The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 is almost upon us. by Pope John Paul II  

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Ever since my first Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis, I have looked towards this occasion with the sole purpose of preparing everyone to be docile to the working of the Spirit.

The event will be celebrated simultaneously in Rome and in all the particular Churches around the world. It will have, as it were, two centers. On the one hand, the City where Providence chose to place the See of the Successor of Peter, and on the other hand, the Holy Land, where the Son of God was born as man, taking our flesh from a Virgin whose name was Mary (cf. Lk 1:27).

With equal dignity and significance, therefore, the Jubilee will be celebrated not only in Rome but also in the Land which is rightly called "Holy" because it was there that Jesus was born and died. That Land, in which the first Christian community appeared, is the place where God revealed himself to humanity. It is the Promised Land, which has so marked the history of the Jewish People, and is revered by the followers of Islam as well. May the Jubilee serve to advance mutual dialogue until the day when all of us together — Jews, Christians and Moslems — will exchange the greeting of peace in Jerusalem.

The coming of the Third Millennium prompts the Christian community to lift its eyes of faith to embrace new horizons in proclaiming the Kingdom of God. It is imperative therefore at this special time to return more faithfully than ever to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, which shed new light upon the missionary task of the Church in view of the demands of evangelization today. At the Council, the Church became more deeply conscious both of the mystery that she herself is and of the apostolic mission entrusted to her by the Lord. This awareness commits the community of believers to live in the world knowing that they must be "the leaven and, as it were, the soul of human society, destined to be renewed in Christ and transformed into the family of God." In order to meet this commitment effectively, the Church must persevere in unity and grow in the life of communion. The imminent approach of the Jubilee offers a powerful stimulus in this direction.

The approach of the Jubilee is also evoking growing interest among those who are searching for a favorable sign to help them discern the traces of God's presence in our time.

The years of preparation for the Jubilee have been placed under the sign of the Most Holy Trinity: through Christ — in the Holy Spirit — to God the Father. In the mystery of the Trinity, the journey of faith has its origin and its final goal, when at last our eyes will contemplate the face of God forever. In celebrating the Incarnation, we fix our gaze upon the mystery of the Trinity. Jesus of Nazareth, who reveals the Father, has fulfilled the desire hidden in every human heart to know God. What creation preserved as a seal etched in it by the creative hand of God and what the ancient Prophets had announced as a promise is disclosed in the revelation of Christ.

Jesus reveals the face of God the Father "compassionate and merciful" (Jas 5:11), and with the sending of the Holy Spirit he makes known the mystery of love which is the Trinity. It is the Spirit of Christ who is at work in the Church and in history: we must listen to him in order to recognize the signs of the new times and to make the expectation of the glorified Lord's return ever more vibrant in the hearts of the faithful. The Holy Year must therefore be one unceasing hymn of praise to the Trinity, the Most High God. At this point, the poetic words of Saint

Every Jubilee Year is like an invitation to a wedding feast. From the different Churches and Ecclesial Communities throughout the world, let us all hasten to the feast now being prepared. Let us bring with us everything that already unites us and, by fixing our gaze on Christ alone, let us grow in the unity, which is the fruit of the Spirit. The present task of the Bishop of Rome, as the Successor of Peter, is to make the invitation to the Jubilee celebration all the more insistent, in order that the two thousandth anniversary of the central mystery of the Christian faith may be experienced as a journey of reconciliation and a sign of true hope for all who look to Christ and to his Church, the sacrament "of intimate union with God and the unity of the entire human race."

 

Condensed from the Holy Father’s Message for World Migration Day, on 2 February 1999 in Rome. The full text is available at www.vatican.va, the Vatican Web Site.   You can receive the English edition of L’Osservatore Romano,where this article also appears 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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