In this issue of The Sower, Sr Johanna Paruch continues to focus on St. Paul as the outstanding catechetical saint for our times.
In his audience on October 8, 2008, Pope Benedict continued his addresses to celebrate the year of St. Paul. He was speaking of Paul’s treatment of Jesus’ teaching, ‘when he brings about a form of transposition of the pre-Paschal tradition to the situation after Easter.’ Pope Benedict wants to show us that St Paul is true to the teaching of Christ, even though the ways in which he presents the teaching of Christ can be very different. Benedict notes that this fidelity is particularly apparent when Paul writes about the Kingdom.
‘For example, the parable of the Pharisee and the publican (cf. Lk 18:9-14), imparts a teaching that is found exactly as it is in Paul, when he insists on the proper exclusion of any boasting to God. Even Jesus’ sentences on publicans and prostitutes, who were more willing to accept the Gospel than the Pharisees (cf. Matt 21:31; Lk 7:36-50) and his decision to share meals with them (cf. Matt 9: 10-13; Lk 15:1-2) are fully confirmed in Paul’s teaching on God's merciful love for sinners (cf. Rom 5: 8-10; and also Eph 2:3-5). Thus the theme of the Kingdom of God is reproposed in a new form, but always in full fidelity to the tradition of the historical Jesus.’
Jesus announces, ‘This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel’ (Mk 1:14). The proclamation of the kingdom by Jesus is, as we know, the very heart of his message. Pope Benedict confirms that this provides us with the core content of the Gospel. He writes, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand. A milestone is set up in the flow of time: something new takes place. And an answer to this gift is demanded of man: conversion and faith. The center of this announcement is the message that God’s kingdom is at hand.’[i]