of servant so as to go so far as to humiliate himself, obedient onto death” and the “Father’s reply”, which gave Him the “name that is above all names.” In short, Jesus came down to draw us [to him] and makes us His brothers and sisters.”

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