Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Word of God is Eternal

Address of Pope Benedict XVI
Sunday Angelus, November 15, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

We thank the Lord who has enabled us to carry out, yet again, this journey of faith -- old and always new -- in the great spiritual family of the Church! It is an inestimable gift, which allows us to live in history the mystery of Christ, receiving in the furrows of our personal and community existence the seed of the Word of God, seed of eternity that transforms this world from within and opens it to the Heavenly Kingdom.

Accompanying us in the itinerary of Sunday biblical readings was St. Mark's Gospel, which today presents a part of Jesus' discourse on the end times. In this discourse, there is a phrase that is striking for its synthetic clarity: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away" (Mark 13:31).

Let us reflect, for a moment, on this prophecy of Christ.

The expression "heaven and earth" is frequent in the Bible to indicate the whole universe, the entire cosmos. Jesus says that all this is destined to "pass." Not only the earth, but also heaven, understood, in fact, in the cosmic sense, not as a synonym of God. Sacred Scripture knows no ambiguity: The whole of creation is marked by finiteness, including the elements divinized by ancient mythologies: There is no confusion between creation and the Creator, but rather a clear difference. With such a clear distinction, Jesus affirms that His words "will not pass," that is, they are part of God and because of this are eternal.

However, pronounced in the concreteness of His earthly existence, they are prophetic words par excellence, as Jesus affirms in another place, addressing the celestial Father: "for I have given them the words which thou gave me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee and they have believed that thou didst send me" (John 17:8).

In a well-known parable, Christ compares Himself to the sower and explains that the seed is the Word (cfr Mark 4:14): Those who hear it, receive it and bear fruit (cfr Mark 4:20) are part of the Kingdom of God, that is, they live under His lordship; they remain in the world, but are no longer of the world; therefore, in them is a seed of eternity, a principle of transformation that already now is manifested in a good life, animated by charity, and in the end will produce the resurrection of the flesh. Behold the power of the Word of Christ.

Dear friends, the Virgin Mary is the living sign of this truth. Her heart was "good earth" that received with full disposition the Word of God, so that all her existence, transformed according to the image of the Son, was introduced into eternity, soul and body, anticipating the eternal vocation of every human being. Now, in prayer, let us make our own her response to the Angel: "let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38), so that, following Christ on the way of the Cross, we might also be able to come to the glory of the Resurrection.

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