Friendship with Christ

Joseph Komonchak has a post below on Pope Benedict's address to Austrian leaders and members of the diplomatic corps.

During the celebration of the Eucharist today at the Marian shrine of Mariazell (the goal of his pilgrimage) Benedict's homily spoke of the central theme of his preaching and teaching: friendship with Christ as the heart of Christianity.

Here is an excerpt:

To gaze upon Christ! If we do this, we realize that Christianity is more than and different from a moral code, from a series of requirements and laws. It is the gift of a friendship that lasts through life and death: No longer do I call you servants, but friends (Jn 15:15), the Lord says to his disciples. We entrust ourselves to this friendship. Yet precisely because Christianity is more than a moral system, because it is the gift of friendship, for this reason it also contains within itself great moral strength, which is so urgently needed today on account of the challenges of our time. If with Jesus Christ and his Church we constantly re-read the Ten Commandments of Sinai, entering into their full depth, then a great teaching unfolds before us. It is first and foremost a yes to God, to a God who loves us and leads us, who carries us and yet allows us our freedom: indeed, it is he who makes our freedom real (the first three commandments). It is a yes to the family (fourth commandment), a yes to life (fifth commandment), a yes to responsible love (sixth commandment), a yes to solidarity, to social responsibility and to justice (seventh commandment), a yes to truth (eighth commandment) and a yes to respect for other people and for what is theirs (ninth and tenth commandments). By the strength of our friendship with the living God we live this manifold yes and at the same time we carry it as a signpost into our world.

The rest of the homily is here.

Robert P. Imbelli, a long-time Commonweal contributor, is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. A book of essays in his honor, The Center Is Jesus Christ Himself, edited by Andrew Meszaros, was published this year by The Catholic University of America Press.

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