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I say to you, arise!

Catechesis by Pope John Paul II on Jesus Christ
General Audience, Wednesday 18 November 1987 - in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish  

"1. If we examine attentively "the mighty works and wonders and signs" spoken of by the Apostle Peter on Pentecost day in Jerusalem and provided by God as a proof of the credibility of Jesus Christ's mission, we note that in performing these "miraculous signs," Jesus acted in his own name. He was conscious of his divine power and at the same time of his intimate union with the Father. Once again and always we are in the presence of the mystery of the "Son of Man—Son of God," whose identity transcends all limits of the human condition (although belonging to it by his own free choice), and all possibility of human achievement and even of knowledge.

2. A glance at some individual events recorded by the evangelists enables us to take note of that mysterious presence in whose name Jesus Christ performed his miracles. For example, Jesus responded to the entreaties of the leper who begged him, "If you will, you can cure me!" In his human nature, moved with compassion, Jesus gave a word of command which, in such a case, is proper to God and not to a mere human being: "'I do will it. Be made clean!' The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean" (cf. Mk 1:40-42). Similarly in the case of the paralytic who was let down through an opening made in the roof of the house, Jesus said, "I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home" (cf. Mk 2:1-12).

Again, in the case of Jairus' daughter we read that "he (Jesus) took the child by the hand, and said to her, 'Talitha koum,' which means, 'Little girl, I say to you, arise!' The girl arose immediately and walked around" (Mk 5:41-42). In the case of the young man of Naim who had died, Jesus said, "'Young man, I tell you, arise!' The dead man sat up and began to speak" (Lk 7:14-15).

In so many of these episodes we see appearing from Jesus' words the expression of a will and a power to which he interiorly appealed and which he expressed, one might say, with the greatest naturalness. It was as though the power to give people health, healing and even to bring the dead back to life, belonged to his own mysterious condition.

3. The raising of Lazarus merits particular attention, described in detail by St. John. We read, "Jesus looked upward and said; 'Father, I thank you for having heard me. I know that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd, that they may believe that you sent me.' Having said this, he called loudly, 'Lazarus, come out!' And the dead man came out" (Jn 11:41-44). In the precise description of this event, John emphasized that Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead by Jesus' own power and in close union with the Father. Here we find a clear confirmation of Jesus' words, "My Father is working still and I am working" (Jn 5:17). Moreover, it could be said that we have here an anticipated demonstration of what Jesus will say in the upper room during his Last Supper conversation with the apostles concerning his relations with the Father, and, indeed, concerning his identity in being with the Father.

4. The Gospels show by various miracles-signs that the divine power at work in Jesus Christ extends beyond the human world and is revealed as a power of dominion also over the forces of nature. The calming of the tempest is significant. "Meanwhile a great storm of wind arose." The terrified fishermen-apostles awoke Jesus who was asleep in the stern. He "woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, 'Quiet! Be still!' The wind ceased and there was great calm...[the apostles] were filled with great awe and said to one another, 'Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?'" (cf. Mk 4:37-41).

This series of events included the miraculous catches of fish which took place at Jesus' command (in verbo tuo) after previous attempts had failed (cf. Lk 5:4-6; Jn 21:3-6). The same can also be said, as regards the structure of the event, of the "first sign" performed at Cana in Galilee, when Jesus ordered the servants to fill the jars with water and then to bring "the water changed into wine" to the headwaiter (cf. Jn 2:7-9). As in the miraculous catches of fish, so likewise at Cana of Galilee, people played their part—the fishermen-apostles in one case, and the servants at the marriage feast in the other. But it is clear that the extraordinary effect of the action did not come from them, but from him who had given them the order to act and who worked with his mysterious divine power. This is confirmed by the reaction of the apostles, and especially of Peter who, after the miraculous catch of fish, "fell at the knees of Jesus and said, 'Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man'" (Lk 5:8). It is one of the many cases of emotional feeling which assumes the form of reverential awe or even of fear, both in the apostles as in the case of Simon Peter, and also in the people when they feel touched by the wing of the divine mystery.

5. On a day after the ascension, those who witnessed "the wonders and signs...done through the apostles" (cf. Acts 2:43), were seized by a similar "awe." According to Acts, the people "carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them" (Acts 5:15). However, these "wonders and signs" which accompanied the beginnings of the apostolic Church were done by the apostles not in their own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ, and were therefore a further proof of his divine power. One is impressed by Peter's reply and command to the crippled man who had asked him for an alms near the gate of the Temple of Jerusalem: "'I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.' And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong" (Acts 3:6-7). One recalls also what Peter said to the paralyzed man named Aeneas, "'Jesus Christ hears you. Get up and make your bed.' And he got up at once" (Acts 9:34).

Also the other prince of the apostles, Paul, when recalling in the Letter to the Romans all that he had done as "minister of Christ among the pagans," hastened to add that his sole merit is to be found in that ministry. "For I will not dare to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit" (15:18-19).

In the Church in the early period and especially in the evangelization of the world carried out by the apostles, those "mighty works, wonders and signs" abounded, as Jesus himself had promised them (cf. Acts 2:22). But it can be said that they have always been repeated throughout salvation history, especially in decisive moments for putting God's plan into effect. Thus it was in the Old Testament in regard to the Exodus of Israel from the bondage of Egypt and the journey to the promised land under the leadership of Moses. With the Incarnation of the Son of God "the fullness of time had come" (cf. Gal 4:4). Those miraculous signs of the divine action then took on a new value and a new efficacy through the divine authority of Christ and through the reference to his name - and therefore to his truth, promise, command and glory - with which they were performed by the apostles and by so many saints in the Church. Miracles happen even today, and in each of them the face of the "Son of Man-Son of God" is outlined, and we see an affirmation of a gift of grace and salvation."


After the Catechesis, Pope John Paul II greeted the pilgrims in various languages

Ai fedeli di lingua francese

Je salue cordialement les personnes de langue française présentes à cette audience. Je souhaite que leur visite à Rome les encourage à participer activement à la vie de l’Eglise du Christ. Et, de tout cœur, je prie Dieu de les bénir.

Ai pellegrini e visitatori di espressione inglese

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I wish to offer a cordial welcome to the Canadian pilgrims from Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Toronto and from the Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland. My greetings also go to the Lutheran pilgrims from Sweden.

It is a joy to welcome all the priests and religious who are present today, in particular the participants in the Christian Brothers’ Renewal Programme and the members of the General Chapter of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Dear Brothers and Sisters: during the Marian Year the Church invites us to consider the pilgrimage of faith which the Virgin Mary undertook, especially when she said her “Fiat” to God: "Let it be done to me according to your word". For all of us, and in a special way for you who are called to the religious life, the Mother of God is an inspiring example of obedient faith-that faith which helps us to conform our lives to Christ and to persevere in hope and in loving service. May you find in Mary a constant friend and faithful companion.

To all the English-speaking visitors I extend a heartfelt greeting, especially to those coming from England, Sweden, Canada and the United States. Upon all of you I invoke the peace and joy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ai pellegrini di lingua tedesca

Liebe Pilger und Besucher deutscher Sprache! Im Leben jedes einzelnen von euch müßte etwas aufleuchten von jener erbarmungsvollen Liebe Jesu Christi, die er bis zum Einsatz seines Lebens in Wort und Tat bekundet hat. In euren Familien, bei eurer Berufsarbeit, in Schule und Freizeit ergeben sich zahllose Gelegenheiten hierfür. Nutzt sie mit der Kraft eures Christenglaubens für eine menschenwürdige Zukunft dieser Erde, für das Kommen des Reiches Gottes.

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Mit diesem Segenswunsch grüße ich euch alle, heute vor allem die beiden großen Gruppen aus dem Raum München mit der Lesergemeinde einer Zeitung aus Weiden in der Oberpfalz sowie aus dem Raum Hamburg, der ich die Reisegruppe der Katholischen Akademie Hamburg hinzufügen darf. Mit aufmerksamer Anteilnahme grüße ich sodann die Teilnehmerinnen am Generalkapitel der Marienschwestern von der Unbefleckten Empfängnis und wünsche ihnen einen fruchtbaren und geisterfüllten Verlauf ihrer Beratungen. Stellvertretend für alle anwesenden Jugendlichen grüße ich die Schülerinnen mit Lehrerinnen von der Liebfrauenschule bei Rottenburg. Gott schenke euch allen eine gesunde Heimkehr zu euren Lieben mit einer guten Erinnerung an Rom und den Vatikan. Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!

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Einen besonderen Gruß richte ich an die Abgeordneten des Deutschen Bundestages im Ausschuß für Welternährung, Weltwirtschaft und Weltforstwirtschaft, die anläßlich der derzeitigen Vollversammlung der FAO in Rom weilen. Ich danke Ihnen, sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, für Ihren heutigen Besuch und ermutige Sie in Ihrem verantwortungsvollen Wirken in den wichtigen Bereichen von Ernährung und Wirtschaft. Ihnen stellen sich dort lebensnotwendige Aufgaben für Menschen und Völker, die heute nur noch in weltweiter Zusammenarbeit angepackt werden können und nach umfassenden Lösungen verlangen. Dies fordern nicht nur äußere, grenzüberschreitende Sachzwänge, sondern vor allem eine wachsende weltweite Solidarität unter den Nationen sowie die Suche nach Gerechtigkeit, Frieden und sozialem Fortschritt in der ganzen Völkergemeinschaft. Von Herzen segne ich Sie und Ihr Wirken.

Ai fedeli giunti dalla Spagna e da diversi Paesi dell’America Latina

Saludo cordialmente a todos los peregrinos y visitantes de lengua española, procedentes de los diversos países de América Latina y de España.

En particular, al grupo de sacerdotes que participan en el Curso para Animadores de la Espiritualidad Misionera-Sacerdotal, en el Centro Internacional de Animación Misionera de Roma. A vosotros y a todas las personas consagradas aquí presentes deseo alentar para que el tesoro de gracia que habéis recibido lo sepáis compartir alimentando la fe y el amor en los hermanos.

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Saludo igualmente a los Superiores Provinciales de la Congregación de Terciarios Capuchinos y a los peregrinos procedentes de la Parroquia del Hermano Pedro de San José de Betancourt, de la Ciudad de Guatemala.

A todos imparto con afecto la Bendición Apostólica.

Ai pellegrini di lingua portoghese

Ao saudar cordialmente quantos me ouvem de língua portuguesa, menciono o grupo do Brasil, constituido por peritos em campo agrário, provenientes do Nordeste, na maior parte, e de Brasília, Mato Grosso, Piauí e Rio Branco do Norte. Que vos direi?

Que representais aqui duas faces do Brasil, país de esperança; que a vontade de Deus-Criador em relação à terra é: que o homem dela seja “senhor” e não “desfrutador” ou “destrutor”; e que a terra é e deve permanecer elemento primordial do ambiente para todas as formas de vida, sobretudo da vida do homem, e vida plena: espiritual, moral e social. Que isto anime sempre a vossa actividade, sob o olhar de nosso Deus e Pai, que nos quer a todos a viver como irmãos, em família, na paridade de direitos a participar no bem comum, com a minha Bênção, extensiva aos que vos são queridos.

Ai fedeli polacchi

Pozdrawiam pielgrzymów Polski: ks. biskupa Jana Wosińskiego z Płocka; pielgrzymów z parafii Matki Boskiej Ostrobramskiej w Krakowie-Wieczystej; z parafii św. Jadwigi w Dębicy; z parafii św. Mikołaja w Nowej Rudzie; wszystkich innych pielgrzymów zarówno z kraju, jak i z emigracji, nie objętych tymi grupami, a także uczestników grup turystycznych.

Ai giovani

Col consueto affetto rivolgo ora il mio saluto ai giovani, qui presenti.

L’anno liturgico sta volgendo al termine, e le Letture delle Messe di queste Domeniche, come avrete notato, cari giovani, ci ricordano che la vita presente, sia dei singoli, sia dell’intera umanità, avrà un termine, oltre il quale giungerà nella sua pienezza definitiva il Regno di Dio. La vostra età si sta aprendo alla pienezza della vita presente, ma non deve certo dimenticare la sua destinazione suprema. Perciò il santo timor di Dio e la coscienza della precarietà della vita di quaggiù vi porti a gustare rettamente le gioie di questa vita terrena, nella speranza della vita eterna. Vi accompagno con la mia Benedizione.

Agli ammalati

E a voi, cari ammalati, certamente avvertite ancor più la precarietà e l’insufficienza di questa vita. Il nostro spirito è troppo vasto per accontentarsi dei limiti ristretti della vita presente e mortale. Il momento della sofferenza dà occasione, a tutti noi, di elevare il nostro sguardo alla speranza di beni superiori, che, come il Vangelo ci dice, non sono utopie, ma mete effettivamente raggiungibili, proprio nel momento in cui uniamo i nostri dolori a quelli di Cristo crocifisso. Vi sono vicino nel vostro cammino di fede e di cuore vi benedico tutti, insieme con le vostre famiglie.

Agli sposi novelli

Un caro ed affettuoso saluto anche a voi, giovani sposi, qui presenti. A voi la vita sorride con le sue prospettive di crescita e di fecondità, stimolandovi al lavoro, all’impegno per un mondo più bello, per una società più giusta, per un’umanità più serena. Nobili e legittimi ideali! Purché tutto ciò sia sorretto dalla luce del Vangelo, il quale, mentre ci ordina di animare con la sua sapienza le realtà di questo mondo, ci indica anche come questo lavoro deve preparare l’avvento di quel Regno di Dio, che vive oltre i confini della vita di quaggiù. Sia questa la vostra grande prospettiva, sia questo il vostro cammino, che io benedico di cuore.


Durante l’udienza generale di stamane il Papa rivolge un appello speciale “a quanti ne hanno responsabilità” per la gravissima carestia che sta colpendo in questi giorni alcune regioni dell’Etiopia.


in questi giorni giungono notizie della gravissima carestia che sta abbattendosi nuovamente su alcune regioni dell’Etiopia. Sono in pericolo migliaia di vite umane, a cui vengono a mancare i mezzi di sussistenza. Desidero invitare tutti a partecipare alle iniziative che le organizzazioni di assistenza, specialmente quelle cattoliche, hanno cominciato a realizzare per scongiurare urgentemente la minaccia.

Un appello speciale vorrei rivolgere a quanti ne hanno la responsabilità, perché sia consentito i libero passaggio dei viveri destinati alle persone che stanno soffrendo la fame.

Preghiamo il Signore perché voglia suscitare in tutti i responsabili i sentimenti di solidarietà umana che, superando ogni latra ragione, facciano sorgere la speranza nell’animo dei fratelli che sono nel bisogno.

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