It’s all about Christ: Pope declares

15 Oct 2008

By The Record

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – People need to learn about Jesus not as a historical figure but as “our brother, the Lord who is among us today,” Pope Benedict XVI said.

Biographical details and a chronology of events give people a superficial idea of who someone is; “only with the heart does one finally truly know a person,” the Pope said on October 8 at his weekly general audience.
Jesus’ life, teachings, his death and resurrection are important things to discover not as things of a distant past but as “a reality of the living Jesus,” the Pope told around 25,000 people gathered for his audience in St Peter’s Square.
The Pope focused on St Paul’s knowledge of “the so-called historical Jesus” given that the saint never met Jesus during his earthly ministry.
He said St Paul’s understanding of Christ and his teachings came from the apostles and the early Christian community. St Paul took this information to a new level by transposing Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of God to what the kingdom meant after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The risen Jesus is in God’s kingdom “and that kingdom of God goes where Jesus is going,” the Pope said.
He said that in St Paul’s writings to the Romans, newly baptized Christians refer to God as Jesus did by calling him “Abba,” an informal term for father.
Jesus used the term to “express the exclusivity” of his relationship to God as his one and only son, the Pope said, even though it was unthinkable at the time for a Jew to refer to God with such informality.
In his writings, St Paul said the newly baptized can speak “like Jesus as true children of their father,” the Pope said, adding that they can say “Abba” because “they have received the spirit of the Son” and have become God’s children through the Son.
Pope Benedict said St Paul teaches today’s faithful that learning all the facts about Jesus’ earthly ministry is secondary to using one’s heart to know Jesus.