Pontiff Reflects on Messianic Secret

Says Suffering Was Key to Christ’s Mission

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 1, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Christ knew that to fulfill his mission he had to suffer and die on the cross. For this reason, he took great strides to keep his identity hidden, says Benedict XVI.

Reflecting on today’s Gospel (Mark 1:21-28) before praying the Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope spoke about the «so-called ‘Messianic secret.'»

«For the moment, Jesus does not want anyone outside the restricted group of his disciples to know that he is the Christ, the Son of God,» the Pontiff explained. «This is why he often admonishes the apostles and the sick people whom he heals to not reveal his identity to anyone.»

«Not only does Jesus chase demons out of people, freeing them from the worst slavery, but he prohibits the demons themselves from revealing his identity,» he added.

The Holy Father said Christ insisted on this secret «because the fulfillment of his mission is at stake, on which our salvation depends.»

«He knows in fact that to liberate humanity from the dominion of sin he must be sacrificed on the cross as the true paschal lamb,» Benedict XVI explained. «The devil, for his part, tries to divert his attention and direct it instead toward a human logic of a powerful and successful messiah.»

The Pope continued: «The cross of Christ will be the demon’s ruin, and this is why Jesus does not cease to teach his disciples that in order to enter into his glory he must suffer much, be rejected, condemned and crucified. Suffering is an integral part of his mission.»

«Jesus suffers and dies on the cross for love,» he added. «When we consider this, we see that it is in this way that he gave meaning to our suffering, a meaning that many men and women of every age understood and made their own, experiencing profound serenity even in the bitterness of difficult physical and moral trials.»

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