"The Hidden Homilies of Pope Benedict "
Hidden, except for those who were able to listen to them in person: a few thousand out of 1.2 billion
Catholics in the world. Here are the complete texts. Required reading for understanding this pontificate
Easter Vigil March 22, 2008
Dear brothers and sisters, in his farewell discourse, Jesus announced his imminent death and resurrection to his disciples with
these mysterious words: "I go away, and I will come to you", he said (Jn 14:28). Dying is a "going away". Even if the body of the
deceased remains behind, he himself has gone away into the unknown, and we cannot follow him (cf. Jn 13:36). Yet in Jesus’s
case, there is something utterly new, which changes the world. In the case of our own death, the "going away" is definitive,
there is no return. Jesus, on the other hand, says of his death: "I go away, and I will come to you." It is by going away that he
comes. His going ushers in a completely new and greater way of being present. By dying he enters into the love of the Father.
His dying is an act of love. Love, however, is immortal. Therefore, his going away is transformed into a new coming, into a form
of presence which reaches deeper and does not come to an end. During his earthly life, Jesus, like all of us, was tied to the
external conditions of bodily existence: to a determined place and a determined time. Bodiliness places limits on our existence.
We cannot be simultaneously in two different places. Our time is destined to come to an end. And between the "I" and the
"you" there is a wall of otherness. To be sure, through love we can somehow enter the other’s existence. Nevertheless, the
insurmountable barrier of being different remains in place. Yet Jesus, who is now totally transformed through the act of love, is
free from such barriers and limits. He is able not only to pass through closed doors in the outside world, as the Gospels recount
(cf. Jn 20:19). He can pass through the interior door separating the "I" from the "you", the closed door between yesterday and
today, between the past and the future. On the day of his solemn entry into Jerusalem, when some Greeks asked to see him,
Jesus replied with the parable of the grain of wheat which has to pass through death in order to bear much fruit. In this way he
foretold his own destiny: these words were not addressed simply to one or two Greeks in the space of a few minutes. Through
his Cross, through his going away, through his dying like the grain of wheat, he would truly arrive among the Greeks, in such a
way that they could see him and touch him through faith. His going away is transformed into a coming, in the Risen Lord’s
universal manner of presence, in which he is there yesterday, today and for ever, in which he embraces all times and all places.
Now he can even surmount the wall of otherness that separates the "I" from the "you". This happened with Paul, who
describes the process of his conversion and his Baptism in these words: "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me"
(Gal 2:20). Through the coming of the Risen One, Paul obtained a new identity. His closed "I" was opened. Now he lives in
communion with Jesus Christ, in the great "I" of believers who have become – as he puts it – "one in Christ" (Gal 3:28).
So, dear friends, it is clear that, through Baptism, the mysterious words spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper become present for
you once more. In Baptism, the Lord enters your life through the door of your heart. We no longer stand alongside or in
opposition to one another. He passes through all these doors. This is the reality of Baptism: he, the Risen One, comes; he
comes to you and joins his life with yours, drawing you into the open fire of his love. You become one, one with him, and thus
one among yourselves. At first this can sound rather abstract and unrealistic. But the more you live the life of the baptized, the
more you can experience the truth of these words. Believers – the baptized – are never truly cut off from one another.
Continents, cultures, social structures or even historical distances may separate us. But when we meet, we know one another
on the basis of the same Lord, the same faith, the same hope, the same love, which form us. Then we experience that the
foundation of our lives is the same. We experience that in our inmost depths we are anchored in the same identity, on the basis
of which all our outward differences, however great they may be, become secondary. Believers are never totally cut off from
one another. We are in communion because of our deepest identity: Christ within us. Thus faith is a force for peace and
reconciliation in the world: distances between people are overcome, in the Lord we have become close (cf. Eph 2:13).
The Church expresses the inner reality of Baptism as the gift of a new identity through the tangible elements used in the
administration of the sacrament. The fundamental element in Baptism is water; next, in second place, is light, which is used to
great effect in the Liturgy of the Easter Vigil. Let us take a brief look at these two elements. In the final chapter of the Letter to
the Hebrews, there is a statement about Christ which does not speak directly of water, but the Old Testament allusions
nevertheless point clearly to the mystery of water and its symbolic meaning. Here we read: "The God of peace brought again
from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant" (13:20). In this sentence,
there is an echo of the prophecy of Isaiah, in which Moses is described as the shepherd whom the Lord brought up from the
water, from the sea (cf. 63:11). Jesus appears as the new, definitive Shepherd who brings to fulfilment what Moses had done:
he leads us out of the deadly waters of the sea, out of the waters of death. In this context we may recall that Moses’ mother
placed him in a basket in the Nile. Then, through God’s providence, he was taken out of the water, carried from death to life,
and thus – having himself been saved from the waters of death – he was able to lead others through the sea of death. Jesus
descended for us into the dark waters of death. But through his blood, so the Letter to the Hebrews tells us, he was brought
back from death: his love united itself to the Father’s love, and thus from the abyss of death he was able to rise to life. Now he
raises us from death to true life. This is exactly what happens in Baptism: he draws us towards himself, he draws us into true
life. He leads us through the often murky sea of history, where we are frequently in danger of sinking amid all the confusion and
perils. In Baptism he takes us, as it were, by the hand, he leads us along the path that passes through the Red Sea of this life
and introduces us to everlasting life, the true and upright life. Let us grasp his hand firmly! Whatever may happen, whatever
may befall us, let us not lose hold of his hand! Let us walk along the path that leads to life.
In the second place, there is the symbol of light and fire. Gregory of Tours recounts a practice that in some places was
preserved for a long time, of lighting the new fire for the celebration of the Easter Vigil directly from the sun, using a crystal.
Light and fire, so to speak, were received anew from heaven, so that all the lights and fires of the year could be kindled from
them. This is a symbol of what we are celebrating in the Easter Vigil. Through his radical love for us, in which the heart of God
and the heart of man touched, Jesus Christ truly took light from heaven and brought it to the earth – the light of truth and the
fire of love that transform man’s being. He brought the light, and now we know who God is and what God is like. Thus we also
know what our own situation is: what we are, and for what purpose we exist. When we are baptized, the fire of this light is
brought down deep within ourselves. Thus, in the early Church, Baptism was also called the Sacrament of Illumination: God’s
light enters into us; thus we ourselves become children of light. We must not allow this light of truth, that shows us the path,
to be extinguished. We must protect it from all the forces that seek to eliminate it so as to cast us back into darkness regarding
God and ourselves. Darkness, at times, can seem comfortable. I can hide, and spend my life asleep. Yet we are not called to
darkness, but to light. In our baptismal promises, we rekindle this light, so to speak, year by year. Yes, I believe that the world
and my life are not the product of chance, but of eternal Reason and eternal Love, they are created by Almighty God. Yes, I
believe that in Jesus Christ, in his incarnation, in his Cross and resurrection, the face of God has been revealed; that in him, God
is present in our midst, he unites us and leads us towards our goal, towards eternal Love. Yes, I believe that the Holy Spirit
gives us the word of truth and enlightens our hearts; I believe that in the communion of the Church we all become one Body
with the Lord, and thus we encounter his resurrection and eternal life. The Lord has granted us the light of truth. This light is
also fire, a powerful force coming from God, a force that does not destroy, but seeks to transform our hearts, so that we truly
become men of God, and so that his peace can become active in this world.
In the early Church there was a custom whereby the Bishop or the priest, after the homily, would cry out to the faithful:
"Conversi ad Dominum" – turn now towards the Lord. This meant in the first place that they would turn towards the East,
towards the rising sun, the sign of Christ returning, whom we go to meet when we celebrate the Eucharist. Where this was not
possible, for some reason, they would at least turn towards the image of Christ in the apse, or towards the Cross, so as to
orient themselves inwardly towards the Lord. Fundamentally, this involved an interior event; conversion, the turning of our
soul towards Jesus Christ and thus towards the living God, towards the true light. Linked with this, then, was the other
exclamation that still today, before the Eucharistic Prayer, is addressed to the community of the faithful: "Sursum corda" – lift
up your hearts, high above the tangled web of our concerns, desires, anxieties and thoughtlessness – "Lift up your hearts, your
inner selves!" In both exclamations we are summoned, as it were, to a renewal of our Baptism: "Conversi ad Dominum" – we
must distance ourselves ever anew from taking false paths, onto which we stray so often in our thoughts and actions. We must
turn ever anew towards him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We must be converted ever anew, turning with our whole
life towards the Lord. And ever anew we must allow our hearts to be withdrawn from the force of gravity, which pulls them
down, and inwardly we must raise them high: in truth and love. At this hour, let us thank the Lord, because through the power
of his word and of the holy Sacraments, he points us in the right direction and draws our heart upwards. Let us pray to him in
these words: Yes, Lord, make us Easter people, men and women of light, filled with the fire of your love. Amen.
Easter Sunday March 23, 2008
"Resurrexi, et adhuc tecum sum. Alleluia! – I have risen, I am still with you. Alleluia!" Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus, crucified
and risen, repeats this joyful proclamation to us today: the Easter proclamation. Let us welcome it with deep wonder and
"Resurrexi et adhuc tecum sum – I have risen, I am still with you, for ever." These words, taken from an ancient version of Psalm
138 (v. 18b), were sung at the beginning of today’s Mass. In them, at the rising of the Easter sun, the Church recognizes the
voice of Jesus himself who, on rising from death, turns to the Father filled with gladness and love, and exclaims: My Father, here
I am! I have risen, I am still with you, and so I shall be for ever; your Spirit never abandoned me. In this way we can also come to
a new understanding of other passages from the psalm: "If I climb the heavens, you are there; if I descend into the underworld,
you are there … Even darkness is not dark for you, and the night is as clear as day; for you, darkness is like light" (Ps 138:8,12).
It is true: in the solemn Easter vigil, darkness becomes light, night gives way to the day that knows no sunset. The death and
resurrection of the Word of God incarnate is an event of invincible love, it is the victory of that Love which has delivered us
from the slavery of sin and death. It has changed the course of history, giving to human life an indestructible and renewed
meaning and value.
"I have risen and I am still with you, for ever." These words invite us to contemplate the risen Christ, letting his voice resound in
our heart. With his redeeming sacrifice, Jesus of Nazareth has made us adopted children of God, so that we too can now take
our place in the mysterious dialogue between him and the Father. We are reminded of what he once said to those who were
listening: "All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to
whom the Son chooses to reveal him" (Mt 11:27). In this perspective, we note that the words addressed by the risen Jesus to
the Father on this day – "I am still with you, for ever" – apply indirectly to us as well, "children of God and fellow heirs with
Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him" (cf. Rom 8:17). Through the death and
resurrection of Christ, we too rise to new life today, and uniting our voice with his, we proclaim that we wish to remain for ever
with God, our infinitely good and merciful Father.
In this way we enter the depths of the Paschal mystery. The astonishing event of the resurrection of Jesus is essentially an
event of love: the Father’s love in handing over his Son for the salvation of the world; the Son’s love in abandoning himself to
the Father’s will for us all; the Spirit’s love in raising Jesus from the dead in his transfigured body. And there is more: the Father’
s love which "newly embraces" the Son, enfolding him in glory; the Son’s love returning to the Father in the power of the Spirit,
robed in our transfigured humanity. From today’s solemnity, in which we relive the absolute, once-and-for-all experience of
Jesus’s resurrection, we receive an appeal to be converted to Love; we receive an invitation to live by rejecting hatred and
selfishness, and to follow with docility in the footsteps of the Lamb that was slain for our salvation, to imitate the Redeemer
who is "gentle and lowly in heart", who is "rest for our souls" (cf. Mt 11:29).
Dear Christian brothers and sisters in every part of the world, dear men and women whose spirit is sincerely open to the truth,
let no heart be closed to the omnipotence of this redeeming love! Jesus Christ died and rose for all; he is our hope – true hope
for every human being. Today, just as he did with his disciples in Galilee before returning to the Father, the risen Jesus now
sends us everywhere as witnesses of his hope, and he reassures us: I am with you always, all days, until the end of the world
(cf. Mt 28:20). Fixing the gaze of our spirit on the glorious wounds of his transfigured body, we can understand the meaning
and value of suffering, we can tend the many wounds that continue to disfigure humanity in our own day. In his glorious
wounds we recognize the indestructible signs of the infinite mercy of the God of whom the prophet says: it is he who heals the
wounds of broken hearts, who defends the weak and proclaims the freedom of slaves, who consoles all the afflicted and
bestows upon them the oil of gladness instead of a mourning robe, a song of praise instead of a sorrowful heart (cf. Is 61:1,2,3).
If with humble trust we draw near to him, we encounter in his gaze the response to the deepest longings of our heart: to know
God and to establish with him a living relationship in an authentic communion of love, which can fill our lives, our interpersonal
and social relations with that same love. For this reason, humanity needs Christ: in him, our hope, "we have been saved" (cf.
How often relations between individuals, between groups and between peoples are marked not by love but by selfishness,
injustice, hatred and violence! These are the scourges of humanity, open and festering in every corner of the planet, although
they are often ignored and sometimes deliberately concealed; wounds that torture the souls and bodies of countless of our
brothers and sisters. They are waiting to be tended and healed by the glorious wounds of our Risen Lord (cf. 1 Pet 2:24-25) and
by the solidarity of people who, following in his footsteps, perform deeds of charity in his name, make an active commitment to
justice, and spread luminous signs of hope in areas bloodied by conflict and wherever the dignity of the human person
continues to be scorned and trampled. It is hoped that these are precisely the places where gestures of moderation and
forgiveness will increase!
Dear brothers and sisters! Let us allow the light that streams forth from this solemn day to enlighten us; let us open ourselves
in sincere trust to the risen Christ, so that his victory over evil and death may also triumph in each one of us, in our families, in
our cities and in our nations. Let it shine forth in every part of the world. In particular, how can we fail to remember certain
African regions, such as Dafur and Somalia, the tormented Middle East, especially the Holy Land, Iraq, Lebanon, and finally
Tibet, all of whom I encourage to seek solutions that will safeguard peace and the common good! Let us invoke the fullness of
his Paschal gifts, through the intercession of Mary who, after sharing the sufferings of the passion and crucifixion of her
innocent Son, also experienced the inexpressible joy of his resurrection. Sharing in the glory of Christ, may she be the one to
protect us and guide us along the path of fraternal solidarity and peace. These are my Easter greetings, which I address to all
who are present here, and to men and women of every nation and continent united with us through radio and television.
"Going to Rome Is for Paul the Expression of His Mission"
Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's homily for the Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Square on the feast of Sts.
Peter and Paul, which was Sunday. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I was present at the ceremony.
At vespers on Saturday, the Pope inaugurated the Pauline Jubilee Year, which ends June 29, 2009.
* * *
Your Holiness and fraternal Delegates,
Venerable brothers in the episcopate and priesthood,
Dear brothers and sisters
From the earliest times, the Church of Rome has celebrated the solemnity of the great apostles Peter and Paul
as a single feast on the same day, June 29. Through their martyrdom, they became brothers; together, they
are the founders of the new Christian Rome. They are sung of as such in the hymn of the second vespers,
which goes back to Paulinus of Aquileia (+806): "O Roma felix -- Oh happy Rome, adorned with the crimson of
the precious blood of such great princes, you surpass every beauty of the world, not by your own merit, but
trough the merit of the saints whom you have killed with bloody sword". The blood of martyrs does not call
for revenge -- but reconciles. It does not present itself as an accusation but as a "golden light," according to
the words of the hymn of the first vespers. It presents itself as the power of love which overcomes hate and
violence, founding, in this way, a new city, a new community.
By their martyrdom, they -- Peter and Paul -- are now part of Rome. Through martyrdom, even Peter became
a Roman citizen forever. Through their martyrdom, through their faith and their love, the two apostles show
us where true hope lies, and are the founders of a new kind of city, which must again and again form itself in
the midst of the old city of man, which continues to be threatened by the opposing forces of the sin and
egotism of men.
By virtue of their martyrdom, Peter and Paul are in reciprocal relationship forever. A favorite image of
Christian iconography is the embrace of the two apostles on the way to martyrdom. We can say that their
martyrdom itself, in its deepest reality, is the realization of a fraternal embrace. They die for the one Christ
and, in the witness for which they give their lives, they are one. In the writings of the New Testament, we
can, so to speak, follow the development of their embrace, this unity in witness and in mission.
Everything starts when Paul, three years after his conversion, goes to Jerusalem "to consult Cephas"
(Galatians 1:18). Fourteen years later, he again goes up to Jerusalem to explain "to the most esteemed
persons" the Gospel that he preaches in order so that he might not run the risk of "running, or having run, in
vain" (Galatians 2:1f). At the end of this meeting, James, Cephas and John give him their right hands, thus
confirming the communion that unites them in the one Gospel of Jesus Christ (Gal 2:9). A beautiful sign of this
growing interior embrace, which develops despite the difference in temperaments and in tasks, I find in the
fact that the co-workers mentioned at the end of the First Letter of St. Peter -- Silvanus and Mark -- were
equally close co-workers of St. Paul. This having of the same co-workers makes the communion of the one
Church, the embrace of the great apostles, visible in a very concrete way.
Peter and Paul met each other at least twice in Jerusalem; at the end their paths take them to Rome. Why?
Was this perhaps more than just pure chance? Is there perhaps a lasting message in it? Paul arrived in Rome
as a prisoner, but at the same time as a Roman citizen who, after his arrest in Jerusalem, as a Roman citizen
appealed to the emperor, to whose tribunal he was brought. But in a more profound sense, Paul came to
Rome voluntarily. Through the most important of his letters, he had already drawn close to this city
interiorly: to the Church in Rome, he had addressed the writing which, more than any other, is the synthesis
of his whole proclamation and his faith. In the opening salutation of the letter, he says that the whole world
speaks of the faith of the Christians of Rome and that this faith, therefore, was known everywhere as
exemplary (Romans 1:8). And then he writes: "I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I often
planned to come to you, though I was prevented until now" (1:13). At the end of the letter he comes back to
this theme, now speaking of a plan to travel to Spain. "When I go to Spain I hope to see you when I pass
through and to be helped by you on my way to that region, after having enjoyed your presence for a little
while" (15:24). "And I know that, having come to you, I shall come in the fullness of Christ's blessing" (15:29).
There are two things made evident here: Rome is for Paul a stage on the way to Spain, that is -- according to
his conception of the world -- towards the extreme end of the earth. He considers his mission to be the
fulfillment of the task received from Christ, the bringing of the Gospel to the very ends of the world. Rome is
along this route. While Paul usually only goes to places where the Gospel had not yet been announced, Rome
is an exception. There he finds a Church whose faith the world speaks about. Going to Rome is part of the
universality of his mission as one sent to all peoples. The way to Rome, which, already before his external trip,
he had traveled interiorly with his letter, is an integral part of his task of bringing the Gospel to all peoples --
of founding the Church, catholic and universal. Going to Rome is for him the expression of his mission's
catholicity. Rome must make the faith visible to the whole world, it must be the meeting place in the one
But why did Peter go to Rome? About this the New Testament does not say anything directly. But it gives us
some indication. The Gospel of St. Mark, which we may consider a reflection of the preaching of St. Peter, is
intimately oriented towards the moment when the Roman centurion, facing the death of Christ on the cross,
says, "Truly this man was the Son of God!" (15:39). At the cross the mystery of Jesus Christ is revealed.
Beneath the Cross the Church of the gentiles is born: the centurion of the Roman execution squad recognizes
the Son of God in Christ. The Acts of the Apostles describe the episode of Cornelius, the centurion of the Italic
cohort, as a decisive stage for the entrance of the Gospel into the pagan world. Following a command of God,
he sends someone to get Peter, and Peter, also following a divine order, goes to the centurion's house and
preaches. While he is speaking, the Holy Spirit descends on the gathered domestic community and Peter says:
"Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the holy Spirit even as we
have?" (Acts 10:47).
Thus, in the Council of the Apostles, Peter becomes the intercessor for the Church of the pagans who do not
need the Law because God "has purified their hearts with faith" (Acts 15:9). Certainly, in the Letter to the
Galatians, Paul says that God gave strength to Peter for the apostolic ministry among the circumcised, and to
Paul himself, the ministry among the pagans instead (Gal 2:8). But this assignment could be in force only as
long as Peter remained with the 12 in Jerusalem in the hope that all of Israel would adhere to Christ. In the
face of later developments, the 12 recognized the time in which they too must go forth into the world to
announce the Gospel to it. Peter who, following divine order, had been the first to open the door to pagans,
now leaves the leadership of the Christian-Jewish Church to James the Less, in order to dedicate himself to his
true mission: to the ministry of the unity of the one Church of God made up of Jews as well as pagans. The
desire of Paul to go to Rome highlights above all, as we have seen, the word "catholica" ["catholic"] among
the characteristics of the Church.
St. Peter's journey to Rome, as representative of the peoples of the world, is above all associated with the
word "una" ["one"]: he has the task of creating the "unity" of the "catholica," of the Church made up of Jews
and pagans, the Church of all peoples. And this is the permanent mission of Peter: to make sure that the
Church never identifies herself with any one nation, any one culture or any one state. That it may always be
the Church of all. That it may unite mankind beyond every frontier and, amidst the divisions of this world,
make God's peace present, the reconciling power of his love. Due to technology that is now the same
everywhere, due to the global information network, and due also to the linking of common interests, there
are new modes of unity in the world, which have caused the explosion of new oppositions and given new
impetus to old ones. In the midst of this external unity, based on material things, we have all the more need
of interior unity which comes from the peace of God - the unity of all those who, through Jesus Christ, have
become brothers and sisters. This is the permanent mission of Peter, as well as the special task entrusted to
the Church of Rome.
Dear confreres in the Episcopate! I wish now to address those of you who have come to Rome to receive the
pallium as the symbol of your rank and your responsibility as archbishops in the Church of Jesus Christ. The
pallium is woven from the wool of the sheep that the Bishop of Rome blesses every year on the Feast of
Peter's Chair, thus setting them apart, so to speak, to be a symbol for the flock of Christ, over which you
When we put the pallium on our shoulders, this gesture reminds us of the Shepherd who puts the lost sheep
upon his shoulders -- the lost sheep who by himself can no longer find the way home -- and takes him back to
the sheepfold. The Fathers of the Church saw in this sheep the image of all mankind, of human nature in its
entirety, which is lost its and can no longer find the way home. The Shepherd who takes the sheep home can
only be the Logos, the eternal Word of God himself. In the Incarnation, he placed us all -- the sheep who is
man -- on his shoulders. He, the eternal Word, the true Shepherd of mankind, carries us; in his humanity he
carries each of us on his shoulders. On the way of the Cross, he carried us home, he takes us home. But he
also wants men who can "carry" together with him. Being a shepherd in the Church of Christ means taking
part in this task, which the pallium commemorates. When we put it on, he asks us: "Will you also carry,
together with me, those who belong to me? Will you bring them to me, to Jesus Christ?" What comes to mind
next is the order Peter received from the Risen Christ, who links the command, "Feed my sheep" inseparably
with the question, "Do you love me? Do you love me more than others do?" Every time we put on the
pallium of the shepherd of Christ's flock, we should hear this question, "Do you love me?" and we must ask
ourselves about that "more" of love that he expects from the shepherd.
Thus the pallium becomes a symbol of our love for the Shepherd Christ and our loving together with him -- it
becomes the symbol of the calling to love men as he does, together with him: those who are searching, those
who have questions, those who are self-assured and the humble, the simple and the great; it becomes the
symbol of the calling to love all of them with the strength of Christ and in view of Christ, so that they may
find him, and in him, find themselves. But the pallium which you will receive "from" the tomb of Peter has
yet another meaning, inseparably connected with the first. To understand this, a word from the First Letter of
St. Peter may help us. In his exhortation to priests to feed the flock in the correct way, St. Peter calls himself a
"synpresbýteros" -- co-priest (5:1). This formula implicitly contains the affirmation of the principle of apostolic
succession: the shepherds who follow are shepherds like him; together with him, they belong to the common
ministry of the shepherds of the Church of Jesus Christ, a ministry that continues in them. But this "co-" (in
co-priest) has still two other meanings. It also expresses the reality that we indicate today by what is said
today about the "collegiality" of bishops. We are all "co-priests." No one is a shepherd by himself. We are in
the succession of the apostles thanks only to being in the communion of the college in which the college of
apostles finds its continuation. The communion -- the "we" -- of the shepherds is part of being shepherds,
because there is only one flock, the one Church of Jesus Christ. Finally, this "co-" also refers to communion
with Peter and his successor as a guarantee of unity. Thus, the pallium speaks to us of the catholicity of the
Church, of the universal communion of shepherd and flock. And it refers us to apostolicity: to communion
with the faith of the apostles on which the Church is founded. It speaks to us of the "ecclesia" that is "una,"
"catholica," "apostolic," and naturally, binding us to Christ, it speaks to us of the fact that the Church is
"sancta" us that the Church is holy, and that our work is a service of this holiness.
This brings me back, finally, to St. Paul and his mission. He expressed the essence of his mission, as well as the
most profound reason for his desire to go to Rome, in Chapter 15 of the Letter to the Romans, in an
extraordinarily beautiful passage. He knows he has been called "to be a 'leitourgos' of Christ Jesus for the
Gentiles, serving the Gospel of God as a priest, so that the pagans become an acceptable offering, sanctified
by the holy Spirit" (15:16). Only in this passage does Paul use the word "hierourgein" -- serving as a priest --
together with "leitourgos" -- liturgist: he speaks of the cosmic liturgy, in which the world of men itself must
become worship of God, an offering in the Holy Spirit. When the whole world will have become the liturgy of
God, when in its reality it will have become adoration, then it will have reached its goal, then it will be whole
and saved. And this is the ultimate objective of St. Paul's apostolic mission and of ours. It is to such a mystery
that the Lord calls us. Let us pray in this hour that he may help us carry it out in the right way, to become
true liturgists of Jesus Christ. Amen.