S. John Paul II Homil. 271


(SEPTEMBER 9-20, 1984)


Martyrs' Shrine (Huronia)

Saturday, 15 September 1984

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

1. Chay! With this traditional Huron word of welcome I greet you all. And I greet you, too, in the name of Jesus Christ who loves you and who has called you out "of every race, language, people and nation" (Ap 5,9)to be one in his Body the Church. Truly, Canadians are a people of many races and languages, and thus it gives me great joy to pray with you at this holy place, the Martyrs’ Shrine, which stands as a symbol of the unity of faith in a diversity of cultures. I greet those of you who have come from the far North and the rural areas of Ontario, those from the cities to the South, those from outside Ontario and from the United States as well. And in a special way I greet the native peoples of Canada, the descendants of the first inhabitants of this land, the North American Indians.

2. We are gathered at this site in Midland which is of great importance in the history of Canada and in the history of the Church. Here was once located the Shrine of St. Marie which one of my predecessors, Pope Urban VIII, designated in 1644 as a place of pilgrimage, the first of its kind in North America. Here the first Christians of Huronia found a "house of prayer and a home of peace". And here today stands the Martyrs’ Shrine, a symbol of hope and faith, a symbol of the triumph of the Cross. The reading from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans, which we have just heard, helps us to understand the meaning of this holy place, and what it was that gave the martyrs the courage to lay down their lives in this land. It helps us to understand the power that attracted the native peoples to the faith. And this power was "the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rm 8,39).

3. Saint Paul also tells us how firmly he believed in the love of Christ and in its power to overcome all obstacles: "Nothing can come between us and the love of Christ" (Ibid. 8, 35). These are words which proceed from the very depths of his being and out of his personal experience as an Apostle. For this great missionary faced many trials and difficulties in his zealous efforts to proclaim the Gospel. To the Corinthians, he writes: "I have been in danger from rivers and in danger from brigands, in danger from my own people and in danger from pagans; in danger in the towns, in danger in the open country, danger at sea and danger from so-called brothers. I have worked and laboured, often without sleep; I have been hungry and thirsty and often starving; I have been in the cold without clothes, and, to leave out much more, there is my daily preoccupations: my anxiety for all the churches" (2Co 11,26-28).

And yet, Paul glories in these hardships and says of the, "These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us" (Rm 8,37). All these hardships he gladly bears because he is convinced of the love of Christ, and that nothing can ever separate him from that love.

272 4. A similar confidence in God’s love guided the lives of the Martyrs who are honoured at this Shrine. They, like Paul, had come to consider the love of Christ as the greatest of all treasures. And they, too, believed that the love of Christ was so strong that nothing could separate them from it, not even persecution and death. The North American Martyrs, then, gave up their lives for the sake of the Gospel - in order to bring the faith to the native people whom they served. In fact, we are told that their faith was so strong that they yearned and prayed for the grace of martyrdom. Let us recall for a moment these heroic saints who are honoured in this place and who have left us a precious heritage.

Six of them were Jesuit priests from France: Jean de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues, Gabriel Lalemant, Antoine Daniel, Charles Garnier and Noël Chabanel. Fired with love for Christ and inspired by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis Xavier and other great saints of the Society of Jesus, these priests came to the New World to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the native peoples of this land. And they persevered to the end despite difficulties of every sort.

Two lay brothers were part of the missionary group: René Goupil and Jean de la Lande. With no less courage and fervour, they assisted the priests in their labours, showed great compassion and care for the Indians, and, laying down their lives, won for themselves the martyr’s crown.

And as these missionaries laid down their lives, they looked forward to a day when the native people would enjoy full maturity and exercise leadership in their Church. St. John de Brébeuf dreamed of a Church fully Catholic and fully Huron as well.

A young woman of Alonquin and Mohawk ancestry also deserves special recognition today: Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. Who has not heard of her outstanding witness of purity and holiness of life? It was my personal joy, only four years ago, to beatify this woman of great courage and faith, who is known by many as the "Lily of the Mohawks". To those who came to Rome for her beatification I said: "Blessed Kateri stands before us as a symbol of the best of the heritage that is yours as North American Indians" (June 24, 1980).

5. As we are gathered in prayer today at the Martyr’s Shrine, we remember the many efforts of the Church, beginning three and a half centuries ago, to bring the Gospel of Christ into the lives of the native peoples of North America. The Martyrs honoured here are only a small representation of the many men and women who took part in this great missionary effort. We wish to pay tribute as well to all those who joyfully embraced the Christian faith, like Blessed Kateri, and who remained faithful despite many trials and difficulties. Of great importance to the Church of Huronia is Joseph Chiwatenwa, who together with his wife Aonnetta, his brother Joseph and other family members lived and witnessed to their faith in an heroic manner. Their fidelity is yet another testimony to the truth attested to by the Apostle Paul: "Nothing can ever separate us from the love of Christ". A statue now commemorates the life and mission of Joseph Chiwatenwa. Particularly striking is the testimony of Saint Charles Garnier on the inscription: "It was in this Christian that we had our hope after God". These men and women not only professed the faith and embraced Christ’s love, but they in turn became evangelizers and provide even today eloquent models for lay ministry.

We also recall how the worthy traditions of the Indian tribes were strengthened and enriched by the Gospel message. These new Christians knew by instinct that the Gospel, far from destroying their authentic values and customs, had the power to purify and uplift the cultural heritage which they had received. During her long history, the Church herself has been constantly enriched by the new traditions which are added to her life and legacy.

And today we are grateful for the part that the native peoples play, not only in the multicultural fabric of Canadian society, but in the life of the Catholic Church. Christ himself is incarnate in his Body, the Church. And through her action, the Church desires to assist all people "to bring forth from their own living tradition original expressions of Christian life, celebration and thought" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II, Catchesi Tradendae, 53).

Thus the one faith is expressed in different ways. There can be no question of adulterating the word of God or of emptying the Cross of its power, but rather of Christ animating the very centre of all culture. Thus, not only is Christianity relevant to the Indian people, but Christ, in the members of his Body, is himself Indian.

And the revival of Indian culture will be a revival of those true values which they have inherited and which are purified and ennobled by the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Through his Gospel Christ confirms the native peoples in their belief in God, their awareness of his presence, their ability to discover him in creation, their dependence on him, their desire to worship him, their sense of gratitude for the land, their responsible stewardship of the earth, their reverence for all his great works, their respect for their elders. The world needs to see these values - and so many more that they possess - pursued in the life of the community and made incarnate in a whole people.

Finally, it is in the Eucharistic sacrifice that Christ, joined with his members, offers up to his Father all that makes up their lives and cultures. In his Sacrifice he consolidates all his people in the unity of his Church and calls us all to reconciliation and peace.

273 Comme le bon Samaritain, nous sommes appelés a panser les plaies de notre prochain en détresse. Avec saint Paul, nous devons affirmer: “C’est Dieu qui nous a réconciliés avec lui par le Christ et il nous a donne pour ministère de travailler a cette réconciliation” (2Co 5,18). Le moment est venu en vérité pour les Canadiens d’apaiser toutes les divisions qui sont survenues au cours des siècles entre les peuples présents a l’origine et ceux qui sont venus ensuite sur ce continent. Cet appel s’adresse a tous les individus et tous les groupes, a toutes les Eglises et les communautés ecclésiales dans l’ensemble du Canada. Une fois encore, disons avec les mots mêmes de saint Paul: “C’est maintenant le moment favorable, c’est maintenant le jour du salut”(2Co 6,2).

6. Chers Frères et Soeurs dans le Christ, ce Sanctuaire des Martyrs de Huronia porte témoignage du riche héritage qui a été transmis a toute l’Eglise. Il est aussi un lieu de pèlerinage et de prière, un mémorial des bienfaits que Dieu a accordes dans le passe, une inspiration quand nous nous tournons vers l’avenir. Alors louons Dieu pour sa sollicitude providentielle et pour tout ce dont nous avons hérité du passe!

As we go forward, let us commend ourselves to the intercession of the North American Martyrs, to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Saint Joseph, Patron of Canada, and all the Saints, together with Mary the Queen of Saints. And in union with the whole Church - in the richness of her diversity and in the power of her unity - let us all proclaim by the witness of our own lives that "neither death nor life... nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rm 8,38-39).


(SEPTEMBER 9-20, 1984)


Downsview Airport (Toronto)

Saturday, 15 September 1984

"Wisdom speaks her own praises, in the midst of her people she glories in herself./I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, /and I covered the earth like mist" (Si 24,1 Si 24,3)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

1. Today's feast finds us united in this City of Toronto, together with Cardinal Carter, Bishop Borecky and the other Bishops, to proclaim God’s eternal Wisdom. The liturgical readings of the Mass lead us in our praise of this eternal Wisdom.

The commemoration of Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows is linked with yesterday’s feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross. The mystery of the Cross on Golgotha and the mystery of the Cross in the heart of the Mother of the Crucified One cannot be read in any other way: only in the perspective of eternal Wisdom is this mystery clarified for our faith. Indeed it becomes the beam of a special light in human history, in the midst of people’s destiny on earth. This light is, first of all, in the Heart of Christ lifted up on the Cross. This light, reflected by the power of a special love, shines forth in the Hearth of the Sorrowful Mother at the foot of the Cross.

For wisdom also means Love. In Love is the ripest fruit of Wisdom and, at the same time, its fullest source.

In Christ crucified, man has become a sharer of eternal Wisdom, approaching it through the Heart of the Mother who stood beneath the Cross: "Near the Cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sisters, Mary the wife of Cleopas, and Mary of Magdala" (Jn 19,25).

274 2. Today - perhaps more than in yesterday’s feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross - the liturgy emphasizes the "human" aspect. This is nothing unusual. For in it there is reflected the human Heart of Mary, and beside the Mother is the human Heart of the Son who is God and Man.

In the Letter to the Hebrews we read the following words about Christ: "During his life on earth he offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death" (
He 5,7). Does this not perhaps evoke for us the prayer in Gethsemane when Jesus prayed that the chalice be removed from him, if possible! (Mt 26,39)

Dear brothers and sisters: the Christ whom we encounter in our liturgy, alongside his own Mother of Sorrows, the Christ who offers his "prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears", does so as head of humanity - a humanity immersed to a great extent in the promises and problems of technology and tempted to embrace a technological mentality. Christ continues to send forth to his Father his cry for the salvation of the world, for the building of a new earth, one that is more human because it is embraced by the love of a Mother - his Mother and ours.

In this same Letter to the Hebrews we read: "Although he was Son, he learned to obey through suffering" (He 5,8). Elsewhere Saint Paul will say: he became "obedient unto death" (Ph 2,8) but here we read: "he learned to obey".

And together with him, with the Son, his Mother learned obedience - she, who had previously said "Fiat": "I am the handmaid of the Lord . . . let what you have said be done to me" (Lc 1,38).

3. This cry of the Son’s Heart and of his Mother’s Heart - a cry which from the human standpoint would reject the Cross - is expressed even further in the Psalm of today’s liturgy. This Psalm is a cry for salvation, for help, for delivrance from the snare of evil: "In you, O Lord, I take refuge. / Let me never be put to shame. / In your justice, set me free, / . . . speedily rescue me. Be a rock of refuge for me, a mighty stronghold to save me, for you are my rock, my stronghold. / Release me from the snares they have hidden . . . / Deliver me from the hands of those who hate me" (Ps 31,1-3 Ps 31,5 Ps 31,16).

Since these words of the Psalm reflect the whole "human" truth of the Hearts of the Son and of the Mother, they also express an act of absolute entrusting to God - dedication to God. This dedication is even stronger than the cry for deliverance.

"Into your hands I commend my spirit. / It is you who will redeem me, Lord. / But as for my trust in you, Lord, / I say: ‘You are my God’" (Ibid. 5. 14).

This awareness - "You are my God. Into your hands I commend my spirit" - prevails absolutely in the Heart of the Son "lifted up" on the Cross, and in the Mother’s Heart humanly emptied by the Son’s crucifixion.

4. We read in the Letter to the Hebrews: "He submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard . . . but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation" (He 5,7 He 5,9).

In this consists the mystery of the "Triumph of the Cross", on which, together with the whole Church, we meditated yesterday.

275 Eternal Wisdom has embraced all that the Cross of Christ contains.

"I came forth from the mouth of the Most High and I covered the earth like mist" (
Si 24,3).

So it is: the whole earth has been covered by the mystery of eternal Wisdom, whose real name is Love. "God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son" (Jn 3,16).

And behold - at the very centre of this "giving himself" through love, from the height of the Cross on which the Son is completely united to the Father, and the Father to the Son - the words resound which confirm his Mother’s presence and her special sharing in the mystery of eternal Wisdom. Jesus says: "Woman, behold your son!" Beside Mary at the foot of the Cross stood John, the disciple whom Jesus loved (Ibid. Jn 19,26). And he says to John: "This is your mother!".

These words were written by John himself, as an Evangelist. And he added: "And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home" (Ibid. Jn 19,27)

5. Eternal Wisdom came into the world and was spoken in the Son who became Man and was born of the Virgin Mary.

Eternal Wisdom embraced then from the very beginning also Mary when it assigned the Son’s dwelling place on the earth: "Pitch your tent in Jacob, make Israel your inheritance" (Si 24,13). For she is the daughter of Israel; she is from the line of Jacob. She is the Mother of the Messiah!

How marvellously are the words of the Book of Sirach fulfilled in her - an unknown and hibben Virgin of Nazareth: "From eternity, in the beginning, he created me, and for eternity I shall remain" (Si 24,19).

You, beloved Daugther of God our Father - you were truly foreseen from eternity in Divine Wisdom, since from eternity by this Wisdom the Son was given to us.

You, beloved Mother of God’s Son! You, Virgin Spouse of the Holy Spirit!

You, who dwell in the tabernacle of the Most Holy Trinity!

276 Truly, you will never cease to be in the very heart of the Divine Plan.

And that which Wisdom proclaims further on in Sirach is also true: "I ministered before him in the holy tabernacle, and thus was I established on Zion . . . and in Jerusalem I wield my authority" (Ibid. 24, 10-11).

6. Eternal Wisdom caused all this. And in time eternal Wisdom concealed it - to the point of the emptying that took place on the Cross of Christ. But right there - at the Cross of Christ eternal Wisdom revealed both your service and your power! And it did so with the words: "This is your mother!"

The only one who hears these words is John, and yet in him all people hear them - everyone and each one.

Mother, this is your service, your holy service!

Mother, this is your power!

By means of this holy service, the most holy service, through this motherly power you "took root in an honoured people, in the portion of the Lord, who is their inheritance" (Ibid. 24, 13).

All of us desire to have you as a Mother, for as such you were left to us by Christ lifted up on the Cross. And this act of his was the fruit of eternal Wisdom. All of us desire your motherly service which conquers hearts, and we long for this power which is the motherly service born from the whole mystery of Christ.

The title Sorrowful Mother means precisely this. Alma Socia Christi means precisely this, for you have been associated with Christ in his whole mystery, which eternal Wisdom reveals and in which we desire to share ever more deeply: "They who eat me will hunger for more. They who drink me will thirst for more" (
Si 24,21).

7. Dear brothers and sisters: through the liturgy today, Christ’s prayer and entreaty and the love of his Mother are offered for all those who experience the pains and challenges of this world of technology: - For all of you who in your ethnic diversity compose the fabric of this great city, striving to remain faithful to your origins, while working together to express your new moral unity in Canada.

- For all of you who live in Toronto, this heartland of Canada’s industrial and technological development.

277 - For all who in one way or another make up the technological society: for workers in industry; all those engaged in activities of finance, commerce, education, publishing, infomatics, medical research, the arts; for the leaders in communities; for the direct and indirect employers of millions of people.

- For the unemployed and all of you who are caught in the coils of an economic crisis and suffer its social effects. - For the poor, those who experience alienation and all those who hunger and thirst for solidarity.

8. Christ’s prayer is for all of you live in hope, beside a cross that rises to the sky and illumines daily existence with the light of eternal Wisdom. And side by side with you, beneath this cross, there is that loving Mother who has experienced sorrow and understands pain, and who, in her maternity and femininity, offers to all humanity the reassurance of loving care and personal concern for each individual, each human person.

9. Et aujourd’hui je vous demande à tous de considérer la technologie dans le contexte du message de la Croix et de faire ce qui dépend de vous pour que le pouvoir de la technologie serve la cause de la paix. La technologie a tant apporté au bien-être de l’humanité, elle a tant contribué à élever la condition de l’homme, à servir l’humanité et à faciliter et parfaire son oeuvre! Et pourtant, parfois, la technologie ne peut déterminer en toute clarté qui elle sert: si elle est pour l’humanité ou contre elle. La même technologie qui a le pouvoir d’aider les pauvres va parfois jusqu’à appauvrir, à limiter les possibilités d’emploi, à réduire le champ de la créativité de l’homme. Dans ces cas et en bien d’autres, la technologie cesse d’être l’alliée de la personne humaine.

C’est pourquoi mon appel s’adresse à tous ceux qui sont concernés: à vous, responsables syndicaux; à vous, responsables d’entreprises; à vous, scientifiques; à vous, responsables politiques; à tous ceux qui peuvent contribuer à faire en sorte que la technologie, qui a tant apporté à la construction de Toronto et de tout le Canada, serve véritablement tout homme, toute femme et tout enfant dans l’ensemble de ce pays.

Et alors que la technologie connaît les plus grands des succès, puisse-t-elle nous amener à proclamer l’insurpassable grandeur de la Sagesse divine qui rend la technologie possible, mais qui en révèle les limites par la Croix du Christ. Et par la Croix du Christ, la Sagesse divine montre ce monde nouveau que toute technologie doit servir: celui qui est aimé de l’amour d’une Mère. Aujourd’hui nous adressons notre prière à cette Mère:

Be a guide to Christ for us, O Mary.

Be for us a Morning Star that shines in the heavens of eternal Wisdom, above the horizons of our human world. Amen.

In questa occasione desidero salutare tutti quelli tra voi che sono venuti dall’Italia. Desidero anche ringraziarvi per la calorosa accoglienza di ieri e di oggi. La vita di ogni emigrante ha le sue difficoltà ma ha anche l’opportunità del tutto peculiare che è quella di poter attingere alle fonti di due culture e guadagnare così quella saggezza che non viene necessariamente dai libri ma dal vivere e lavorare in due ambienti diversi. Carissimi italiani, voi avete portato tanto dalla vostra patria venendo dalle diverse regioni dell’Italia. Voi avete anche tanto ricevuto dal Canada e al Canada potete dare tutto quello che avete ricevuto dalla vostra amata Italia. Dio è lo stesso in tutte e due le nazioni, la sua Chiesa è la stessa, e il Papa viene da Roma! Rimanete fedeli a Dio e insegnate ai vostri figli a essere fedeli non soltanto con le parole ma soprattutto con la vostra vita e il vostro esempio. Possa Dio e Maria, nostra Madre celeste, benedire voi e le vostre famiglie come anche i vostri cari in Italia.

Apresento as minhas saudações a todos vós, emigrantes portugueses. Agradeço as vossas calorosas saudações, ontem e hoje. Conseguistes estabelecer-vos neste país, com o vosso árduo e disciplinado trabalho.

A vida do imigrante nem sempre é fácil, mas o vosso esforço foi abençoado por Deus. Os paises são diferentes uns dos outros, mas Deus é o mesmo em toda a parte. Uma das características da Igreja é ser católica. Eu exorto-vos a que permaneçais fiéis a Deus, na sua Igreja edificada sobre Pedro, e que ensineis aos vossos filhos a mesma fidelidade. Eu peço a Deus e a Nossa Senhora de Fátima, por vós e por todas as vossas famílias. Em nome do mesmo Deus, a vós abençoo.

278 Deseo saludar a aquellos de ustedes en la lengua madre que es el español. Ustedes han venido de muchos países y a veces la adaptación al nuevo pueblo puede ser difícil, pero tantas dificultades demandan tantas habilidades que podrían haber quedado latentes si ustedes hubieran permanecido en casa. Los países pueden ser diferentes, pero Dios es el mismo; El les llama a ustedes a ser fieles a El y a su Iglesia. Estén seguros de que sus hijos reciban la educación católica y enséñenles a ser seguidores de Jesús con su propio ejemplo.

Quiera Dios bendecirles a ustedes y a sus familiares; también a sus seres queridos en España y en otros países de lengua española.

Ich grüße alle jene, deren Muttersprache so war oder noch ist. Die meisten von euch sind schon viele Jahre hier in Kanada und haben die Schwierigkeiten des Einwanderns schon fast vergessen. Eure Aufgabe ist jetzt, die Treue zu all dem zu bewahren, was euch gegeben wurde. Ihr habt viel empfangen, und so habt ihr auch viel zu geben. Ihr könnt Kanada viel geben und könnt euren Kindern viel geben. Gott und seine Kirche haben euch in der Vergangenheit begleitet. Wo immer ihr gewesen seid, ich ermahne euch, Gott treu zu bleiben und diese Treue an den Glauben an eure Kinder weiterzugeben. Möge Gott euch und eure Familien segnen.

Finally, I wish to salute all the other ethnic communities residing in this part of Canada which have established their Catholic parishes and missions besides the ones I have already addressed. I wish to greet the following communities: the native people of Canada, the Lebanese, Armenians, the Caribbeans, the Chinese, the Czechs, Hungarians, Koreans, Indonesians, Lithuanians, Laotians, people from Goa, Kerala and other parts of India, the Maltese, Filipinos, Slovaks, Slovenians, Vietnamese, the many Ukrainians, and Poles. I met them yesterday.

To each and every one of you I wish to express my sincere thanks for the warm and affectionate greetings extended to me yesterday and today. Your being with the Successor of Peter is a visible and audible sign of the Church’s true unity and the universality of her mission. Your visible presence is also a sign of your firm desire to remain faithful to your roots and traditions of your native lands, your homelands. It is a sign as well of your desire to grow from Canada’s richness, sense of fairness and from its traditions and institutions and building and safeguarding freedom and human dignity. I exhort you to remain faithful to God and to his Church. Do all in your power to communicate this fidelity to your children. And I pray to Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother, that she guide you continually to her Son.


(SEPTEMBER 9-20, 1984)


"Bird's Hill" Parc (Winnipeg)

Sunday, 16 September 1984

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your might" (Dt 6,5).

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

1. This commandment, the greatest one, was proclaimed in the Old Testament to Israel alone. It was the first and the greatest commandment of the Old Covenant that God made with the Chosen People. He gave it through Moses after the liberation from slavery in Egypt. The Covenant, which was linked to the commandments, placed on all Israelites the obligations inherent in belonging to the People of God.

279 The first reading of today’s liturgy speaks to us in a very detailed way of how the Israelites were to know and put into practice "the commandments, the statutes and the ordinances" (Dt 6,1)which God had taught through Moses. The Israelites were to pass them on and teach them to their children and to all the generations to come, both during the journey towards the Promised Land and when they would be living there.

"You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontles between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (Ibid. 6, 8-9).

The Covenant with God became a fundamental source of the spiritual identity of Israel as a nation among the other peoples and nations of the earth.

2. The second reading, from Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians, introduces us into the dimension of the New Covenant is new and everlasting. It was brought about in the flesh and blood of Christ, by his death on the Cross and by the Resurrection, and it is universal. It is open to all the peoples and nations of the earth. For the Apostles have been sent to everyone to proclaim the Gospel: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Mt 28,19).

Saint Paul can therefore write to the Thessalonians saying: "It was God who decided that we were fit to be entrusted with the Good News, and when we are speaking, we are not trying to please men but God, who can read our inmost thoughts . . . We felt so devoted and protective toward you, and had come to love you so much, that we were eager to hand over to you not only the Good News but our whole lives as well" (1Th 2,4 1Th 2,8).

The Gospel has become - and always continues to become - the source of spiritual culture for men and women of different nations, tongues and races. It has also become the basis of the individuality and cultural identity of many peoples and nations throughout the world.

This statement takes on singular eloquence in Canada, where, through immigration, a varied inheritance of peoples, nations and cultures becomes the common good of the whole of society.

3. God’s commandment to Israel expresses the good of society. Its fulfilment is the condition on which all cultural identity is consolidated, and without which there can be no lasting and effective multicultural community. God’s word expressed through Moses brings with it a promise and constitutes a charter of hope for all society: "If you keep all his laws and commandments which I lay on you, you will have a long life . . . Listen then, Israel, and keep and observe what will make you prosper and give you great increase" (Dt 6,2-3).

It is in the perspective of faith that we perceive how much the Word of God - brought to fulfilment in the Gospel - contributes to the building and preservation of cultures. And we see how necessary it is to fulfil the Gospel message in order to succeed in harmonizing cultures in a pluralistic unity. To detach culture from its link to the Gospel commandment of love would be to make impossible the multicultural interplay which is characteristic of Canada. The Church speaks to us repeatedly of the need to evangelize in depth man’s culture and cultures, "always taking the person as one’s starting-point and always coming back to the relationships of people among themselves and with God" (Pauli VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi EN 20). At the same time we are alerted that "the split between the Gospel and culture is without a doubt the drama of our time" (Ibid.).

The historical experience of the two founding peoples of Canada who bound themselves to live in mutual respect for the unique cultural identity of each other has providentially created that atmosphere of respect for cultural diversity which characterizes Canada today. In her own multicultural interaction, Canada not only offers to the world a creative vision of society but she also has a splendid opportunity to show consistency between what she believes and what she does. And this is accomplished by applying Christ’s commandment of love.

4. Manitoba itself truly reflects a variety of many different cultures. Besides its population of British origin and French origin - in addition to native peoples - so many other Western countries are represented here. Immigration from Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and South America contributes to making up the reality of this civil society. Latin and Ukrainian ecclesial jurisdictions compose one Catholic Church. Today I greet in a special way the Church of Winnipeg with its pastor, Archbishop Exner; the Archdiocese of Winnipeg of the Ukrainians led by Archbishop Hermaniuk; and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Saint Boniface under the pastoral leadership of Archbishop Hacault. My greetings to the diocesan delegations of the faithful from Saskatchewan, also Bishop Charles Halpin of Regina, and the bishops from surrounding dioceses of Prince Albert, Saskatoon, and Gravelbourg. I acknowledge with gratitude the presence of the high civil officials including former Governor-General of Canada, the Honourable Albert Schwier, Lt Governor and Premier of Manitoba, and the Governor of Saskatchewan. Yes, you come from almost "every tribe and tongue, people and nation" (Ap 5,9). And this is expressed in our liturgical assembly today, not only through different languages but also through the different liturgical traditions of Christianity, both in the West and the East. In this Eucharist the Church in Canada celebrates her diversity and proclaims he unity in Christ and in the universal Church.

280 5. Against the broad background of history and culture, the first and most important commandment which Moses transmitted to the one Chosen People of the Old Covenant takes on a fresh eloquence in our times.

Jesus Christ says: "This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you" (
Jn 15,12).

The commandment of love is rooted, in a new way, in love of God: "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love" (Ibid. 15, 9-10).

Therefore, love of God above all things is a sharing in Christ’s love - the love whereby Christ loves.

And at the same time: love of God is organically linked with love for others - with mutual love. This love makes us Christ’s friends. "I shall not call you servants any-more . . . I call you friends" (Ibid. 15, 15).

This love is a moral and existential expression of the election and calling by Christ "to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name" (Ibid. 15, 16).

6. Le pluralisme des traditions, le pluralisme des cultures, le pluralisme des histoires, le pluralisme des identités nationales - tout cela est compatible avec l’unité de la société.

Aujourd’hui nous prions pour l’unité morale de cette société, le dénominateur commun de toutes les “nécessités du monde”.

Depuis les époques les plus anciennes, le christianisme a éduqué les fidèles - témoins du Christ - à avoir le sens des responsabilités envers le bien commun de la société. Ceci reste tout aussi vrai quand la société présente nettement un caractère pluraliste. L’importance de l’enseignement de l’Eglise à cet égard a été exprimée par le Second Concile du Vatican en des termes perspicaces: “Que l’on ne crée donc pas d’opposition artificielle entre les activités professionnelles et sociales d’une part, la vie religieuse d’autre part. En manquant à ses obligations terrestres, le chrétien manque à ses obligations envers le prochain, bien plus envers Dieu lui-même, et il met en danger son salut éternel” (Gaudium et Spes GS 43).

A la source de cet enseignement se trouve le commandement de l’amour mutuel dont parle l’Evangile d’aujourd’hui. L’amour mutuel, cela veut dire, dans sa dimension essentielle, que les relations entre les personnes humaines sont fondées sur le respect de la dignité personnelle de l’autre et sur une attention effective à son bien.

L’amour mutuel a une importance particulière pour la formation de la communauté du mariage et de la famille. Et cet amour mutuel s’étend à de nombreux cercles et à différents niveaux de la coexistence humaine: au sein de divers milieux, communautés, sociétés, et même entre les sociétés.

281 En ce sens, cet amour est “social”, et constitue la condition essentielle pour la formation de la civilisation de l’amour proclamée par l’Eglise, et spécialement par Paul VI.

7. Dans ce grand pays du Canada, l’amour mutuel entre toutes les communautés différentes qui constituent cette société pluraliste marquée par la multiplicité des cultures devient une force immense de bien. L’amour mutuel qui élève et unit les éléments individuels leur permet à tous, quand ils sont ensemble, d’être des instruments particulièrement efficaces au service de l’humanité. L’amour donne la possibilité à des personnes aux talents très variés de s’unir pour accomplir une action cohérente. Par cette action cohérente, une société aux cultures multiples devient capable de mettre à la disposition des autres tous les dons dont elle a été largement comblée. Rappelle-toi, ô Canada, que la plus grande richesse reçue de la diversité de tes cultures te permet de donner aux autres et de les aider, d’aider tes frères et soeurs dans le besoin. C’est ce que la foi rend possible; c’est ce qu’exige l’amour. Au nom de l’amour, je demande instamment que la disponibilité manifestée à tant d’immigrants et de réfugiés des minorités ethniques et l’accueil généreux qui leur a été réservé continuent à caractériser le Canada et à être sa richesse, à l’avenir comme dans le passé.

In this regard it is worthwhile to recall those prophetic words of John XXIII: "The best interests of justice are served by those public authorities who do all they can to improve the human conditions of the members of ethnic minorities, especially in what concerns their language, culture, customs, and their economic activity and enterprises" (Ioannis XXIII, Pacem in Terris , AAS 55 (1963) 283). This contribution of public authority must be coupled by the active efforts of all individuals and groups to continue to build a socially just Canadian society - a lasting civilization of love in which are ensured "the priority of ethics over technology, the primacy of the person over things, and the superiority of spirit over matter" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II, Redemptor Hominis
RH 16)- and all this for the glory of God, who is the Father of us all.

Let us pray for this intention, especially in this Eucharistic assembly, and through this prayer let us unite ourselves with Christ. Truly, we wish to accept his invitation: "Remain in my love". Amen.

S. John Paul II Homil. 271