Monday, June 12, 2006

Jesus Builds Up His Flesh through the Church

   

PRAYER VIGIL, SOLEMNITY OF PENTECOST
Saturday 3 june 2006

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVII


[excerpt]

The Risen Christ said to his disciples, who supposed that they were seeing only a "spirit": "It is I myself; touch me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have" (cf. Lk 24: 39).

This applies for the Risen Christ in every period of history. The Risen Christ is not a ghost, he is not merely a spirit, a thought, only an idea.

He has remained incarnate - it is the Risen One who took on our flesh - and always continues to build his Body, making us his Body. The Spirit breathes where he wills, and his will is unity embodied, a unity that encounters the world and transforms it.

In his Letter to the Ephesians, St Paul tell us that this Body of Christ, which is the Church, has joints (cf. 4: 16) and even names them: they are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (cf. 4: 12). In his gifts, the Spirit is multifaceted - we see it here. If we look at history, if we look at this assembly here in St Peter's Square, then we realize that he inspires ever new gifts; we see how different are the bodies that he creates and how he works bodily ever anew.

But in him multiplicity and unity go hand in hand. He breathes where he wills. He does so unexpectedly, in unexpected places and in ways previously unheard of. And with what diversity and corporality does he do so! And it is precisely here that diversity and unity are inseparable.

He wants your diversity and he wants you for the one body, in union with the permanent orders - the joints - of the Church, with the successors of the Apostles and with the Successor of St Peter.

He does not lessen our efforts to learn the way of relating to one another; but he also shows us that he works with a view to the one body and in the unity of the one body. It is precisely in this way that unity obtains its strength and beauty.

May you take part in the edification of the one body! Pastors must be careful not to extinguish the Spirit (cf. I Thes 5: 19) and you will not cease to bring your gifts to the entire community.

Once again, the Spirit blows where he wills. But his will is unity. He leads us towards Christ through his Body.

"From Christ", St Paul tells us, "the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love" (Eph 4: 16).
Post a Comment