S. John Paul II Homil. 195
Here in Quezon circle we have listened to the words of the Lord our God as recorded by the Prophet Isaiah : "Peace, peace to the far and to the near, says the Lord ; and I will heal them". And looking out today over this vast assembly, I proclaim to all of you, far and near, the peace of the Lord, the peace of Christ ! With the Apostle Peter I say : "Peace to all of you who are in Christ".
1. Dearly beloved brothers and sisters here in the Philippines : we are celebrating today the peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—the peace that was announced by the angels at his birth ; the peace that he communicated to all who came into contact with him during his earthly life ; the peace that he gave to his Apostles when he stood among them after his Resurrection, saying : " Peace be with you".
We are celebrating the peace that Christ won for us by his Paschal Mystery—by his Passion, death and Resurrection from the dead. We are able to enjoy peace because God sent his own Son into the world to be our Redeemer.
2. And the peace that we are celebrating is our redemption from sin, our deliverance from God's anger and from eternal punishment. Without Christ we would have remained, in the words of Saint Paul, "children of wrath". But in truth we have been liberated by Christ ; everything is new in our relationship with God. Christ has reconciled us to himself, "making peace by the blood of his cross". We have been called out of the darkness of sin into the Kingdom of God's marvellous light, where we have received mercy and grace and peace from Jesus Christ.
3. Through God's love we have not only received the gift of human life but we have also become adopted children of God. Through Christ's great peacemaking act—his Sacrifice on the Cross—we have become his brothers and sisters, and, with him, heirs of eternal life. Because of this new relationship of ours with God in Christ, peace is n?w possible: peace in our hearts and in our homes, peace in our communities and in our nations, peace throughout the w?rld.
Yes, Jesus Christ is the supreme Peacemaker of human history, the Reconciler of human hearts, the Liberator of humanity, the Redeemer of man. " He is our peace".
4. It is God the Father's plan that the peace which his beloved Son Jesus Christ won for us on Calvary should be communicated to every human being, individually and as a member of society. This communication of Christ's peace takes place in the Church through the action of the Holy Spirit working through God's word and the sacraments.
By faith and Baptism we take on a relationship with God that makes peace truly possible. We become in fact the children of God and are incorporated into the Body of Christ. We are baptized into Christ's death —his great peacemaking act—so that we may share in his Resurrection and walk in newness of life.
Through the Sacrament of Penance Jesus offers us pardon and peace. Precisely because of its importance as the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I stressed in my first Encyclical " man's right to a more personal encounter with the crucified forgiving Christ", and urged the faithful observance of the centuries-old practice of individual confession. Today I present once again the Sacrament of Penance as a gift of Christ's peace and his love, and I ask you all to make every effort to profit from this opportunity of grace.
And the Eucharist, my dear friends, is the culmination of our sacramental peace, in which we re-present to the Father the gift of reconciliation and peace—the gift of Jesus himself. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, communicates himself and becomes our peace.
5. Dear brothers and sisters : it is indeed important for us to understand how God puts us into contact with Christ and communicates to us the peace of Christ. It is vitally important for parents to transmit to their children an understanding of the faith, and a deep appreciation of sacramental life, so that each generation may be aware of Christ's peace. The success of the Church's mission in this regard depends on you ; it is intimately linked with the family's irreplaceable catechetical activity.
6. At the same time Christ invites us and bids us bring his peace to the world. This is the way he wants us to live; he has spelled it out for us in the Gospel Beatitudes : "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God". We are called to pass on the healing that we have experienced, and the reconciliation that we have been given so lavishly. And in the Second Reading today we are told what we must d? : "Clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness and patience. Bear with one another ... Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you".
Having been forgiven, we are called to forgive. Having been justified by God's grace, we are called to give witness to justice in our lives, for we know full well that peaceful relationships can exist in the world only when the justice of Christ permeates hearts and is expressed in all the structures of society.
7. But in order to communicate peace in accordance with Christ's words, we must live that peace. In the w?rds of the Apostle Paul, "Christ's peace must reign in your hearts, since as members of the one body you are called to that peace" Yes, dear brothers and sisters, there must be peace in our families, between husbands and wives, between parents and children ; peace in our communities ; peace in our parishes and local Churches ; peace in society and over the earth : peace in the hearts of the ministers of Christ, in the hearts of the religious and laity, in the hearts of all those who embrace his Gospel of love.
8. Only then can our proclamation and communication of peace be effective: peace to the poor and to the rich, peace to the young and to the old, peace to the sick and the suffering, to prisoners and to all who mourn. Peace to those who are crushed by the burden of sin, and to those who stumble beneath the weight of their cross. Peace to all who serve with us in the name of Christ and for the glory of his Father. Peace to all our brothers and sisters in Christ, to all our fellow human beings : the peace of reconciliation, of justice, of freedom from fear, of liberation from oppression and sin, of deliverance from eternal death. The peace of Christ's Kingdom, the peace of hope, the peace of Jesus himself.
Dearly beloved, this is indeed the peace that I proclaim to you today—to those far and near : the peace of God's Kingdom, the peace of Christ.
9. Peace is yours as a gift from the Lord, as a responsibility and a challenge. Let us listen to Jesus, today and all the days of our lives. He is speaking to our hearts, as he says : "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God". Amen.
 Is 57,19.
 1P 5,14.
 Jn 19,19.
 Ep 2,3.
 Col 1,20.
 Ep 2,14.
 Cf. Rm 6,4.
 Redemptor Hominis, RH 20
 Mt 5,9.
 Col 3,12ff.
 Col 3,15.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
1. Finding myself in this important city known as the cradle of Christianity in the Philippines, I want to express my deep joy and profound thanksgiving to the Lord of history. The thought that for 450 years the light of the Gospel has shone with undimmed brightness in this land and on its people is cause for great rejoicing. Four and a half centuries of fruitful interaction between the local culture and the Christian message have resulted in this harmonious blending called "Filipino Christian culture".
Any Christian coming here from any part of the world finds himself at home among people sharing the same aspirations and the same hope that are centered in Jesus Christ. Praised be the Name of Jesus f?r what his love has wrought !
God's providence in the Philippines has been truly wonderful. The Christianization that took place in the sixteenth century was not something merely accidental. Divine grace was at work when the people of this region had their first contact with the image of the Santo Niño. It is an important historical fact, rich in religious meaning, that on January 1, 1571 the village kingdom of Sugbu was renamed the " Villa del Santo Niño", and thus the first city of the Philippines was placed under the patronage of the Child Jesus.
2. Divine providence has made it possible f?r us to be together here today, in order to offer a Sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to our Father in heaven for the four and a half centuries of Christianity in this country. The whole Church thanks God that the people who " were once far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ". She thanks God f?r the four hundred and fifty years that his Name has been glorified here, that true worship has been offered to him, that the Blessed Virgin Mary has been devoutly and lovingly venerated, and that millions of people have been reborn in Christ. The unforgettable ceremonies held yesterday in Manila honoring the Filipino Protomartyr, Blessed Lorenzo Ruiz, forcefully illustrate that the Christian faith has taken deep root in the Filipino soul.
In a particular way the Church thanks God that the tiny Christian community of Sugbu, under the patronage of the Infant Jesus, has now become a flourishing archdiocese of two million people, alm?st all of whom are Catholics, with an active and zealous clergy, both diocesan and religious, with dedicated men and women religious, and with an enc?uraging number of seminarians. I am also deeply gratified to kn?w that there are numerous Catholic institutions and organizations and movements of the laity.
It can truly be said that growth in faith and Christian living has been until now a constant feature of the Church in Cebu as well as in the whole of the Philippines. The glorious past gives great hope for the future. The harmonious relationship, under the leadership of the Cardinal Archbishop, the Coadjutor Archbishop and the Auxiliary Bishop, between the hierarchy and the diocesan aid religious clergy; the deep commitment to evangelization by priests, religious and laity; the existence of a solid ecclesial sense and the profound religiosity of the people—all this constitutes great spiritual force for the building up of a dynamic Church in Cebu.
3. Beloved and sisters in Christ, the centuries-old veneration of the Santo Niño here in Cebu prompts me to speak to you today about the family. The Infant Jesus himself was born of the Virgin Mary and lived in a family, and it was in the family of Nazareth that he began the mission which the Father had entrusted to him. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given". In him a new era dawned, in him the world was re-created, in him a new life was offered to humanity, a life redeemed by and in Christ.
Because the Creator wills that life should take its origin from the love of a man and a woman joined in a covenant of sharing in marriage, and because Christ elevated this union of spouses to the dignity of sacrament, we must look at the family, at its nature and mission, in the bright light of our Christian faith. With legitimate pride one can state that whatever the Church teaches today on marriage and the family has been her constant teaching in fidelity to Christ.
The Catholic Church has consistently taught—and I repeat here with the conviction that springs from my office as chief Pastor and Teacher—that marriage was established by God; that marriage is a covenant of love between one man and one woman ; that the bond uniting husband and wife is by God's will indissoluble; that marriage between Christians is a sacrament symbolizing the union of Christ and his Church ; and that marriage must be open to the transmission of human life.
4. When Jesus was going about, teaching and healing, he was one day confronted by some Pharisees who wanted to test him about marriage. Jesus answered, clearly and firmly, by reaffirming what Scripture had said : "From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder".
By making them male and female God established the complementarity of the sexes, for a man leaves his father and mother in order to be joined to his wife in that union of love that permeates all levels of human existence. This union of love enables man and woman to grow together and to care properly for their children. The union that makes them one cannot be broken by any human authority ; it is permanently at the service of the children and of the spouses themselves. Thus the love between a man and a woman in marriage is a love that is both faithful and fruitful. It is a holy love, sacramentally symbolizing the union of love between Christ and the Church, as Saint Paul wrote to the Ephesians : "This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church".
5. F?r these reasons, the Church will never dilute or change her teaching on marriage and the family.
F?r these reasons, the Church rejects any attempt through the practice of polygamy to destroy the unity of marriage, and any attempt through divorce to destroy the marriage bond.
For these reasons also the Church states clearly that marriage should be open to the transmission of human life. God willed the loving union of husband and wife to be the source of new life. He wishes to share, as it were, his creative power with husbands and wives, endowing them with procreative power. God desires that this tremendous power to procreate a new human life should be willingly and lovingly accepted by the couple when they freely choose to marry. Parenthood has a dignity all of its own, guaranteed by God himself. On my part I owe it to my Apostolic Office to reaffirm as clearly and as strongly as possible what the Church of Christ teaches in this respect, and to reiterate vigorously her rejection of artificial contraception and abortion.
6. Yes, from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages, all human life is sacred, for it is created in the image and likeness of God. Human life is precious because it is a gift of God, whose love knows no limit ; and when God gives life, it is forever. Whoever attempts to destroy human life in the womb of the mother, not only violates the sacredness of a living, growing and developing human being, and thus opposes God, but also attacks society by undermining respect for all human life.
I want to repeat here what I stated when visiting my homeland : "If a person's right to life is violated at the moment in which he is first conceived in his mother's womb, an indirect blow is struck also at the whole moral order, which serves to ensure the inviolable goods of man. Among those goods, life occupies the first place. The Church defends the right to life, not only in regard to the majesty of the Creator, who is the first Giver of this life, but also in respect of the essential good of the human person".
202 7. When the Church holds up before you the ideals of Christian marriage and the Christian family, when she insists that the love of husband and wife and the love of parents should be marked by generosity, she knows that there are many factors today that threaten family life and tempt the human heart. The selfish pursuit of pleasure, sexual permissiveness and the fear of a permanent commitment are destructive forces. As a good mother, the Church stands by her children in difficult times ; she stands by the couples who experience difficulties in abiding by her teachings. With love and with an understanding of human weakness, but also with an understanding of the power of Christ's grace in individual human hearts, the Church constantly challenges her children.
She challenges them to be conscious of the dignity of their Baptism and of the gift of sacramental grace that they have been given precisely in order that they might be able to reflect Christ's sacrificial love in their lives develop their own love in a faithful and indissoluble union, and respond with generosity to the gift of parenthood.
As the Second Vatican Council declared : "Authentic married love is caught up into divine love and is governed and enriched by Christ's redeeming power and the saving activity of the Church. Thus this l?ve can lead the spouses to God with powerful effect and can aid and strengthen them in the sublime role of being a father or a mother".
To all of you Christian couples—spouses and parents—I offer the invitation : walk with Christ ! It is he who reveals to you the dignity of the covenant you have made ; it is he who gives immense value to your conjugal love ; it is he, Jesus Christ, who can accomplish in y?u immeasurably more than y?u can ask or imagine.
8. In a Christian community, everyone has a responsibility f?r families. Programs that focus on the family and on the dignity of marriage are of great importance : programs to prepare those who are getting married, and programs for those wh? are already married. In regard to their children parents have an irreplaceable role to play, not only as the first educators in the faith and as models of virtue, but als? as examples of faithful conjugal love. In the community of love and trust that each family ought to be, parents and children can be evangelized and at the same time instruments of evangelization.
Sincere respect for life and human dignity, unselfish charity and the sense of duty and justice, rooted firmly in the Gospel, comes from a family where wholesome relations between parents and children prevail, and where each member of the family tries to be a servant to each other. A family where prayer, loving support and formation in the faith are of constant concern will bring untold benefits not only to the members of the family themselves, but also to the Church and to society.
9. I am most happy to know that all over the Philippines the Family Apostolate has received enthusiastic endorsement and support. I wish to praise the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines for having declared the present decade, 1981 to 1990, "The Decade of the Family" and for having prepared a comprehensive pastoral program for this purpose.
I commend most heartily the different organizations and movements, which, in close collaboration with the hierarchy, devote their zealous efforts to the family. I encourage all Catholic educators, but especially parents themselves, to devote great attention to the proper formation of the young in regard to human sexuality, placing in proper perspective the purpose of the Creator from the beginning, the redemptive power of Christ, and the influence of a true sacramental life. The delicate responsibility for sex education belongs principally to the families, where an atmosphere of loving reverence will be conducive to a fully human and Christian understanding of the meaning of love and life.
10. And s?, my brothers and sisters in Christ, my friends of Cebu City and the surrounding areas, I am taking leave of you. This has been a memorable time for me : to be with you, to share with you the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Christian family, and to experience and reciprocate your l?ve in the midst of God's family—the Church. May the Santo Níño bless you. May Mary the Mother of Jesus and Saint Joseph her spouse assist y?u and all the families in the Philippines to reflect the holiness and joy and love of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Pagpalain kayo nang Poong Maykapal ! (May Almighty God bless y?u !)
 Ep 2,12-13.
 Is 9,6.
 Mc 10,6-9.
 Ep 5,33.
 June 8, 1979.
 Gaudium et Spes, GS 48.
 Cf. Ep 3,21.
Dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ,
1. The vibrant sound of our voices rending the air of this growing city of Davao, in this rapidly developing island of Mindanao, as we sing the praises of God through and in our Lord Jesus, recalls to us our Lord's voice addressed to the first Apostles saying : "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you ; and so, I am with you always to the close of the age".
Jesus, who was himself sent by the Father, was in turn sending his Apostles : "?s the Father has sent me, even s? I send y?u". Since then, there has been no interruption in the sending and going forth : "and they went forth and preached everywhere". Since then, too, there has been an unceasing ecclesial or communitarian response of those who believe and are baptized. The Acts of the Apostles tell us : "So those who received his word were baptized ... And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers".
From the foregoing we can see already the communitarian nature of the Church which would be formed by all nations being gathered into one. Believers would be bound to each other by faith and fellowship, by the breaking together of bread and common prayers. Those who believe would form one Church, one community.
Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, I cannot describe to you how overjoyed I am to be with you today in this Eucharistic celebration. As the one chosen by God's providence to be the Vicar of Christ on earth and the Successor of Saint Peter in the Apostolic See of Rome, I am celebrating with you, in a place thousands of miles away from Rome, the Sacrifice of the Mass, the memorial of Christ's death and Resurrection. We are proclaiming together the mystery of faith : that "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again".
This is indeed a unique moment of deep fulfilment. For we are gathered here as Pastor and Flock, as a Church, as the Body of Christ, where there are varieties of service but the same Lord, where there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one ; where to each is given the same manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. I see in your characteristically Filipino faces, filled with wonder, the faces of children of our common Father, brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ. But I also see in your faces the pain that is linked to the memory of all those who suffered and died during the recent floods that ravaged six provinces of this island.
I offer to all of you the expression of my sympathy for the loss of your loved ones, my prayers for the dead and the injured and the homeless, and my encouragement as you face the future with the burdensome task of reconstructing, with God's grace, your homes and your lives. I see in all of us, assembled here in our Lord's name, the one family of God, the new People of God, building together—each according to his respective role but always in ecclesial solidarity—the Body of Christ in joy and in sorrow.
204 2. This Eucharistic assembly, composed of us coming here from the West and you of Davao and Mindanao representing the only Catholic country in the East, is a synthesis of our Lord's desire, our Lord's command, and our own response. Our Lord desired to gather all nations into one Flock under one Shepherd. His command was to make disciples of all nations, East and West, and our response is this vast multitude of people of varied tongues and color, of varied cultures and status, united in ecclesial communion to share the word of God and the Bread of eternal life. Here around your Archbishop and around the table of God's word and the Eucharistic Sacrifice you form your local Church, your local ecclesial community.
You are united in the unity of one faith and one worship and in that bond of love which is the distinctive mark of the true disciples of Christ : " By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another".
This ecclesial community on the diocesan level, with the Bishop as the sign and center of unity, is nourished constantly by loyal adherence to the word of God and to an authentic worship according to that basic relationship between faith and worship : "lex ?randi, lex credendi". It is also strengthened by the bond of love among the members, and by the conscious participation of all members according to the gifts each one has received for the building up of the local Church.
3. The same ecclesial life on the diocesan level is reflected on the parish level. The same variety of gifts and ministries contributes to the one mission of building up the Body of Christ. The same consciousness of being a member of an ecclesial community prevails.
On the parish level a truly meaningful ecclesial communion and participation is experienced day after day. It is in small Christian communities where the members know each other more personally that true love and fraternal concern is more easily practised. The affliction and need of a brother or a sister whom one knows and sees every day moves the human heart to love and compassion. Conversely, we are less inclined to have love and compassion for someone wh? is unknown and unseen. "For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom be has not seen''.
Moreover the communitarian dimension of our Christian vocation has been strongly emphasized by the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council. Every liturgical act is in itself an act of the whole Body of Christ, of the Head and of the members. Every sacrament and every Mass that is celebrated is an act of Christ and of his Body. Every good deed performed by a member benefits the whole membership, and every sin is not only an offense against God, but a wound inflicted on the Body of Christ.
In this perspective, our first communal act at the start of this Eucharistic celebration is a confession of our sins against God and the Body of Christ: "I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters"; and at the latter part of this communal penitential act we say "and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God".
It is quite clear from all this, that there is no such thing as a Christian for one's own self. We are Christians because we belong to Christ and to his Body. A Christian who has not learned to see and love Christ in his neighbor is not fully a Christian. A Christian cannot be like Cain who refused to be his brother's keeper. We are keepers of our brothers, we are bound to one another by the bond of love. This love is God's command for all those who believe in him.
For a Christian, to live is to love, and to love is to live. Magmahalan tayo tulad ng pagmahal sa atin nang Diyos. (Let us love one another as G?d has loved us !)
4. This communitarian or ecclesial nature of our Christian vocation which is more easily practised on the diocesan and parish levels, must, however, be directed towards the universal Church. We are a local Church only to the extent that we are part of the universal Church established by Christ our Lord. We are a legitimate part only because we belong to the wh?le. And our Lord intended and actually established a Church that will extend from one end to the other of the world, to become the new People of God, the new Israel.
Christ ?ur Lord wanted his Church to be universal and yet to be one and the same all over the world. He wanted all nations beyond boundaries and barriers to be one ecclesial community shepherded by one supreme Pastor. He wanted his Church or ecclesial community to preach the same doctrine, practise the same worship, observe the same law of love, and be shepherded by one holder of the keys, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. This same Church is the fountain of truth and source of spiritual power that assimilates all cultures of all places and times. This assimilation does not result in the destruction of the human and local cultures but in their sublimation. Christian truth, in turn, is made incarnate in each local culture, purifying, elevating and solidifying its values.
205 The unity of doctrine and worship proclaimed and safeguarded from adulteration by the universal Church is perfectly complemented by the law of love that binds all Christians to God and to one another, all local Churches to the universal Church and to each other. Thus the universal Church, thr?ugh the local Churches and under the impulse of the indwelling Spirit, gradually transforms the wh?le world into the kingdom of God here on earth and ceaselessly promotes a civilization of love.
5. Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, our Lord Jesus Christ wants us to live ?ur faith for the building up of the ecclesial community, s? that his redemption can be applied to the individual members through the ministry of the Church. At the same time we must never cease to emphasize that each member must continuously be converted to God and conformed to Christ by love, in order to share in this common task of building up the Body of Christ.
It may not be hard for one to remain faithful to the doctrine of faith as proposed by the universal Church and faithful to authentic worship ; we may even be able to speak in tongues, and interpret them and be gifted with prophecies. But if we fail to follow our Lord's command to love God and one another, we will not be counted w?rthy of his eternal reward. With clear deliberation our Lord summarized all the commandments of the Old Law into a command to love God and one another.
Doing no harm or injury to others is much less and truly short of loving others. In our community of Christians, Saint Paul's understanding of love is the true understanding of our Lord's command to love one another. " If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith s? as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing".
Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, if my visit here would only make all of you love one another just a little bit more; if my visit here would make you just a little more ecclesial or community-oriented, s? that you would think more and more of others with love ; if my visit here would make y?u desire more to serve than to be served, then my visit, by God's grace, would be fruitful and worthwhile.
Finally, allow me, dearly beloved in ?ur Lord, to recall and propose as our rule of life in our ecclesial relationship the unsurpassable prayer of the Seraphic Doctor, Saint Francis of Assisi : "Make me a channel of your peace, where there is hatred let me bring your love, where there is injury your pardon, Lord, and where there is doubt true faith in y?u. O Master, grant that I may never seek s? much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love with all my soul. Make me a channel of your peace. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, in giving to all men that we receive, and in dying that we are born to eternal life. Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is despair in life let me bring hope; where there is darkness only light, and where is sadness ever joy".
Maraming salamat at Pagpalain nawa kayo nang Diyos !
 Mt 28,18 Mt 28,20.
 Jn 20,21.
 Mc 16,20.
 Ac 2,41-42.
 Cf. 1Co 12,4-7.
 Jn 13,35.
 1Jn 4,20.
 1Co 13,1-13.
S. John Paul II Homil. 195