3. When Christ Began to Do and to Teach

thumbnail18“Before his own townspeople,”  Pope John Paul II continues, “in Nazareth, Christ refers to the words of the prophet Isaiah:  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.  These phrases…are followed by the actions and words known through the Gospel.  By these actions and words Christ makes the Father present among men.  It is very significant that the people in question are especially the poor, those without means of subsistence, those deprived of their freedom, the blind who cannot see the beauty of creation, those living with broken hearts, or suffering from social injustice, and, finally, sinners.  It is especially for these last that the Messiah becomes a particularly clear sign of God who is love, a sign of the Father.” 

With these words, the Pope reminds us that sin is a real and particularly oppressive form of poverty.  It is sin which has the power to destroy body and soul together; hence, the Cross and Resurrection would be the final, necessary action of the Father in the world, through Christ the Son.  As a result of this, and only this, the Holy Spirit would become the power of love and healing, the very power of mercy in the world for thousands of years to come, through His Church.

St. Faustina, whom John Paul II appreciated deeply, gives us a further insight into the above reality concerning the Father’s desire for everyday Christians to be vehicles of His mercy:  “Be watchful that you lose no opportunity that my providence offers you for sanctification. If you do not succeed in taking advantage of an opportunity, do not lose your peace….with great trust, immerse yourself completely in my mercy….Outwardly, your sacrifice must look like this:  silent, hidden, permeated with love, imbued with prayer….There are souls living in the world who love me dearly.  I dwell in their hearts with delight.  But they are few….They are a defense for the world before the justice of the heavenly Father and a means of obtaining mercy for the world.  The love and sacrifice of these souls sustain the world in existence.” (Quoted in Magnificat, 10-5-15)

The Pope continues, “Especially through his lifestyle and through his actions, Jesus revealed that love is present in the world in which we live–effective love, a love that addresses itself to man [this document uses the male pronoun to speak of humanity as a whole] and embraces everything that makes up his humanity.  This love makes itself particularly noticed in contact with suffering, injustice, and poverty–in contact with the whole historical ‘human condition’…..Making the Father present as love and mercy is, in Christ’s own consciousness, the fundamental touchstone of his mission as the Messiah…”

Blessings, JC