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General Audience, 29 October 2008



Wednesday, 29 October 2008


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our continuing catechesis on Saint Paul, we now consider the central place of the Cross of Jesus Christ in his preaching. Paulís encounter with the glorified Lord on the way to Damascus convinced him that Jesus had died and risen for him and for all. The mystery of the Cross showed him the power of Godís merciful and saving love. As Paul told the Corinthians, he came not to preach in lofty words or wisdom, but to proclaim ďJesus Christ, and him crucifiedĒ (cf. I Cor 2:2). The Cross, which seems a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, is the revelation of Godís wisdom and strength. As the supreme sign of Godís love for sinful humanity, the Cross invites us to that true wisdom which accepts the free gift of Godís merciful and saving love. On the Cross Christ gave himself up for our sins (cf. Gal 1:4), becoming a sacrifice of atonement in his own blood (cf. Rom 3:25). For Paul, faith in the crucified Lord thus calls us to crucify our own flesh with its desires, in order to share in Christís death and resurrection (cf. Gal 5:24). In accepting the weakness of the Cross, we experience the power of Godís love for us.

* * *

I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present, especially those from Britain and Ireland, Norway, Australia, Korea, Vietnam and the United States of America. I greet especially the Delegation of Papal Knights from Great Britain, and the members and benefactors of the Gregorian University Foundation of New York. Upon you and your families, I cordially invoke Godís blessings of peace and joy.

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