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Belief precedes, enables understanding of Christ's message, Pope tells audience

Catholic World News - August 27, 2012

St. Peter and the other apostles understood the message of Jesus because they first believed in Him, Pope Benedict XVI told his Sunday Angelus audience on August 26.

Continuing his reflections on the 6th chapter of St. John’s Gospel, the Pope reminded his audience that many listeners could not accept Christ’s statement that He is the bread of life. Their problem, the Holy Father said, was that they could not look beyond the immediate material world. They hoped for an earthly leader, and when Jesus presented a different teaching, they fell away.

The apostles, however, recognized the essence of Christ’s mission, which St. Peter acknowledged by saying: “Lord, to whom shall we go. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Citing a commentary of St. Augustine, the Pope pointed out that for St. Peter, belief came first, and enabled him to understand. “He does not say we have understood and then we believed, but we believed and then we understood. We have believed in order to be able to understand.”

There was an exception among the apostles, however, Pope Benedict reminded his audience. Judas did not believe. Like many others, he was disappointed that Jesus would not deliver on the promise of an earthly kingdom. "Judas could have left as many disciples did," the Pope said. “The problem is that Judas did not go away, and his most serious fault was falsehood, which is the mark of the devil.”

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  • Posted by: koinonia - Aug. 27, 2012 8:50 PM ET USA

    There's tremendous importance here. Our Lord asked St. Peter: "Who do you say that I am?" Each of us must answer this question with Simon. The Holy Father once again hits upon something most vital and relevant to us in a time of unprecedented distraction and distortion. Our Baptism has made us heirs. It is the Word Incarnate who works miracles within us with His undying love if only we ask. If they could not look past the "immediate world" in Christ's time, how much harder is it to do so now?

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