Benedict XVI Tells What Sharing the Faith Requires

100,000 Hear His Homily in Verona

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VERONA, Italy, OCT. 19, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI told Italian Catholics gathered at a national ecclesial congress that the key to communicating the faith is to live as "witnesses of the risen Jesus."



The Pope proposed this in his homily during the Mass he presided over today in Verona's Bentegodi soccer stadium, packed with 42,000 people. An additional 60,000 followed the Mass on large screens installed in various parts of the city.

To communicate to others what a Christian believes, "it is necessary that this faith become life in each one of us," the Holy Father said. A great effort "is necessary so that every Christian becomes a 'witness,' is able and willing to assume the commitment to always give a reason to everyone for the hope that encourages him."

To achieve this, Benedict XVI said, one must "announce with vigor and joy the event of the death and resurrection of Christ, [the] heart of Christianity, essential fulcrum of our faith, powerful spring of our certainties, impetuous wind that sweeps away all fear and indecision, all doubt and human calculation."

"Only from God can the decisive change of the world come," the Pontiff said. "Only from the Resurrection is the authentic nature of the Church and of her testimony, understood."

To grasp what it means to be "witnesses of the risen Jesus, the 'of' must be well understood," stressed the Pope. "It means that the witness is 'of' the risen Jesus, namely, that he belongs to him, and precisely because of this, can give a valid testimony, can speak of him, make him known, lead others to him, transmit his presence."

In this way, the Holy Father added, "Christians can give the world hope, as they are of Christ and of God in the measure that they die with him to sin and rise with him to the new life of love, forgiveness, service and nonviolence."