S. John Paul II Homil. 725
Saturday, 10 May 1997
726 Dear Young People of Lebanon,
1. I am particularly pleased to meet you this evening, during my apostolic visit to your country. I first thank Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch for Maronites, for his words of welcome, and Bishop Habib Bacha, President of the Episcopal Commission for the Lay Apostolate, for presenting the young people of Lebanon.
Dear young people, I particularly appreciate the words which through your representatives you will address to me with honesty and trust. I understand the aspirations that motivate you and your impatience as you face the daily situation which you think cannot change. I thus discover the faces of young men and women who with youthful enthusiasm and energy are anxious to prepare themselves for the future by praying to the Lord to give them strength and courage, to communicate his love and his hope to them, as we will be asking him to do in the opening prayer of our celebration. As years pass, I have supported you with prayer, imploring Christ to help you in your journey towards peace and in your personal and social life.
2. We will listen to the Gospel passage about the disciples of Emmaus. Their experience can help you, for it is like each of yours. Saddened by the events of Holy Week, disoriented by Jesus’ death and disappointed that they had not realized their expectations, the two disciples decide to leave Jerusalem on Easter Day and return to their village. The hope brought by Christ during the three years they had spent with him in the Holy Land seemed to have been dispelled by his death. However, as they walk along the road, the pilgrims of Emmaus remember the Lord’s message, a message of love and fraternal charity, a message of hope and salvation. In their hearts they retain the memory of the deeds and actions he had performed throughout his public life, from the banks of the Jordan to Golgotha, passing through Tyre and Sidon.
Each of them recalls words and meetings with the Lord which showed his tenderness, compassion and love for every human being. They were all impressed by his teaching and goodness. Christ looked beyond the stain of sin to the inner beauty of the being created in God’s image. He could perceive the deep desire for truth and the thirst for happiness present in every person’s soul. By his look, his outstretched hand and his words of comfort, Jesus called each one to pick himself up after sin, for every person has a value that goes beyond what he has done and there is no sin that cannot be forgiven. On thinking all this over, the disciples begin to meditate on the Good News brought by the Messiah.
On their way to Emmaus, as they were contemplating the person of Christ, his words and his life, the disciples are joined by the Risen One himself, who reveals to them the depth of the Scriptures and helps them discover God’s plan. The events of Jerusalem, his death on the Cross and the Resurrection, bring salvation to every man and woman. Death is overcome and the way to eternal life definitively opened. But the two men do not yet recognize the Lord. Their hearts are confused and troubled. Only at the end of the road, when Jesus breaks bread with them, when he re-enacts the memorial of his sacrifice as in the Upper Room, are their eyes are opened to accepting the truth: Jesus is risen; he goes before them on the paths of the world. Hope is not dead. They immediately return to Jerusalem to proclaim the Good News. Fortified by these promises, we also know that Christ is living and really present among his brothers and sisters, every day and until the end of time.
3. Christ constantly repeats this journey to Emmaus, this synodal journey with his Church; in fact, the word “synod” means to walk together. He walked this way again with the Pastors of the Catholic Church in Lebanon during the Special Assembly that was held in Rome in November and December 1995. Dear young people, he also wants to walk it again with you. With you, because the Synod of Bishops for Lebanon was held for you: you are the future. When you perform your daily tasks, in study or work, when you serve your brothers and sisters, when you share your doubts and hopes, when you reflect on Scripture, alone or in church, when you take part in the Eucharist, Christ joins you; he walks beside you; he is your strength, your nourishment and your light.
Dear young people, in your every day life do not be afraid to let Christ join you like the disciples of Emmaus. In your personal life, in ecclesial life, the Lord accompanies you and puts his hope in you. Christ trusts you to be responsible for your own life and for that of your brothers and sisters, for the Church’s future in Lebanon and for your country’s future. Long live peace! Today and tomorrow, Jesus invites you to leave your ways to travel with him, united with all the faithful of the Catholic Church and all the Lebanese people.
4. So, are you willing to follow Christ? If you are willing to follow Christ and to let yourselves be seized by him, he will show you that the mystery of his Death and Resurrection is the key par excellence to understanding the Christian life and human life. In fact, in every life there are times when God seems to be silent, like Holy Thursday night; times of distress like Good Friday when God seems to abandon those he loves; times of light like the dawn of Easter morning which saw the definitive victory of life over death. After the example of Christ, who put his life in the Father’s hands, it is by putting your trust in God that you will achieve great things. For if we rely only on ourselves, our projects all too often reveal individual and partisan interests. But everything can change when one relies first of all on the Lord who comes to transform, purify and bring peace to one's inner self. The changes to which you aspire in your land first call for a change of heart.
5. Indeed, it is your task to pull down the walls built up during the painful periods of your nation’s history; do not build new walls in your country. On the contrary, it is your task to build bridges between people, between families and between the different communities. In your daily life, may you achieve works of reconciliation in order to pass from mistrust to trust! It is also your task to see that every Lebanese, especially every young person, can take part in social life, in your common home. Thus a new brotherhood will be born and solid bonds woven in order to build up Lebanon, since the principal and decisive weapon is love. By drawing on intimate life with the Lord, the source of love and peace, you in turn will be artisans of peace and love. In this way, the Apostle says, we will be recognized as his disciples.
You are the treasure of Lebanon, you who hunger for peace and brotherhood, and wish to commit yourselves every day to this land to which you are deeply attached. With your parents, teachers and all the adults who have social and ecclesial roles, you must prepare the Lebanon of the future, to make it a united people, with its cultural and spiritual diversity. Lebanon is a heritage full of promise. Apply yourselves to acquiring a sound civic and moral education, to become fully aware of your responsibilities in the reconstruction of the nation. One of the factors that create unity in a nation is a sense of dialogue with every brother and sister, with respect for their particular sensitivities and different community histories. Far from distancing people from one another, this basic attitude of openness is one of the essential moral elements of democratic life and one of the essential means for developing solidarity, renewing the social fabric and giving a new vitalilty to national life.
727 6. To express my esteem and trust to you, in a moment at the end of the address, I will sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation in your presence. Through your reflections you made a notable contribution to the preparation of the Assembly, where you were represented and heard. Today I choose you as privileged witnesses and trustees of the message of renewal which is necessary to the Church and to your country. I urge you fervently to take an active part in putting the guidelines of the Synod Assembly into practice. With the Patriarchs and Bishops, Pastors of the flock, with the priests, religious and all the Christian people, you are responsible for being witnesses to the risen Lord by your words and by your whole life. In the Christian community each one of you is called to have a share in its responsibility. By listening to Christ who calls you and who wants you to succeed in life, you will respond to your particular vocation in the priesthood, the consecrated life or marriage. In every state of life, being committed to following the Lord is a source of great joy.
The church where we are is on the top of a mountain: it is visible to the inhabitants of Beirut and of the region, and to visitors who come to your land; thus may your witness be an enlightening example for your companions! Do not forget your Christian identity and your status as disciples of the Lord. It is your glory; it is your hope; it is your mission. Receive the Exhortation as a gift from the universal Church to the Church in Lebanon and to your country, in the certainty that your energy and courage will be at the root of deep transformations in yourselves and in society as a whole. Put your faith and hope in Christ. In him you will not be disappointed.
7. Let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Lebanon, to watch over your country and its inhabitants and help you with her motherly tenderness to be worthy heirs of the saints of your land and to make Lebanon flourish again, this country which is one of the Holy Places God loves, because he came to make his home here and to remind us that we must build the earthly city with our eyes fixed on the values of the kingdom.
After his homily, the Holy Father spoke extemporaneously to those present:
Now I must tell you that you have followed my address attentively. And I must tell you that I have also paid attention to you: are they reacting at the right moment? Are they applauding when they ought to? This is how I knew. So you have passed your examination! And now we must return to the basilica, to celebrate the liturgical part. You must continue to participate and at the end I will come back and see you!
Sunday, 11 May 1997
1. Today I greet Lebanon. For a long time I have wanted to come among you, and for many reasons! I arrive in your country only today, to conclude the Special Assembly for Lebanon of the Synod of Bishops. Almost two years ago the Synodal Assembly conducted its work in Rome. But the solemn part of it, the publication of the Post-Synodal Document, is taking place now, here in Lebanon. These circumstances enable me to be in your land, for the first time, and to tell you of the love that the Church and the Apostolic See have for your nation, for all Lebanese: for the Catholics of the different rites — Maronite, Melkite, Armenian, Chaldean, Syrian, Latin; for the faithful belonging to the other Christian Churches; as well as for the Muslims and the Druze, who believe in the one God. From the bottom of my heart I greet you all on this very important occasion. We wish now to present to God the fruits of the Synod for Lebanon.
I thank Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, the Maronite Patriarch, for the words of welcome which he has addressed to me in the name of all of you. I also thank the Cardinals accompanying me; by their presence they emphasize the Apostolic See's affection for Lebanon.
It is a joy for me to greet the distinguished representatives of the other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, and notably the fraternal delegates to the Synod, who have desired to take part in this celebration of their Catholic brethren. I also extend to the Muslim and Druze leaders a very cordial greeting.
I respectfully express my gratitude to His Excellency the President of the Republic, to His Excellency the President of the Parliament, to His Excellency the President of the Council of Ministers, and to the State Authorities for their presence at this liturgical celebration.
2. At this exceptional assembly we wish to declare before the world the importance of Lebanon, its historical mission, accomplished down the centuries: a country of many religious faiths, Lebanon has shown that these different faiths can live together in peace, brotherhood and cooperation; it has shown that people can respect the rights of every individual to religious freedom, that all are united in love for this homeland which has matured over the centuries, preserving the spiritual heritage of their forbears, notably of the monk Saint Maron.
728 3. We are here in the region where the feet of Christ, the Saviour of the world, trod two thousand years ago. The Holy Scriptures teach us that Jesus went to preach beyond the borders of the Palestine of that time, that he visited also the territory of the ten cities of the Decapolis — Tyre and Sidon in particular — and that he worked miracles there. Men and women of Lebanon, the Son of God himself was the first to preach the Good News to your ancestors. This is an extraordinary privilege.
Listening to today's Gospel, the Gospel of the Eight Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, we cannot forget that the echo of those saving words, uttered one day in Galilee, had soon reached here. The authors of the Old Testament turned often in their writings to the mountains of Lebanon and Hermon, which they saw on the horizon. Lebanon, then, is a biblical country. Being very near the places where Jesus accomplished his mission, it was among the first countries to receive the Good News.
Certainly, it was through preaching of the Apostles — particularly through the missions of Saint Paul — that your ancestors learned the history of salvation, the events which took place from Palm Sunday till Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Christ was crucified, laid in the Tomb, but he rose again on the third day. The Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ is the very heart of salvation history, as is shown, at Mass, in the Pauline acclamation after the Consecration: "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again". The whole Church awaits his coming, from East to West. The sons and daughters of Lebanon await his new coming. We are all living in the Advent of the last days of history, and all trying to prepare for the coming of Christ, to build the Kingdom of God which he proclaimed.
4. The first reading of this liturgy, from the Acts of the Apostles, reminds us of the period after Christ's Ascension into Heaven, when the Apostles, at his command, returned to the Upper Room and remained there in prayer with the Mother of Jesus and the brothers and sisters of the primitive community which was the first nucleus of the Church (cf. 1:12-14). Each year, after the Ascension, the Church re-lives this first novena, the novena to the Holy Spirit. The Apostles, gathered in the Upper Room with the Mother of Christ pray for the accomplishment of the promise made to them by the Risen Christ: "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses" (1:8). This first Apostolic novena to the Holy Spirit is the model of what the Church does each year.
The Church prays: Veni, Creator Spiritus!
"Come, Creator Spirit, visit the souls of your people,
Fill with grace from on high the hearts which you have created . . ."
I am moved as I repeat this prayer of the Universal Church with you, dear Brothers and Sisters, sons and daughters of Lebanon. We are confident: the Holy Spirit will renew the face of the earth.
5. In the Epistle which we read today, Saint Peter writes: "Rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you" (1P 4,13-14).
People often spoke of the "martyr Lebanon", especially during the period of war which afflicted your country more than ten years ago. In this historical context, the words of Saint Peter can well be applied to all who have suffered in this land. The Apostle writes: "In so far as you share in Christ's sufferings, rejoice because the Spirit of God rests upon you, and that is the Spirit of glory" (cf. ibid.). I am mindful that we are gathered near the historic heart of Beirut, Martyrs' Square; but you have also called it Freedom Square and Unity Square. I am certain that the sufferings of the past years will not be in vain; they will strengthen your freedom and unity.
Today, the words of Jesus inspire our prayer. We pray that those who mourn will be comforted, that those who are merciful will obtain mercy (cf. Mt Mt 5,4), that having received forgiveness from the Father everyone will agree in turn to forgive offences suffered. We pray that the sons and daughters of this land will be happy to be peacemakers and to be called sons of God (cf Mt 5,9). If by suffering we share in Christ's Passion, we shall also share in his glory.
729 6. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, is a Spirit of glory. Let us pray today that this divine glory will encompass all who are familiar with suffering in this land of Lebanon. Let us pray that it will become a source of spiritual strength for all of you, for the Church and for the nation, in order that Lebanon may be able to fulfil its role in the Middle East, among the neighbouring nations and with all the nations of the world.
Spirit of God, pour your light and your love into human hearts to achieve reconciliation between individuals, within families, between neighbours, in cities and villages, and within the institutions of civil society!
Spirit of God, may your power reunite all the children of this land, that they may go forward together with courage and perseverance along the path of peace and friendliness, with mutual respect for people's dignity and freedom, for the full development of each individual and for the good of the whole country!
Spirit of God, grant that Lebanese families may nurture the gifts of the grace of marriage! Grant that the young may form their characters with confidence and may become aware of their responsibilities in the Church and in the State!
Spirit of God, grant that the Lebanese faithful may affirm the unity of each of the Patriarchal Churches, of the whole Catholic Church in Lebanon! Help them to take new steps along the path towards the full unity of those who have received the gift of faith in Christ the Saviour!
Spirit of God, "You who are called Counselor, Living Source, Fire, Charity", show forth in this people the expected fruits of the Synodal Assembly! Spirit of light and love, be for the sons and daughters of Lebanon the source of strength, of spiritual strength, especially at this historic hour, on the threshold of the Third Millennium of Christianity! Amen.
VISIT TO THE PARISH OF St ATHANASIUS IN ROME
1. Veni Creator Spiritus! “The earth is full of your Spirit, Lord” (Responsorial Psalm, refrain, Italian Lectionary).
This is what the Church exclaims today as she celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost, which closes the Easter season focused on Christ’s Death and Resurrection.
After the Resurrection, Christ appeared to the Apostles several times (cf. Acts Ac 1,3), strengthening their faith and preparing them to begin the great evangelizing mission which was definitively passed on to them at the time of his Ascension into heaven. These were the last words Jesus spoke on earth to his Apostles: “Go into all the world” (Mc 16,15). “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 lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28,19-20).
730 2. Previously Jesus had told the Eleven to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Consoler. He had said to them: “before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Ac 1,5). Following Jesus’ instructions, they returned from the Mount of Olives to the Upper Room, where they had gathered with the Master for the last time, and there, with Mary, they remained steadfast in prayer, waiting for the promised event. On the Solemnity of Pentecost there occurred the extraordinary event described in the Acts of the Apostles, which marks the birth of the Church. “Suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Ac 2,2-4). These extraordinary phenomena attracted the attention of the Israelites and the proselytes present in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost. They were amazed at that rush of wind and still more at hearing the Apostles speak in different tongues. Coming from many parts of the world, they heard these 12 Galileans each speaking in his own language: “We hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God” (Ac 2,11).
3. In the Acts of the Apostles, St Luke describes the extraordinary manifestation of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost as a communication of the very vitality of God who gives himself to men. This divine gift is also light and power: light, to proclaim the Gospel, the Truth revealed by God; power, to infuse the courage of witnessing to the faith, which the Apostles begin at that very moment.
Christ had said to them: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth (Ac 1,8). Precisely to prepare them for this great mission, Jesus had promised them the Holy Spirit on the day before his Passion, in the Upper Room, telling them: “When the Counsellor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning” (Jn 15,26-27).
The witness of the Spirit of truth must become one with that of the Apostles, thus fusing the divine and human witness into one saving reality. From this fusion flows the work of evangelization, begun on the day of Pentecost and entrusted to the Church as her task and mission down the ages.
4. Dear brothers and sisters of St Athanasius Parish, I greet you all affectionately. My cordial thoughts turn first of all to the Cardinal Vicar, to the Auxiliary Bishop of the area, to your parish priest, Fr Vincenzo Luzi, to the curate and to the priests who assist him in pastoral work. My cordial thoughts also turn to the Mayor of Rome. I joyfully greet all of you, gathered today in large numbers in your parish church, which has been recently renovated thanks to your generous and praiseworthy contributions. Through you, I would like to extend an affectionate remembrance and the assurance of my prayers to all the sick and elderly of the parish who are unable to be here with us.
Thank you for your warm welcome and your best wishes for my birthday. On this day, so significant for me, I am pleased to be in your community which has a wealth of different spiritual experiences. I thank the pastoral council, the many well-organized parish groups and all the residents of the seven districts into which the territory is divided. I know that every year, at this time, the feast of your patron saint is celebrated with various popular events designed to foster the knowledge and unity of families by creating esteem and friendship among those who work together in proclaiming the Gospel, which is an essential task of the Christian community. I express my appreciation of your efforts and I encourage you to continue making the most of these cultural and religious traditions.
5. Today’s liturgy invites us to welcome the gift of the Spirit with generous readiness, to be able to proclaim the risen Lord effectively. Proclaim him, dear brothers and sisters, on the occasions and in the ways that circumstances offer you. I know that you are already doing so in many worthwhile ways: in the catechetical groups for sacramental preparation and in the parish centre by your witness of charity and through the popular festivals and events, in the counseling centres, in homes and in the neighbourhood. Supported, too, by the impulse of the city mission, endeavour to pass on to everyone the newness of the Gospel, by seeking ways and means that respond ever better to the needs of people today.
Christ is the Truth, the Life, the Way. After ascending into heaven, he sent the Spirit of unity, who calls the Church to live in communion internally and to bring to completion the evangelizing mission in the world.
I am addressing you in particular, young people and children who live in the parish: do not be afraid of Christ, be his apostles among your peers, who in this neighbourhood, as in other parts of the city, frequently have to face very serious problems.
I am thinking of unemployment and the difficult search for meaning in life, which can lead to despair, to drugs or even to absurd and reckless acts. The city mission, which concerns your parish too, calls all believers to proclaim the hope of the Gospel in every context and in every family.
6. “The Spirit of truth ... will guide you into all the truth.... He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (Jn 16,13-14). From Jesus’ promise comes the certainty of fidelity in teaching, an essential part of the Church’s mission. In this proclamation, which takes place throughout history, the Holy Spirit is present and active with the light and power of divine Truth. The Spirit of Truth enlightens the human spirit, as St Paul says: “and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1Co 12,13). His presence creates new awareness and knowledge about revealed truth, thus making it possible to share in the knowledge of God himself. In this way, the Holy Spirit reveals the crucified and risen Christ to men, and shows the way to become ever more like him.
731 All the great works of God begin with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, both in the life of individuals and in that of the whole Ecclesial Community. Born on the day of the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Church is constantly reborn through the work of that same Spirit in many places throughout the world, in many human hearts, in various cultures and nations.
7. “Veni Creator Spiritus!”, the whole Church prays today with great fervour. Your beautiful community also prays for this. Today, together with your Bishop, it is also celebrating its own birth in the Spirit. Indeed, if the Church in her broadest, most catholic and universal dimension was born on the day of Pentecost, all the Christian communities that are in unity and communion with their pastors, with the College of Bishops and with the Successor of Peter, were already present at that very moment. The Holy Spirit continues today to carry out the great works of salvation begun on the day of Pentecost.
“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love” (Gospel acclamation).
VISIT AT THE PARISH OF St LINUS IN ROME
Sunday, 25 May 1997
1. “Glory to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: to God who is, who was, and who is to come” (Gospel acclamation).
The Church ceaselessly repeats this praise to the Most Holy Trinity. Indeed, Christian prayer begins with the sign of the Cross: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, and often ends with the Trinitarian doxology: “Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever”.
Every day constant praise of the Trinity rises to God from the community of believers; today, however, the first Sunday after Pentecost, we are celebrating this great mystery of faith in a special way.
Gloria Tibi, Trinitas, aequalis, una Deitas, et ante omnia saecula et nunc, et in perpetuum! — “All glory belongs to you, Holy Trinity, one God, before all ages, now and for ever!” (First Vespers of the Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity).
In this liturgical formula we contemplate the mystery of the ineffable unity and inscrutable Trinity of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is what we profess in the Apostles’ Creed:
732 “I believe in God ...
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord ...
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary”.
And again, in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed:
“We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets”.
This is our faith! This is the Church’s faith! This is the God of our faith: Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
2. The Liturgy of the Word invites us to deepen our Trinitarian faith. In the first reading taken from Deuteronomy, we heard Moses’ words, which remind us of how God chose a people and showed himself to them in a special way. The Second Vatican Council, stating that man, through creation, can come to know God as the first and absolute Being, notes that nevertheless God himself was first revealed to humanity through mediators and then through his own Son (cf. Dei Verbum DV 3-4). The God whom we profess today is the God of Revelation, and we believe all that he has deigned to reveal about himself.
This Sunday’s biblical readings stress that God came to speak of himself to man, revealing who he is. And he chose Israel to receive this manifestation. He said to the chosen people: “For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask ... did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live?” (cf. Dt 4,32-33). Moses meant these words to refer to the manifestation of God on Mount Sinai and to the giving of the Ten Commandments, as well as to his personal experience on Mount Horeb. At that time God had spoken to him from the burning bush, entrusting him with the mission of freeing Israel from slavery in Egypt, and had revealed to him his own name: “Yahweh” — “I am who am!” (cf. Ex Ex 3,1-14).
3. These biblical texts guide us in deepening our knowledge of the Trinitarian mystery, which leads from Moses to Christ. The Evangelist Matthew mentions that before ascending into heaven, the Risen One told his disciples: “All authority in heaven and on 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” (Mt 28,18-19). The Trinitarian aspect of the mystery made known to Moses is fully revealed in Christ. Through him, in fact, we discover the unity of the divinity and the trinity of Persons. A mystery of the living God, a mystery of the life of God! Jesus is the Prophet of this mystery. He offered himself in sacrifice on the altar of this immense mystery of love.
4. Dear brothers and sisters of St Linus Parish! Today I am pleased to celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity with you. I cordially greet the Cardinal Vicar, the Auxiliary Bishop of this area, your parish priest, Mons. Sergio Casalini, and the priests who work with him in the great variety of pastoral activities.
I address a special thought to the many religious communities who live and work in this area, thanking them in particular for their valued service in the kindergartens and in the elementary and middle schools, and in the care of newborn babies at Christ the King Hospital and the Pia Opera Ambrosini. I greet the “Seguimi” group and the guests and directors of Casa Betania, as well as the members of the various parish groups and all of you, dear faithful of this parish, which this year is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its pastoral life. May the Lord bless everyone!
733 Your first parish priest, Mons. Marcello Rosatella — to whom I express my gratitude — and many of you certainly have moving memories of the beginnings of this community, when the liturgical celebrations were held in a wooden chapel. Once a country district, this neighbourhood has steadily undergone a rapid urbanization, with many inhabitants from different regions of Italy settling here.
Unfortunately, it is experiencing the many problems that burden the inhabitants of a great metropolis, but today I would like to say again to you: Do not be afraid! Commit yourselves instead with great generosity, in communion with the whole diocesan community, to preparing the city for the Jubilee of the Year 2000. Christ brought divine life to be kindled like fire
5. I know that by the Holy Year, thanks to the good graces of the Vicariate of Rome and the generous contribution of the members of the International Rotary Club, your parochial community will be able to worship in a new parish church. I express my appreciation and gratitude for this important gift to everyone taking part in the project. The construction of the new church, a sign of God’s presence among your homes, is an incentive to you to become more and more a living Church, made up of baptized people who are aware of their dignity and vocation, capable of witnessing consistently and courageously to Jesus Christ and his demanding Gospel message.
6. “You have received the Spirit of sonship through whom we cry ‘Abba! Father!’” (Rm 8,15).
With these words, St Paul emphasizes the apostolic Church as the herald of the Most Holy Trinity. God reveals himself as the One who gives life through Christ, the one Mediator. We believe in the Son of God, who brought divine life like fire to be kindled on earth.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, who is the Lord and giver of life. Through the Holy Spirit, believers become sons in the Son, as St John writes in the Prologue of his Gospel (cf. Jn Jn 1,13). Begotten by the Spirit, men address God with Christ’s own words, calling him: “Abba, Father!”.
Through Baptism we are inserted into Trinitarian communion. Every Christian is baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; he is immersed in the life of God. What a great gift and a great mystery!
Quite rightly then the Church with deep gratitude sings her faith in the Trinity in the Te Deum:
“Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth”.
“The heavens and the earth
are filled with
734 your majesty and glory.
The glorious band of Apostles,
the white-robed army who shed their
blood for Christ, all sing your praise.
And to the ends of the earth
your holy Church proclaims her faith
in you: your true and only Son,
who is to be adored, the Holy Spirit
sent to be our Advocate”.
S. John Paul II Homil. 725