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Wednesday, September 27, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 27, 2006 (VIS) - In concluding this Wednesday's General Audience, celebrated in Saint Peter's Square, the Pope said that today was World Tourism Day, "a very important social phenomenon in today's world". He continued saying he hoped "that tourism would promote dialogue and mutual respect between cultures, more all the time, thus becoming a door open to peace and harmonious co-existence".

  Recalling that today is the liturgical day dedicated to Saint Vincent de Paul, Benedict XVI asked that the "example of charity" of this saint "spur the young people to achieve the future projects in a joyful and uninterested service towards others. May it help you, dear ailing persons, in facing suffering as a special vocation of love, and spur you, dear newlyweds, in creating a family always open to the gift of life and to the poor".
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 27, 2006 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated the catechesis of Wednesday's General Audience to the Apostle Thomas. The audience was celebrated in Saint Peter's Square, with 30,000 persons present.

  The Pope explained that Thomas's personality is characterized by "his determination in following the Master" and gave as an example the Apostle's exhortation to his companions to accompany Jesus to Jerusalem, even knowing the dangers involved. This determination "reveals total availability in adhering to Jesus, to the point of identifying one's fate with His (...) Christian life is defined as a life with Jesus Christ, a life to be lived with Him".

  Thomas also intervenes in the Last Supper when he asks Christ which is the way, because they do not know it, and Jesus responds "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life". The Holy Father said, "Every time we hear or read these words, we feel that our thoughts side with Thomas and imagine that the Lord speaks to us as He did to him. At the same time, the question also confers us the right, so to speak, to ask Jesus for explanations. This way we express the shallowness of our ability to understand, at the same time we set ourselves in an attitude of trust, like those who await the light and strength from the one able to give this to us".

  The most well-known scene is the one when Thomas is doubtful, when the Apostle says to the Risen Jesus that he cannot recognize Him until he places his hand in the wound in His side. "In the end, these words demonstrate the conviction that by now Christ is recognized not as much by His face but by His wounds. Thomas believes that the qualifying signs of Jesus are above all, now, the wounds, which reveal to what point He loved us. As to this, the Apostle is correct".

  Benedict XVI said: "The case of the Apostle Thomas is important for us for at least three reasons: first, because it comforts our insecurities; second, because it shows us that each doubt can achieve an enlightened result beyond any incertitude; and, finally, because the words said to him by Jesus remind us of the true meaning of mature faith and encourage us to follow, despite the difficulties, our path in adhering to Him".
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