.- Before the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI held up St. Peterâs profession of faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God as an example for Christians. Recounting his mission as Pope, bishop of Rome and successor of Peter, he encouraged his audience to support him with their prayers.
Speaking from the balcony of his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father cited the Sunday readings, in particular Jesus' two questions to his disciples: Who do people say the Son of Man is? Who do you say I am?
Pope Benedict said that Peter's words, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God", are repeated by the Church.
Catholics, the Holy Father continued, make this "solemn profession of
faith", with the knowledge that âChrist is the true âtreasureâ for which it is worth sacrificing everything; He is the friend who never abandons us, because He knows the expectations of our most intimate heart.â
He expounded, "Jesus is the âSon of the Living God,â the promised Messiah, come to earth to offer salvation to humankind and to satisfy the thirst of life and love that is in every human being."
Pope Benedict recalled Jesus' reply to Peter: "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven."
This was the first time that Jesus mentioned the Church, whose mission is to unite humanity in him, the Pope said. From this mission, the Holy Father said, comes the mission of Peter and his successors: âto serve the unity of the Church of God, made up of Jews and pagans; his ministry is essential to ensure that the Church does not ever identify with a single nation, with a single cultureâ and to bring âthe peace of God and the renewing power of his loveâ to a divided mankind.
Pope Benedict concluded his words by asking for prayers from the faithful and by invoking the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church and Star of Evangelization.