Wednesday, 22 April 1998 - Second coming of Christ at the end of time


1. While the path to the Jubilee recalls the first historical coming of Christ, it also invites us to look forward with expectation to his second coming at the end of time. This eschatological perspective, which shows the fundamental orientation of Christian life towards the ultimate realities, is a continual call both to hope and to involvement in the Church and in the world.

We must not forget that for Christians the "eschaton", that is, the final event, is to be understood not only as a future goal, but as a reality which has already begun with the historical coming of Christ. His Passion, Death and Resurrection are the supreme event in the history of humanity, which has now entered its final phase, making a qualitative leap, so to speak. The horizon of a new relationship with God is unfolding for humanity, marked by the great offer of salvation in Christ.

This is why Jesus can say: "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live" (
Jn 5,25). The resurrection of the dead expected at the end of time already receives its first, decisive realization in spiritual resurrection, the primary objective of the work of salvation. It consists in the new life given by the risen Christ as the fruit of his redemptive work.

It is a mystery of rebirth in water and the Spirit (cf. Jn 3,5), which deeply marks the present and future of all humanity, even if its effectiveness at the moment is shown only in those who totally accept God's gift and radiate it in the world.

2. This twofold dimension, both present and future, of Christ's coming is apparent in his words. In the eschatological discourse which immediately precedes the paschal drama, Jesus predicts: "They will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven" (Mc 13,26-27).

In apocalyptic language clouds signify a theophany: they indicate that the second coming of the Son of Man will not take place in the weakness of flesh, but in divine power. These words of the discourse suggest the ultimate future that will bring history to an end. However, in the answer he gives to the high priest during his trial, Jesus repeats the eschatological prophecy, formulating it in terms of an imminent event: "I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven" (Mt 26,64).

By comparing these words with those of the previous discourse, one can grasp the dynamic sense of Christian eschatology as a historical process which has already begun and is moving towards its fullness.

21 3. On the other hand, we know that the apocalyptic images of the eschatological discourse about the end of all things should be interpreted in the light of their intense symbolism. They express the precariousness of the world and the sovereign power of Christ, in whose hands has been placed the destiny of humanity. History advances towards its goal, but Christ has not specified any chronological date. Attempts to predict the end of the world are therefore deceptive and misleading. Christ has assured us only that the end will not come before his saving work has reached a universal dimension through the preaching of the Gospel: "This Gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come" (Mt 24,14).

Jesus says these words to his disciples who are anxious to know the date of the end of the world. They would have been tempted to think of a date close at hand. Jesus makes them realize that many events and upheavals must occur first and will be only "the beginning of the sufferings" (Mc 13,8). Therefore, as Paul says, all creation is "groaning in travail", waiting impatiently for the revelation of the sons of God (cf. Rm 8,19-22).

4. The evangelization of the world involves the profound transformation of the human person under the influence of Christ's grace. Paul pointed out that the goal of history lies in the Father's plan to "unite all things in him [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth" (Ep 1,10). Christ is the centre of the universe, who draws all people to himself to grant them an abundance of grace and eternal life.

The Father gave Jesus "authority to execute judgement, because he is the Son of Man" (Jn 5,27). If judgement obviously foresees the possibility of condemnation, it is nevertheless entrusted to the One who is the "Son of Man", that is, to a person full of understanding and in solidarity with the human condition. Christ is a divine judge with a human heart, a judge who wants to give life. Only unrepentant attachment to evil can prevent him from offering this gift, for which he did not hesitate to face death.

To the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, the Holy Father said:

I extend a warm welcome to the Board of Directors of the Major Superiors of Women Religious of the United States, and through you I greet all the members of your communities. I welcome the students from the Universities of Tromsø and Oslo, and the Ansgar group from Gothenberg. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from England, Canada, the United States, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan, I cordially invoke an abundance of divine blessings.

Wednesday 29 April 1998 - Mary, the Mother of God and our spiritual Mother


1. In directing our gaze to Christ, the Jubilee also invites us to turn our eyes towards Mary. We cannot separate the Son from the Mother, because "being born of Mary" belongs to Jesus' personal identity. In the very first formulas of faith, Jesus is acknowledged as the Son of God and Son of Mary. Tertullian, for example, recalls this when he states: "We must believe in one God, the Almighty, the Creator of the world, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary" (De virg. vel., 1, 3).

As Mother, Mary was the first human person to rejoice over a birth that marked a new era in the religious history of humanity. From the angel's message she knew what her child's extraordinary destiny would be in the plan of salvation. Mary's joy lies at the root of all Jubilees to come. The Jubilee we are going to celebrate was thus prepared in her maternal heart. For this reason, the Blessed Virgin must be "indirectly" present, so to speak, in dealing with the themes planned throughout the preparatory phase (cf. Tertio millennio adveniente,
TMA 43). Our Jubilee will have to be a sharing in her joy.

2. The inseparability of Christ and Mary comes from the Father's sovereign will in carrying out the plan of the Incarnation. As St Paul says, "when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman" (Ga 4,4).

The Father wanted a mother for his incarnate Son, so that he would be born in a truly human way. At the same time, he wanted a virginal mother as a sign of the child's divine sonship.

To make this motherhood a reality, the Father asked Mary for her consent. The angel explained the divine plan to her and waited for an answer, which had to come from her free will. This can be clearly seen in the Annunciation account, which stresses that Mary posed a question that reveals her intention to remain a virgin. When the angel explained to her that the obstacle would be overcome through the action of the Holy Spirit, she gave her consent.

3. "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word" (Lc 1,38). Mary's acceptance of the divine plan had an immense effect on the whole future of mankind. We can say that the "yes" she expressed at the time of the Annunciation changed the face of the world. It was a "yes" to the coming of the One who was to free human beings from the slavery of sin and win for them the divine life of grace. A future of happiness for the universe was made possible by this "yes" from the young woman of Nazareth.

A wondrous event! The praise that wells up from Elizabeth's heart in the story of the Visitation aptly expresses the joy of all humanity: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!" (Lc 1,42).

23 4. From the moment of Mary's consent, the mystery of the Incarnation becomes a reality. The Son of God enters our world and begins to live as a man, while remaining fully God. From that moment Mary becomes the Mother of God.

This is the highest title that can be given to a creature. It is totally justified in Mary's case, because a mother is mother of the person of her son in the complete fullness of his humanity. Mary is the "Mother of God" inasmuch as she is the Mother of the "Son of God", even if this motherhood is defined in the context of the mystery of the Incarnation.

It was precisely this insight which gave rise to the title of Theotókos, Mother of God, in the hearts and on the lips of Christians from the third century. The most ancient prayer addressed to Mary originated in Egypt and asks for her help in difficult circumstances, invoking her as "Mother of God".

Later, when some challenged the legitimacy of this title, the Council of Ephesus solemnly approved it in 431, and its truth has prevailed in doctrinal language and in prayer.

5. By her divine motherhood Mary fully opened her heart to Christ, and in him to all humanity. Mary's total dedication to the work of the Son is especially shown by her participation in his sacrifice. According to John's testimony, the Mother of Jesus "stood by the cross" (
Jn 19,25). She thus united herself to all the sufferings that Jesus endured. She shared in the generous offering of his sacrifice for the salvation of mankind.

This association with Christ's sacrifice brought about a new motherhood in Mary. She who suffered for all men became the mother of all men. Jesus himself proclaimed this new motherhood when he said to her from the height of the cross: "Woman, behold, your son" (Jn 19,26). Mary thus became the mother of the beloved disciple and, in Jesus' intention, the mother of every disciple, every Christian.

Mary's universal motherhood, intended to foster life according to the Spirit, is an extraordinary gift to humanity from Christ crucified. Jesus said to the beloved disciple: "Behold, your mother". And from that hour he "took her to his own home" (Jn 19,27), or better, "among his possessions", among the precious gifts left him by the crucified Master.

The words, "Behold, your mother", are addressed to each of us. We are invited to love Mary as Christ loved her, to welcome her into our lives as our Mother, to let her lead us along the ways of the Holy Spirit.

To the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors the Holy Father said:

I warmly greet the pilgrims from the parish of Olari, Finland, accompanied by Bishop Paul Verschuren of Helsinki. I extend a special welcome to the Oki Sono Ayako group from Japan and to the members of the Chief Executives Organization from the United States. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from England, Sweden, Finland, Australia, the Philippines, Japan and the United States of America, I invoke the abundant blessings of almighty God.

                                                                                  May 1998

Wednesday 6 May 1998 - Mary's steadfast faith throughout her life

1. The first beatitude cited in the Gospel is that of faith, and it refers to Mary: “Blessed is she who believed” (
Lc 1,45). These words, spoken by Elizabeth, highlight the contrast between Zechariah’s disbelief and Mary’s faith. On receiving the message about the future birth of his son, Zechariah had found it hard to believe, judging it impossible since both he and his wife were advanced in age.

At the Annunciation Mary is confronted with an even more surprising message, the proposal that she become the mother of the Messiah. She does not react with doubt to this prospect, but limits herself to asking how the virginity to which she feels called could be reconciled with the vocation to motherhood. To the reply of the angel, who points out the divine omnipotence working through the Spirit, Mary gives her humble and generous consent.

At that unique moment in human history, faith plays a decisive role. St Augustine rightly states: “Christ is believed and conceived through faith. First, the coming of faith takes place in the Virgin's heart, followed by fruitfulness in the mother’s womb” (Sermo 293, PL 38, 1327).

2. If we wish to contemplate the depth of Mary’s faith, the Gospel account of the wedding feast at Cana is a great help. Faced with the lack of wine, Mary could have sought some human solution to the problem at hand, but she does not hesitate to turn immediately to Jesus: “They have no wine” (Jn 2,3). She knows that Jesus has no wine available; it is therefore likely that she is asking for a miracle. And her request is all the more daring since until that moment Jesus has not worked any miracles. By acting in this way, she is doubtless obeying an inner inspiration, since, according to the divine plan, Mary’s faith must precede the first manifestation of Jesus' messianic power, as it preceded his coming to earth. She already embodies the attitude that was to be praised by Jesus for true believers in every age: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (Jn 20,29).

3. The faith to which Mary is called is not an easy one. Even before Cana, while meditating on the words and behaviour of the Son, she had to draw on a deep faith. The episode of the 12-year-old Jesus lost in the temple was symbolic, when she and Joseph, in distress, heard the answer: “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lc 2,49). But now, in Cana, Jesus’ response to his Mother’s request seems even clearer and far from encouraging: “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come” (Jn 2,4). In the intention of the Fourth Gospel, it is not the hour of Christ's public manifestation so much as an anticipation of the significance of Jesus' supreme hour (cf. Jn 7,30 Jn 12,23 Jn 13,1 Jn 17,1), whose messianic fruits of redemption and of the Spirit are effectively represented by the wine as a symbol of prosperity and joy. But the fact that this hour had not yet occurred chronologically is an obstacle which, coming from the sovereign will of the Father, seems insurmountable.

Yet Mary does not withdraw her request, to the point of involving the servants in accomplishing the expected miracle: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2,5). With her docility and the depth of her faith, she looks beyond the immediate sense of Jesus' words. She intuits the unfathomable abyss and infinite resources of divine mercy and does not doubt her Son's loving response. The miracle is an answer to the perseverence of her faith.

Mary is thus presented as the model of a faith in Jesus that rises above all obstacles.

4. Jesus’ public life also tested Mary's faith. On the one hand, it gave her joy to know that Jesus' preaching and miracles caused admiration and approval in so many people. On the other, she sadly notes the increasingly harsh opposition of the Pharisees, the doctors of the law and the priestly hierarchy.

One can imagine how much Mary suffered from this disbelief, which she observes even in her relatives: those who are called “the brethren of Jesus”, that is, his relatives, do not believe in him and interpret his behaviour as inspired by ambition (cf. Jn 7,2-5).

Although Mary is sad to hear the family disagreement, she does not break off relations with these relatives, whom we find with her in the first community waiting for Pentecost (cf. Ac 1,14). With her kindness and love, Mary helps others to share her faith.

5. In the drama of Calvary, Mary’s faith remains unwavering. For the disciples’ faith, this tragedy was overwhelming. Only through the effectiveness of Christ’s prayer was it possible for Peter and the others, who were also put to the test, to continue on the path of faith in order to become witnesses to the Resurrection.

In saying that Mary stood at the foot of the Cross, the Evangelist John (cf. Jn 19,25) shows us that Mary remained full of courage at that critical moment. It was certainly the hardest stage in her “pilgrimage of faith” (cf. Lumen gentium LG 58). But she could stand there because she had remained firm in her faith. Put to the test, Mary continued to believe that Jesus was the Son of God and that by his sacrifice he would transform the destiny of mankind.

The Resurrection was the definitive confirmation of Mary’s faith. In her heart, more than in any other, faith in the risen Christ acquired its most complete and authentic aspect, that of joy.

25 To the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors the Holy Father said:

I warmly welcome the Lutheran visitors from Norway and Sweden and the members of the Swedish Christian Association for Religious Studies in Göteborg. I extend a special greeting to the delegation of the Ministry of the Interior of Thailand, led by the Minister. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from England, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Thailand and the United States of America, I invoke the abundant blessings of almighty God.
Holy Father's remarks

to relatives and friends of the Swiss Guard

I extend a special greeting to the families, relatives and friends of the Swiss Guard, who have come to Rome for the swearing-in of the new recruits. What should have been a joyful gathering has become a shocking tragedy, which weighs heavily on the hearts of all and has greatly saddened me.

As I express my deepest sympathy to the parents and relatives of Commandant Alois Estermann and his wife, I pray that the Lord will receive their souls into his peace. Commandant Estermann was a person of deep faith and unswerving devotion to duty; for 18 years he gave loyal and valuable service, for which I am personally grateful to him.

I am also close to the sorrow of the relatives of Vice-Corporal Cédric Tornay, who now stands before the judgement seat of God and whom I entrust to his mercy.

I invite everyone to join me in prayer, asking for the strengthening comfort of God, the Lord of life and death.

Wednesday 13 May 1998

1. In preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, the current year is particularly to the Holy Spirit. Continuing on the path marked out for the whole Church, and after concluding the Christological theme, today we begin a systematic reflection on the One who is “the Lord and Giver of life”. I have spoken extensively about the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity on various occasions. I recall in particular the Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem and the catechesis on the Creed. The imminent prospect of the Jubilee gives me the opportunity to reflect once again on the Holy Spirit, to examine with an adoring heart his action in the flow of time and history.

2. In fact, reflection is not easy, unless the Spirit himself comes to aid us in our weakness (cf.
Rm 8,26). How, in fact, can we discern the presence of God’s Spirit in history? We can answer this question only by turning to the Holy Scriptures, which, being inspired by the Paraclete, gradually reveal his action and identity to us. They express to us, in a certain way, the Spirit’s “language”, “style” and “logic”. It is also possible to interpret the reality in which he works with eyes that penetrate beyond mere external observation to discern traces of his presence behind things and events. Scripture itself, beginning with the Old Testament, helps us understand that nothing of what is good, true and holy in the world can be explained without reference to the Spirit of God.

3. A first, veiled allusion to the Spirit is found in the very first lines of the Bible, in the hymn to God the Creator which opens the Book of Genesis: “The Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters” (Gn 1,2). Here the Hebrew word ruach is used for “spirit”, which means “breath” and can designate either the wind or the breath. As we know, this text belongs to the so called “priestly source” that dates back to the period of the Babylonian exile (6th century B.C.), when Israel’s faith had explicitly reached a monotheistic conception of God. As Israel became aware of the creative power of the one God through the light of Revelation, it came to realize that God created the universe by the power of his Word. The role of the Spirit appears in conjuction with the latter. This perception is encouraged by the very analogy of language, which, by association, combines the word with the breath of the lips: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath (ruach) of his mouth” (Ps 33,6 [32]). God’s vital and life-giving breath is not limited to the initial moment of creation, but keeps all creation in existence and gives it life by continuously renewing it: “When you send forth your Spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth” (Ps 104,30 [103]).

4. The most original feature of biblical revelation is to have recognized history as the privileged realm for the action of God’s Spirit. In about 100 passages of the Old Testament, the ruach YHWH indicates the action of the Lord's Spirit guiding his people, especially at important turning points in their journey. Thus in the period of the judges, God sent his Spirit upon frail men and changed them into charismatic leaders invested with divine energy; this is what happened to Gideon, to Jephthah and in particular to Samson (cf. ). With the arrival of the Davidic monarchy this divine force, which until then had been manifested unpredictably and sporadically, acquired a certain stability. This can be clearly seen in the royal consecration of David, of which Scripture says: “The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward” (1S 16,13). During and after the Babylonian exile, Israel’s whole history is reread as a long dialogue between God and the people chosen “by his Spirit through the former prophets” (Za 7,12). The prophet Ezekiel explains the link between the Spirit and prophecy when he says, for example: “And the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and he said to me, ‘Say, Thus says the Lord...’” (Ez 11,5). But the prophetic vision looks above all to that privileged time in the future when the promises will be fulfilled under the sign of the divine ruach. Isaiah foretells the birth of a descendant on whom “the Spirit of the Lord shall rest ... the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord” (Is 11,2-3). “This text”, as I wrote in the Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem, “is important for the whole pneumatology of the Old Testament, because it constitutes a kind of bridge between the ancient biblical concept of ‘spirit’, understood primarily as a ‘charismatic breath of wind’, and the ‘Spirit’ as a person and as a gift, a gift for the person. The Messiah of the lineage of David (‘from the stump of Jesse’) is precisely that person on whom the Spirit ‘shall rest’” (Dominum et Vivificantem DEV 15).

5. Two marks of the mysterious identity of the Holy Spirit can already be seen in the Old Testament and are then amply confirmed by the revelation of the New Testament. The first mark is the absolute transcendence of the Spirit, who is therefore called “holy” (Is 63,10 Is 63,11 Ps 51,13 [50]). The Spirit of God is in every respect “divine”. He is not a reality which man can acquire with his strength, but a gift which comes from on high: he can only be invoked and received. Infinitely “other” with regard to man, the Spirit is communicated with total gratuitousness to those who are called to co-operate with him in the history of salvation. And when this divine energy finds humble and ready acceptance, man is stripped of his selfishness and freed from his fears; truth and love, freedom and peace flourish in the world. Another mark of God’s Spirit is the dynamic power he reveals when intervening in history. At times there is a risk of projecting onto the biblical image of the Spirit concepts tied to other cultures, for example, the concept of “spirit” as something evanescent, static and inert. The biblical concept of ruach, however, indicates a supremely active, powerful and irresistible energy: the Spirit of the Lord, we read in Isaiah, “is like an overflowing stream” (Is 30,28). Therefore, when the Father intervenes with his Spirit, chaos is transformed into cosmos, the world comes alive and history is set in motion.

To the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, the Holy Father said:

I warmly welcome to this audience the ecumenical groups from England and Wales and the Lutheran visitors from Denmark. I extend a special greeting to the priests and laity from the Diocese of Thamarasserry and to the Brothers of St Gabriel from India.

Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from England, Wales, Denmark, India, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand, Canada and the United States of America, I invoke the abundant blessings of almighty God.

Wednesday 20 May 1998 - Spirit is source of new and eternal life

1. The revelation of the Holy Spirit as a person distinct from the Father and the Son, foreshadowed in the Old Testament, becomes clear and explicit in the New.

It is true that the New Testament writings do not offer us systematic teaching on the Holy Spirit. However, by gathering the many statements found in the writings of Luke, Paul and John, it is possible to perceive the convergence of these three great currents of New Testament revelation concerning the Holy Spirit.

2. Compared to the other two Synoptic Gospels, the Evangelist Luke offers us a far more developed pneumatology.

In the Gospel he intends to show us that Jesus alone possesses the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Of course, the Spirit also comes upon Elizabeth, Zechariah, John the Baptist and especially Mary herself, but it is only Jesus, throughout his earthly life, who fully possesses God’s Spirit. He is conceived by the work of the Holy Spirit (cf.
Lc 1,35). The Baptist will say of him: “I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming ... he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Lc 3,16).

Before being baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire, Jesus was baptized in the Jordan and “the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove” (Lc 3,22). Luke stresses that Jesus not only goes into the wilderness “led by the Spirit”, but that he goes there “full of the Holy Spirit” (Lc 4,1) and is victorious there over the tempter. He undertakes his mission “in the power of the Spirit” (Lc 4,14). In the synagogue at Nazareth, when he officially begins his mission, Jesus applies to himself the prophecy of the book of Isaiah (cf. Is 61,1-2): “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor” (Lc 4,18). All of Jesus’ evangelizing activity is thus guided by the Spirit.

This same Spirit will sustain the Church’s evangelizing mission, as the Risen One had promised his disciples: “Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high” (Lc 24,49). According to the book of Acts, the promise is fulfilled on the day of Pentecost: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Ac 2,4). Joel’s prophecy is thus realized: “In the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Ac 2,17). Luke sees the Apostles as representing the People of God of the last days and rightly emphasizes that this Spirit of prophecy involves the whole People of God.

3. St Paul in turn highlights the aspect of renewal and the eschatological dimension of the Spirit’s work: the Spirit is seen as the source of the new and eternal life that Jesus communicates to his Church.

In the First Letter to the Corinthians we read that Christ, the new Adam, by virtue of the Resurrection, became “a life-giving spirit” (1Co 15,45): he was transformed by the vital power of God’s Spirit so as to become, in turn, a principle of new life for believers. Christ communicates this life precisely through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Believers no longer live as slaves under the law, but as sons, because in their hearts they have received the Spirit of the Son and can cry out: “Abba, Father!” (cf. Ga 4,5-7 Rm 8,14-16). It is a life “in Christ”, that is, a life of belonging exclusively to him and of incorporation into the Church: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (cf. 1Co 12,13). The Holy Spirit gives rise to faith (1Co 12,3), pours love into our hearts (cf. Rm 5,5) and guides the prayer of Christians (cf. Rm 8,26).

As the principle of a new existence, the Holy Spirit also produces a new and active dynamism in the believer: “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Ga 5,25). This new life is opposed to that of the “flesh”, whose desires displease God and enclose the person in the suffocating prison of an ego turned in on itself (cf. Rm 8,5-9). Instead, by opening himself to the Holy Spirit, the Christian can taste the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, etc. (cf. Ga 5,16-24).

According to Paul, however, what we now possess is only a “down payment” or the first fruits of the Spirit (cf. Rm 8,23 cf. also 2Co 5,5). In the final resurrection, the Spirit will complete his masterpiece by bringing about, for believers, the full “spiritualization” of their bodies (cf. 1Co 15,43-44) and in some way involving the whole universe in salvation as well (cf. Rm 8,20-22).

4. In the Johannine perspective, the Holy Spirit is above all the Spirit of truth, the Paraclete.

Jesus announces the gift of the Spirit as he completes his earthly work: “When the Paraclete comes, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father — and whom I myself will send from the Father — he will bear witness on my behalf. You must bear witness as well, for you have been with me from the beginning” (Jn 15,26 ff.). In further explaining the Spirit’s role, Jesus adds: “He will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (Jn 16,13-14). Thus, the Spirit will not bring a new revelation, but will guide the faithful to an interiorization and deeper penetration of the truth revealed by Jesus.

What does it mean to call the Spirit of truth the Paraclete? Bearing in mind the Johannine perspective which views Jesus’ trial as one that continues in the disciples who will be persecuted because of his name, the Paraclete is the one who defends the cause of Jesus, convincing the world “of sin, of righteousness and of judgement” (Jn 16,7 f.). The fundamental sin which the Paraclete will make known is not to have believed in Christ. The justice he indicates is that which the Father gave his crucified Son by glorifying him in the Resurrection and Ascension into heaven. The judgement, in this context, consists in revealing the sin of those who, dominated by Satan, the prince of this world (cf. Jn 16,11), rejected Christ (cf. Dominum et Vivificantem DEV 27). With his inner assistance, the Holy Spirit is therefore the defender and supporter of Christ’s cause, the One who leads the minds and hearts of disciples to full acceptance of the “truth” of Jesus.

To the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors the Holy Father said:

I warmly welcome the group Up With People, and I encourage you in your efforts to promote greater co-operation and understanding among peoples through your art and community service. I extend a special greeting to the Buddhist group from Chiang Mai in Thailand. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from England, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Canada and the United States of America, I invoke the abundant blessings of almighty God.