Dear Brothers and Sisters:
In our catechesis on the Church, we now consider what it means to say, with Saint Paul, that the Church is “the Body of Christ”.
Just as our body is one, but made up of many members, so it is with Christ and the Church. The vision of Prophet Ezechiel, in which God’s Spirit gives flesh and life to a field of dry bones, is a foreshadowing of the Church, filled with the Spirit’s gift of new life in Christ and united in fellowship and love. Through Baptism we are made one with Christ in the mystery of his death and resurrection; all of us become sharers in the Holy Spirit and members of a mystical body of which the Risen Christ is the head.
Paul uses the image of marital love to illustrate this great mystery: just as a husband and wife are one flesh, so it is with Christ and the Church. As members of the one body, we are called to live in unity, overcoming every temptation to discord and division. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, may we work to build up Christ’s Body in love by accepting with gratitude his many gifts, valuing those gifts in others and always showing generous concern for our brothers and sisters in need.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including the various groups from England, Ireland, Denmark, Lithuania, Nigeria, Vietnam, China, Japan, Qatar and the United States of America. In a particular way, my greeting goes to the Irish pilgrims from the Diocese of Limerick, accompanied by their Bishop. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke joy and peace in the Lord Jesus. God bless you all!