Benedict XVI’s Wednesday Catechesis

LET’S FOLLOW THE POPE IN HIS WAY WEEK AFTER WEEK

Since 15th March 2006, the Holy Father has dedicated the Wednesday Audiences to the Church, seen as a gift and a service of communion, in the apostolic tradition.

“Following the Catecheses on the Psalms and Canticles of Lauds and of Vespers, I would like to dedicate the upcoming Wednesday Audiences to the mystery of the relationship between Christ and the Church, reflecting upon it from the experience of the Apostles, in the light of the task entrusted to them. The Church was built on the foundation of the Apostles as a community of faith, hope and charity. Through the Apostles, we go back to Jesus himself. The Church started to set up when some fishermen of Galilee met Jesus, allowing themselves to be won over by his gaze, his voice, his warm and strong invitation: "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men" (Mk 1:17; Mt 4:19).”

“And this communion, which we call ‘Church’, does not only extend to all believers in a specific historical period, but also embraces all the epochs and all the generations. Thus, we have a twofold universality: a synchronic universality - we are united with believers in every part of the world - and also a so-called diachronic universality, that is: all the epochs belong to us, and all the believers of the past and of the future form with us a single great communion. (…)Thanks to the Paraclete, it will always be possible for subsequent generations to have the same experience of the Risen One that was lived by the apostolic community at the origin of the Church, since it is passed on and actualized in the faith, worship and communion of the People of God, on pilgrimage through time.” (26th April 2006)

Benedict XVI presented each individual Apostle, then the apostle Paul starting from 25 October, Timothy and Titus on 13th December, Stephen the Protomartyr on 10th January 2007, Barnabas, Silas (also called Silvanus), and Apollos on 31st January.

We wish to call your attention particularly to those catechesis devoted to the first Christian Community, in particular to a specific catechesis upon Aquila and Priscilla on 7th February 2007.
CA has a great affection for this couple of lay people who collaborated with the Apostle.

“One thing is sure: together with the gratitude of the early Church, of which St Paul speaks, we must also add our own, since thanks to the faith and apostolic commitment of the lay faithful, of families, of spouses like Priscilla and Aquila, Christianity has reached our generation. It could grow not only thanks to the Apostles who announced it. In order to take root in people's land and develop actively, the commitment of these families, these spouses, these Christian communities, of these lay faithful was necessary in order to offer the ‘humus’ for the growth of the faith. As always, it is only in this way that the Church grows. This couple in particular demonstrates how important the action of Christian spouses is. When they are supported by the faith and by a strong spirituality, their courageous commitment for the Church and in the Church becomes natural. The daily sharing of their life prolongs and in some way is sublimated in the assuming of a common responsibility in favour of the Mystical Body of Christ, even if just a little part of it. Thus it was in the first generation and thus it will often be.
A further lesson we cannot neglect to draw from their example: every home can transform itself in a little church.

Another Audience was dedicated to the women at the service of the Gospel on 14th February 2007.

“And we use the last step of this first journey to dedicate our attention to the many female figures who played an effective and precious role in spreading the Gospel. In conformity with what Jesus himself said of the woman who anointed his head shortly before the Passion: "Truly, I say to you, wherever this Gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her" (Mt 26:13; Mk 14:9), their testimony cannot be forgotten.
The Lord wants these Gospel witnesses, these figures who have made a contribution so that faith in him would grow, to be known, and their memory kept alive in the Church. We can historically distinguish the role of the first women in early Christianity, during Jesus' earthly life and in the events of the first Christian generation”.

On 7th March 2007, speaking about St Clement, Bishop of Rome, the Holy Father said: “In these past months we have meditated on the figures of the individual Apostles and on the first witnesses of the Christian faith who are mentioned in the New Testament writings. Let us now devote our attention to the Apostolic Fathers, that is, to the first and second generations in the Church subsequent to the Apostles. And thus, we can see where the Church's journey begins in history.”