A Note from the Vatican and John Paul II

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We now want to spend the third year of preparation for the now imminent Jubilee as a pilgrimage to the Father’s house. Thus we set out on the journey which, starting from the Father, leads creatures back to the Father, in accordance with the loving plan fully revealed in Christ. The journey to the Jubilee must become a great act of praise to the Father , so that in him the whole Trinity may be glorified. The starting points for our reflection are the words of the Gospel which show us Jesus as the Son and Revealer of the Father. His teaching, his ministry, his very style of life, everything in him refers to the Father (cf. Jn 5: 19, 36; 8: 28; 14: 10; 17: 6). The Father is the center of Jesus’ life, and Jesus in turn is the only way, which gives us access to him. "No one comes to the Father, but by me" (Jn 14: 6). Jesus is the meeting-point of human beings with the Father, who is made visible in him: "He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, "Show us the Father?" Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me?" (Jn 14: 9-10).

The most expressive manifestation of Jesus’ relationship with the Father is his condition after the Resurrection, the summit of his mission and the foundation of new and eternal life for those who believe in him. But the union between the Son and the Father, like that between the Son and believers, comes through the mystery of the "lifting up" of Jesus, according to a characteristic expression of John’s Gospel. With the term "lifting up", the Evangelist indicates both the crucifixion and the glorification of Christ; both are reflected on the believer: "So must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (Jn 3: 14-16). This "eternal life" is no less than the participation of believers in the very life of the risen Jesus and consists in their insertion into the movement of love uniting the Father and the Son, who are one.

The deep communion in which the Father, the Son and believers meet includes the Holy Spirit, for he is the eternal bond that unites the Father and the Son and involves human beings in this ineffable mystery of love. Given to them as the "Consoler", the Spirit "dwells" in the disciples of Christ, making the Trinity present.

According to the Evangelist John, Jesus says to his disciples, precisely when he is promising to send the Paraclete: "In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you" (Jn 14: 20). It is the Holy Spirit who introduces man into the mystery of the Trinitarian life. "The Spirit of truth" (Jn 15: 26; 16: 13), he acts deep within believers, making the Truth that is Christ shrine in their minds. St Paul also stresses our orientation to the Father through the Spirit of Christ who dwells in us. For the Apostle this is a true son-ship, which enables us to call God the Father by the same familiar name that Jesus used: Abba

The power of the Holy Spirit sustains us on our way to the Father. All creation is involved in this new dimension of our relationship with God, and "waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God" (Rom 8: 19). Creation has also "been groaning in travail together until now" (Rom 8: 22), in expectation of the total redemption that will re-establish and perfect the harmony of the cosmos in Christ. In describing this mystery which unites human beings and all creation with the Father, the Apostle expresses the role of Christ and the action of the Spirit. It was through Christ, "the image of the invisible God" (Col 1: 15), that all things were created.

He is "the beginning, the first-born from the dead" (Col 1: 18). In him "all things are united, things in heaven and things on earth" (cf. Eph 1: 10), and it is his task to deliver them to the Father, so that God may be "everything to everyone" (1 Cor 15: 28). This journey of humanity and the world to the Father is sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit, who helps us in our weakness and "intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words" (Rom 8: 26).

Thus the New Testament introduces us very clearly into this movement which flows from the Father and back to the Father. Let us consider it with special attention in this final year of preparation for the Great Jubilee.

Condensed from L’Osservatore Romano on the Vatican Web Site, vatican.va. 1998--30 December1998, English Edition of L’Osservatore Romano,. You can receive the English edition by e-mailing a request for a subscription to Dmedinger@aol.com or by calling (410)547-5380. The subscription rate is $151.00 U.S.

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