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General Audience, 24 September 2008



Paul VI Audience Hall
Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In today’s catechesis we turn again to the life of Saint Paul and consider his relationship with the Twelve Apostles. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul speaks of his visits to Jerusalem where he consulted Peter, James and John, reputed to be the “pillars” of the Church. Paul’s mission to the Gentiles needed to be confirmed and guaranteed by those who had been disciples of Jesus during his earthly life, and they offered to him and to Barnabas the right hand of fellowship. Paul passed on the living tradition that he had received: the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, his death and resurrection, and his appearances to Peter and to the Twelve. Paul emphasizes that Jesus died “for our sins”, he offered himself to the Father in order to deliver us from sin and death. And now that Jesus has risen from the dead, he is living in his Church and in the Eucharist, where we continue to encounter him. Just as Paul’s teaching is rooted in his experience on the road to Damascus, and in his knowledge of Christ acquired through the Church, so too our faith is grounded, not on myths or pious legends, but on the words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth, and on our encounter with the risen Lord, present in the life of his Church.

* * *

I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors here today, including the choir from New Zealand and the groups from Britain and Ireland, Scandinavia, Africa, Australia and the Far East. I greet in particular the new students from the Venerable English College and the priests from Ireland who are taking part in a renewal course. May your pilgrimage renew your faith in Christ present in his Church, after the example of the Apostle Saint Paul. May God bless you all!

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