24 ottobre 2014

Moses Smashing the Tablets of the Law by Rembrandt




(Google translation from French)

The laws say ' of Moses '
The Book of Exodus contains several texts of laws which are all attributed(awarded) to Moses: in reality, Moses personally promulgated only first set(group) laws; then during the life of the people of Israel, new laws adapted to the new social conditions were born and were inserted into the Book of Exodus, following the first ones(nights). Just like our civil or penal Code is regularly modified, completed and nevertheless it is the same book and it continues to bear the same name. But the new laws reflect the new context in which they were voted; they answer new questions, new forms of offences: any law is always of circumstance!
In fact, all the laws given by Moses and by his(her) successors, in different times(periods), in different living conditions, were gathered(collected) following the Decalogue (or Ten Words of the Sinai) there, because they were the logical result, during the centuries and of the historic evolution of Israel.

What's new in Israel?
Israel is neither the first one nor the only people to have promulgated the laws; we found in the Near East the much more older codes of laws: to Ur for example, (Abraham's homeland), we know a code which dates 2050 av(avenues). J.C.; and the famous code of Hammourabi (which is to the Musée du Louvre) goes back up(raises) in approximately 1750, always av(avenue). J.C. These codes have quantities of points communs1: in all the civilizations, the law is made to protect weak ones(weaknesses): only thus in what the Law of Israel, as the others, defends the interests of the widow, the orphan, the immigrant, the borrower. But what is new here it is the foundation of the Law.

In the name of the God liberator
The foundation of the Law of Israel, it is the liberation of Egypt: or, more exactly, it is the double experience(experiment) of the slavery in Egypt and the liberation by God. And because God showed himself as the one who hears(understands) the complaint of the humbled, who frees them and their dignity, very



Bishop Ron Stephens
Pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish in Warrenton, VA
The Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA)

Jesus is noted for preaching what we call the Law of Love. In today’s reading, the Pharisees again try to trick Jesus up, and see how much he really knows about Hebrew Scripture. Jesus summarizes Scripture by saying that it can all be boiled down to two rules – love God and love your neighbor as yourself. The Law and the prophets, the two great Biblical areas used by the Pharisees, he says can be hooked to these two central principals of love which are commanded for us to follow.
God does not do anything that doesn’t stem from God’s own holiness. The law of love stems from God’s love and compassion towards us, and we, too, are to be God-like, aiming to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.
The reading from Exodus today was chosen to show the love and compassion of God despite the fact that it talks about his wrath to those who treat widows and orphans badly, but the concepts that God was giving them regarding how to treat their neighbors were, especially for the time period, very advanced and culturally challenging. They are still challenging for us today to follow.
How in America do we treat legal aliens? Do we offer them comfort and jobs and training or do we try to take advantage of them? I have heard of aliens who were doctors in their own country working at service jobs here in restaurants, for example.
How do we treat people who cannot work, who have no families, who have been left bereft because of deaths? Do our social services, which certainly make some attempt to help people in need, meet that need, or do we just complain about the fact that our money is going to people who ‘could work, if they wanted to”?
Do we provide interest free loans to people who are starting out and have nothing? I doubt the banks would be very willing to even look at that.
And yet, there are people, there are societies, there are group like Habitat for Humanity, for example, that do these things and are truly in the Gospel spirit of loving one’s neighbor.
What is our position on all of this? Do we give generously to help the needy or do we somehow think they can take care of themselves or do we let someone else do it. I know that we cannot support all the good things that come in our mailboxes, but can we choose one or two that may be close to our hearts and be very generous to them. Because my own income has been drastically curtailed since retirement, I have had to choose only three of the charities that I have supported in the past, but hopefully I am still doing enough to follow Christ’s mandate.
Paul speaks today to the Thessalonians about being examples for others. He sees that the Thessalonians have followed the examples of Paul and Jesus, and have themselves become examples for all the other Christian communities. Our parish, though small, does a wide variety of things that hopefully open the eyes of the community to our own caring and loving. I hope that others see us as a very giving parish, despite our size, and that this mandate of love of our neighbor grows and becomes even more visible to the communities around us. We don’t do it for our own glory, but we also don’t want to put this light under a basket since it may inspire others, both in the parish and without, to do more.
The law of love has compassion at its base. Compassion means feeling or suffering with others. Unless we have some sense of the needs of our neighbors, the sufferings of our neighbors, we cannot really be compassionate. We can give because that is what we are told to do, but my hope for us today, is that we can be compassionate as God is compassionate, love as God loves, and show that love by treating everyone as we would want to be treated were we in the same situation.
And that is the good news I wish for you to reflect on this thirtieth Sunday, and is the Good News that Christ proclaimed to us today.

23 ottobre 2014

Resurrection, russian icon

“THE FOOLISHNESS OF GOD IS WISER THAN HUMAN WISDOM” - From the theological works of Saint Thomas Aquinas


From the theological works of Saint Thomas Aquinas.(De rationibus fidei, Ed. Leonina, t. 40, Romae 1969, pp. 56ss.). 

"Christ chose to have parents who were poor but perfect in virtue, lest anyone should glory in his noble lineage and the riches of his parents. He lived a life of poverty to teach others to spurn riches. He lived an ordinary life having no high position to recall others from an inordinate greed for honors. He endured labor, hunger, thirst and bodily scourging, lest those who are intent on bodily pleasures and delights draw back from the good of virtue because of the rigors of such a life. 
In the end Christ endured death, that others might not abandon the truth for fear of death. And lest anyone should fear to undergo a shameful death for the truth, he himself chose the most shameful kind of death, namely, death on a cross. Thus it was fitting for the Son of God to take on human flesh and to suffer death, that by his example he might encourage us to pursue virtue. Peter attested to the truth of this, saying, Christ suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps. 
If Christ had lived in the world in wealth and power and with a high position, it might have been thought that the purpose of his teaching and miracles was to curry human favor and power. Therefore, to make it clear that he was performing a work of divine power, Christ chose all that was low and weak in the world: a lowly mother, a life without riches, and uncultured disciples and messengers. Christ himself was to be rejected and condemned to death by the great ones of the world, to make it perfectly clear that the undertaking of his miracles and his teaching was not of human but of divine power. 
Another point must be considered: in the disposition of providence the Son of God-become-human desired to suffer weakness and wanted his disciples, whom he established as the ministers of human salvation, to be despised in the world. This is the reason he did not choose educated and noble men, but unlettered and common men, namely, poor fishermen. When he sent them to work for the salvation of the world, Christ commanded them to observe poverty, to endure persecution and reproaches and even to undergo death for the sake of the truth, lest their preaching seem to be directed toward some earthly advantage. Thus the salvation of the world would be attributed only to the divine and not to any human wisdom or power. Accordingly, the divine power for accomplishing marvelous deeds was not lacking in these men, who appeared to be of no account in the eyes of the world.
All this was necessary for human redemption that we might learn not to rely proudly on ourselves, but rather on God. For the perfection of human justice requires that we totally subject ourselves to God. It is also from God that we hope to obtain all the good things for which we must strive and which have already been obtained for us." 

Prepared by Pontifical University Urbaniana, 
with the collaboration of the Missionary Institutes



By Cynthia R. Nielsen 04-Feb-2010 3 Comments
Does a study of the NT itself show that that the apostles unequivocally believed that Christ’s return was imminent in their lifetime?  Is it the case that as a result of this belief, the apostles and their early followers lived a radically devout life of prayer, contemplation etc. and likewise de-emphasized “worldly” (for lack of a better word) endeavors?  Although this interpretation has been at times accepted and promoted by the Church, I am not convinced that NT itself sustains such a position.    It seems to me that one could make a strong case for a development of the early Church’s view on eschatology within the Pauline letters themselves.Apostle Paul by Rublev
As current Pauline scholarship emphasizes, St. Paul’s eschatological orientation was rooted in his Jewish, Pharisaic past.  Christians were not the only ones who looked forward to the resurrection of the dead and a final judgment—the Pharisees did as well.  Their position was rooted in the OT, in God’s promise of a glorious future (e.g., 2 Sam 7, Isaiah). St. Paul, already operating within this Jewish eschatological, apocalyptic framework, reinterprets the schema in light of the Christ-event.  That is, with the death and resurrection of Christ—the key Christian eschatological event and new “hermeneutical lens”—the future age is in part brought into the present.  Put slightly differently, in the Christ-event and the experience of the Holy Spirit, God’s followers experience prolepticly the future age.  So the eschaton of Jewish expectation had already arrived, but it is arriving in two stages:  stage one is the Christ-event, the first coming, and the second coming is the second stage.  Hope then becomes the fundamental virtue connected with the Christian eschatological vision.  This hope is not a fleeting, sentimental hope, but a hope grounded in the reality of the Christ-event.  In short, St. Paul has transformed a traditional Jewish eschatological schema Christologically—the eschaton has become partially present now, and the gift of Spirit is God’s assurance of better things to come (2 Cor 5:5).
With this brief background in mind, I can return to my claim of development or a revised eschatological view within the NT, particularly in St. Paul (the undisputed letters) and other “Pauline” texts.  Most NT scholars today consider 1 Thessalonians to be the first of St. Paul’s epistles (c. 50-1 A.D.).  An interesting way to read the letter—not “the” way but a way—is to focus on the triad of theological virtues mentioned twice in the letter.  The triadic order in this letter, in contrast to, 1 Corinthians 13 where we have faith, hope and love, is faith, love and hope.  The last item in the list becomes thematic and is related to the specific epistolary occasion of the letter.  (For example, the Corinthians had all kinds of divisions within their community; they were puffed up with pride etc. and needed to be reminded about the importance of love).  The situation is quite different in 1 Thessalonians.  In this letter, hope is thematized and is closely related to eschatology, as eschatological themes permeate the letter.  As a pastor of a newly formed (mostly) Gentile flock, St. Paul wanted to communicate to this fledgling Christian community the importance of eschatology to the Christian life.
There are many examples from the epistle that I could cite to show that eschatology  is a major theme of the letter.  However, let me mention two very important passages.  First, 1 Thess 1:9-10, which reads:
For the people of those regions? report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming (NRSV).
Here we may infer that St. Paul was likely addressing a largely Gentile Christian audience, as he states that they “turned to God from idols.”  This, of course, would not apply to monotheistic Jews who had “converted,” as they already worshiped the true and living God, YHWH. Then St. Paul mentions the second coming (“to wait for his Son from heaven”) and the “wrath” to come—again, eschatological themes.  Scholars have postulated that verses 9-10 are perhaps a summary of what St. Paul preached when he first visited Thessalonica.  So he is reminding these new Gentile converts of what he taught them previously.  Since they did not have an eschatological framework (as the Jews did), they needed to be reminded of the significance of eschatology for Christian existence.
Second, we have 1 Thess 4:13-5:11, which is the eschatological “heart” of the letter.  Here St. Paul is addressing concerns of the local community.  Because some within their community have died, questions have arisen regarding the status of dead Christians.  Was there something wrong with them?  Are they second-class? Etc. These questions then naturally raise concerns about the parousia.  Perhaps this early group did in fact have an imminent expectation of the parousia.  If so, they were now unsure as to the status and meaning of fellow Christians who had died prior to the parousia. St. Paul has been made aware of their concerns and is responding to their questions in this letter.
The literary framing of the letter is by way of the aforementioned triadic inclusion of faith, love and hope (the first instance occurs at 1:3 and the final instance at 5:8).  Then if you turn to the middle, exhortation part of the letter, you find an incomplete triad at 3:6.  Here St. Paul encourages the Thessalonians regarding their faith and love, but hope is not mentioned.  Why?  The Thessalonians are struggling with this Christian virtue, and St. Paul as a pastor wants to encourage them.  He tells them specifically grieve, but don’t “grieve as others who have no hope.”  The resurrection and the coming parousia[1] are sources of Christian hope, and St. Paul wants them to draw from these sources and to encourage one another with them.
Here I enter into highly “problematic” territory, but philosophers tend to do this, so here I go!  The authorship of 2 Thessalonians, of course, is disputed.  There are, in my opinion, very good arguments on both sides.  Given that I am not a NT scholar etc. etc., my personal view regarding the authorship is open—perhaps it was St. Paul, or perhaps it was written by a later Pauline follower under the pseudonym, “Paul.”  Either way, what interests me is the development of the eschatological views presented in 2 Thessalonians.  Here, particularly in chapter two, “Paul” addresses concerns of false reports that “the Day of the Lord” has already occurred.  “Paul” denies that it has come and says that certain signs must happen prior to the end (2 Thess 2:2-9).  (How does one reconcile this claim with the statement in 1 Thess 5 that the day of the Lord will come like a “thief in the night?”).  Likewise, in 2 Thess “Paul” exhorts rather sternly those in the community who have stopped working (3:6-15).  Why have they stopped working and are now idle?  Presumably, because they believe that the end is near; thus, “furthering” their career is pointless.  There is, however, no clear indication in the text for that inference.  Nonetheless, given the eschatological themes linking 1 and 2 Thess, it is a plausible suggestion.  At any rate, it does appear that some kind of revision has taken place regarding the imminent return of Christ.  The parousia could still happen at any time (now only following certain “signs”), but a space has opened for the possibility that the event may occur in the distant future, a future beyond the life-span of the early Christians.
I’d really like to hear from my NT scholar friends and readers.  Please send your thoughts/comments!


[1] Regarding the parousia, Thessalonians seem to have many questions—questions that focus on orderings of end time events; see, for example, 4:14-15 where St. Paul’s response indicates that he was responding to some very specific questions. -

22 ottobre 2014

John Paul II






St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, Saturday, 7 October 1995 

Dear Cardinal O’Connor and my other Brother Cardinals and Bishops, 
Dear Brothers and Sisters, 
and Distinguished Guests,

1. It is a great joy for me to be here once more in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, which is a kind of spiritual landmark for all New Yorkers; in a sense, for all Catholics in the United States.
From this "house of God", I greet the "household of God in the Spirit" (Cf. Eph. 2: 19): all who have been given "a new birth... unto hope which draws its life from the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1Pt. 1: 3). In the first place I hail my dear friend Cardinal O’Connor, the Shepherd of this huge Archdiocese, whose dauntless leadership you all know. I greet all of you who have prayed the Rosary with me here today on the very Feast of the Holy Rosary, especially the sick and the handicapped. I offer respectful greetings as well to the civil authorities of City, State and Nation.
2. I am pleased that Cardinal O’Connor has invited two very special categories of people to pray together this afternoon: representatives of the Religious Institutes in the Archdiocese, and families from every one of the over four hundred Parishes. These vocations complement each other. The family, the typical lay vocation, witnesses to God’s presence in history, through the mutual love of the spouses and their service to life. Religious, living the radical consecration of the evangelical counsels, bear witness that God is absolute and that his Kingdom of justice, peace and love is our supreme destiny. Both vocations therefore play an essential part in the Church’s mission and in the great enterprise of humanizing the world.
3. Dear Religious, by following Christ along the "narrow and hard way" (Cf. Mt. 7: 14), you experience how true it is that "with him is plenteous redemption": copiosa apud eum redemptio (Ps. 131(130): 7). For some of you, perhaps, this has been a cross made heavy by temptations to doubt the meaning and purpose of your witness, by attacks on the religious life and on the Church herself. But, your fidelity has withstood the challenges from within and without, and remains a singular example to a world so much in need of the "newness of life in Christ" (Cf. Rom. 6: 4) which is made present through the self-giving love that inspires your entire lives (Cf. Perfectae Caritatis, 1).
Every day in my prayer I praise and thank the Father of mercies for the heroic efforts of so man women and men Religious who live by "the law of the Spirit, the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8: 2). We must beseech God that, by his grace and through the intercession of Mary and your holy founders and foundresses, a new Pentecost will take hold in consecrated life so that it will become clear to everyone, especially the young, that religious life is a vital, necessary force in the Church. To each one of you and to all the faithful Religious of the United States, in words taken from the Letter to the Hebrews I say: "Do not, then, surrender your confidence; it will have great reward" (Hebr. 10: 35). Society needs your prophetic and unmistakable testimony of God’s closeness.
4. Dear Families, Dear mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, grandparents: I was supposed to come to New York last year for the celebration of the United Nations’ Year of the Family. In the "Letter to Families" which I wrote on that occasion, I indicated that "the family is placed at the center of the great struggle between good and evil, between life and death, between love and all that is opposed to love" (John Paul II, Letter to Families, 23). The family therefore is at the heart of the Church’s mission and of her concern for humanity.
When a man and a woman bind themselves to each other without reservation in their decision to be faithful "in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad", to the exclusion of every other physical love, they become cooperators with the Creator in bringing new life into the world. You parents can look with love at your children and say: this is "flesh of my flesh" (Gen. 2: 23). Your life is defined by your fatherly and motherly desire and duty to give your children the best: a loving home, an upbringing, a healthy and positive start on the road of life, now and for eternity. Above all, through Baptism you make it possible for your children to become God’s beloved sons and daughters, mystically united with Christ, incorporated into his Church! Consider how important it is for you to foster the life of faith and the life of grace in yourselves and in your children. Beneath the high altar of this Cathedral, together with the former Cardinals and Archbishops of New York, there is buried the Servant of God Pierre Toussaint, a married man, a one-time slave from Haiti. What is so extraordinary about this man? He radiated a most serene and joyful faith, nourished daily by the Eucharist and visits to the Blessed Sacrament. In the face of constant, painful discrimination he understood, as few have understood, the meaning of the words: "Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing" (Lk. 23: 34). No treasure is as uplifting and transforming as the light of faith.
From many points of view, these are difficult times for parents who wish to pass on to their children the treasure of the Catholic faith. Sometimes you yourselves are not sure what the Church stands for. There are false teachers and dissenting voices. Bad examples cause great harm. Furthermore, a self-indulgent culture undermines many of the values which are at the basis of sound family life.
5. There are two immediate things which the Catholic families of America can do to strengthen home-life. The first is prayer: both personal and family prayer. Prayer raises our minds and hearts to God to thank him for his blessings, to ask him for his help. It brings the saving power of Jesus Christ into the decisions and actions of everyday life.
One prayer in particular I recommend to families: the one we have just been praying, the Rosary. And especially the Joyful Mysteries, which help us to meditate on the Holy Family of Nazareth. Uniting her will with the will of God, Mary conceived the Christ Child, and became the model of every mother carrying her unborn child. By visiting her cousin Elizabeth, Mary took to another family the healing presence of Jesus. Mary gave birth to the Infant Jesus in the humblest of circumstances and presented him to Simeon in the Temple, as every baby may be presented to God in Baptism. Mary and Joseph worried over the lost Child before they found him in the Temple, so that parents of all generations would know that the trials and sorrows of family life are the road to closer union with Jesus. To use a phrase made famous by the late Father Patrick Peyton: The family that prays together, stays together!
6. The second suggestion I make to families is to use the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn about the faith and to answer the questions that come up, especially the moral questions which confront everyone today. Dear Parents, you are educators because you are parents. I exhort and encourage the Bishops and the whole Church in the United States to help parents to fulfill their vocation to be the first and most important teachers of the faith to their children. And I wish to say a special word of thanks to all those who make sacrifices, sometimes heroic sacrifices, to ensure that Catholic children receive formation in the faith either through the Catholic School system or through Religious Education Programs in your parishes. I know that the Archdiocese of New York is proud of its Catholic schools and its Religious Education Programs. Immense effort goes into these undertakings, in the face of great odds. May God reward everyone involved!
7. Families in difficulties or couples in irregular situations also have a claim on the Church’s pastoral care. Other stronger and spiritually mature families can play a wonderful role in bringing encouragement and help to such couples and families. Every strengthening of family bonds is a victory for society. I appeal to all of you to promote respect for the mystery of life and love which God has entrusted in a special way to families.
And to Religious, I appeal to you to be, in the heart of the Church in the United States, what the Second Vatican Council called you: "a blazing emblem of the heavenly kingdom" (Perfectae Caritatis, 1).

God bless you all!
God bless the Church in New York!



Also known as

Karol Wojtyla
Juan Pablo II
John Paul the Great

22 October
2 April on some calendars

For many years Karol believed God was calling him to the priesthood, and after surviving two nearly fatal accidents, he responded to the call. He studied secretly during the German occupation of Poland, and was ordained on 1 November 1946. In these years he came to know and practice the teachings of Saint Louis Marie Montfort and Saint John of the Cross. Earned his Doctorate in theology in 1948 at the Angelicum in Rome, Italy.
Parish priest in the Krakow diocese from 1948 to 1951. Studied philosophy at the Jagiellonian University at Krakow. Taught social ethics at the Krakow Seminary from 1952 to 1958. In 1956 he became a professor at the University of Lublin. Venerable Pope Pius XII appointed Wojtyla an auxiliary bishop in Krakow on 4 July 1958. Servant of God, Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Krakow on 30 December 1963.
Wojtyla proved himself a noble and trustworthy pastor in the face of Communist persecution. A member of the prepatory commission, he attended all four sessions of Vatican II; is said to have written Gaudium et spes, the document on the Church in the Modern World. He also played a prominent role in the formulation of the Declaration on Religious Freedom. Following the Council, Pope Paul VI, appointed Karol Wojtyla cardinal on 26 June 1967.
In 1960 he published Love and Responsibility. Pope Paul VI, delighted with its apologetical defense of the traditional Catholic teaching of marriage, relied extensively on Archbishop Wojytla’s counsel in writing Humanae Vitae. In 1976 he was invited by Pope Paul VI to preach the lenten sermons to the members of the Papal Household.
In 1978, Archbishop Wojtyla became the first non-Italian pope since Adrian VI. He took the name of his predecessors (John, Paul, John Paul) to emphasize his desire to continue the reforms of Vatican II.
John Paul II is the most traveled pope in history, having visited nearly every country in the world which would receive him. As the Vicar of Christ he has consecrated each place that he has visited to the Blessed Virgin Mary. On 13 May 1983 he went to Fatima to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He later repeated the consecration of the world to Mary in union with all the Bishops of the Catholic Church, in fulfillment of Our Lady‘s promises at Fatima.
In 1995, Pope John Paul II began a lengthy catechisis on the Blessed Virgin Mary during his weekly Angelus addresses, culminating with his instruction on Our Lady’s active participation in the Sacrifice of Calvary. This active participation of Our Lady at Calvary is called the co-redemption. Already in 1982 and 1985 he had used the term “corredemptrix” in reference to Our Lady in public addresses. This is significant, for he is the first Pope to do so since Pope Benedict XV at whose prayer Our Lady came to Fatima to reveal Her Immaculate Heart. Since the time of Pope Benedict XV, this terminology was under review by the Holy See; the present Pope’s usage is a confirmation of this traditional view of Mary’s role in salvation history.

18 May 1920 as Karol Wojtyla at Wadowice, Poland
Papal Ascension
16 October 1978
2 April 2005 at Rome, Italy of natural causes
19 December 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI (decree of heroic virtues)
1 May 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI at Rome, Italy
the beatification miracle involved the cure from Parkinson’s disease of a man in France
27 April 2014 by Pope Francis
the canonization miracle involved the healing of a Costa Rican woman who suffered from a brain aneurysm
O Blessed Trinity, we thank you for having graced the church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him. Trusting fully in your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you. Grant us, by his intercession, and according to your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen. - official prayer to ask favors through the intercession Pope John Paul II
God is always on the side of the suffering. His omnipotence is manifested precisely in the fact that he freely accepted suffering. He could have chosen not to do so. He could have chosen to demonstrate his omnipotence even at the moment of the Crucifixion. In fact, it was proposed to him:
“Let the Messiah, the King of Israel come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” (Mark 15.32)
But he did not accept that challenge. The fact that he stayed on the Cross until the end, the fact that on the Cross he could say, as do all who suffer,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15.34)
If the agony on the Cross had not happened, the truth tha God is Love would have been unfounded. Yes! God is Love and precisely for this he gave his Son, to reveal himself completely as Love. Christ is the One who “loved…to the end.” (John 13.1) “To the end” means to the last breath. - Pope John Paul II from Crossing The Threshold of Hope
To save means to liberate from evil. This does not refer only to social evils, such as injustice, coercion, exploitation. Nor does it refer only to disease, catasrophes, natural cataclysms, and everything that has been considered disaster in the history of humanity. To save means to liberate from radical, ultimate evil. Death itself is no longer that kind of evil, if followed by the Resurrection. And the Resurrection comes about through the work of Christ. Through the work of the Reddemer death ceases to be an ultimate evil; it becomes subject to the power of life. The world does no have such power. The world, which is capable of perfecting therapeutic techniques in various fields, does not have the power to liberate man from death. And therefore the world cannot be a source of salvation for man. Only God saves, and He saves the whole of humanity in Christ. - Pope John Paul II, from Cross the Threshold of Hope
The essential usefulness of faith consists in the fact that, through faith, man achieves the good of his rational nature. And he achieves it by giving his response to God, as is his duty – a duty not only to God, but to himself. Christ did everything in order to convince us of the importance of this response. Man is called upon to give this response with inner freedom so that it will radiate that veritatis splendor (splendor of truth) so essential to human dignity. Christ wants to awaken faith in human hearts. He wants them to respond to the word of the Father, but he wants this in full respect for human dignity. In the very search for faith an implicit faith is already present, and therefore the necessary condition for salvation is already satisfied. - Pope John Paul II, from Crossing the Threshold of Hope
What emanates from the figure of Saint Joseph is faith…Joseph of Nazareth is a “just man” because he totally “lives by faith.” He is holy because his faith is truly heroic. Sacred Scripture says little of him. It does not record even one word spoken by Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth. And yet, even without words, he shows the depth of his faith, his greatness. Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God. We see how the word of the Living God penetrates deeply into the sould of that man, that just man. And we, do we know how to listen to the word of God? Do we know how to absorb it into the depths of our human personalities? Do we open our conscience in the presend of this word? - Pope John Paul II from Daily Meditations
On my pastoral journeys around the world I always try to meet representatives of the Jewish community. But a truly exceptional experience for me was cartainly my visit to the synagogue of Rome. The history of the Jews in Rome is a unique chapter in the history of the Jewish people, a chapter closely linked for that matter to The Acts of the Apostles. During that memorable visit, I spoke of the Jews as our elder brothers in the faith. These words were an expression both of the Vatican Council’s teaching and a profound conviction of the part of the Church…. The New Convent has its roots in the old. The time when the people of the Old Covenant will be able to see themselves as part of the New is a question to be left to the Holy Spirit. We, as human beings, try only not to put obstacles in the way. Forgive us, Lord, when we fail to foster genuine understanding between Christians and Jews. - Pope John Paul II from Crossing the Threshold of Hope
Many people today are disoriented and lost in search of genuine fellowship. Often their lives are either too superficial or shattered by brokenness. Their work often is dehumanizing. They long for an experience of genuine encounter with others, for true fellowship. Well, is this not precisely the vocation of a parish? Are we not called to be a warm, brotherly family together? Are we not people united together in the household of God through our common life? Your parish is not mainly a structure, a geographical area or a building. The parish is first and foremost a community of the faithful. This is the task of a parish today: to be a community, to rediscover its identity as a community. You are not a Christian all by yourself. To be a Christian means to believe and to live one’s faith together with others. For we are all members of the body of Christ…. For fellowship to grow, the priest’s role is not enough, even though he plays an essential role. The commitment of all parishioners is needed. Each of their contributions is vital. - Pope John Paul II from Draw Near to God