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Jesus Christ comes in the power of the Holy Spirit

Catechesis by Pope John Paul II on Jesus Christ
General Audience, Wednesday 5 August 1987 - in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish  

"1. "I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father" (Jn 16:28). Jesus Christ is aware of his origin from the Father; he is the Son because he comes from the Father. This mission (missio) which is based on the eternal origin of Christ the Son from the Father, is rooted in him. Therefore in this mission the Father reveals the Son and bears witness to Christ as his Son, while the Son reveals the Father. No one "knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him" (Mt 11:27). The Son, who came from the Father, expresses and confirms his own sonship inasmuch as he reveals the Father before the world. He does so not only by the words of the Gospel, but also through his life, by the fact that he lives completely for the Father, and this to the sacrifice of his life on the cross.

2. This saving mission of the Son of God as man was carried out in the power of the Holy Spirit. Numerous passages of the Gospels and the whole of the New Testament bear witness to this. In the Old Testament the truth about the close relationship between the Son's mission and the coming of the Holy Spirit (which is also his "mission") was hidden, even if in a certain way already announced. The words of Isaiah have a particular intimation of it. Jesus referred to them at the beginning of his messianic activity at Nazareth. "The spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, and to announce a year of favor from the Lord" (Lk 4:17-19; cf. Is 61:1-2).

These words refer to the Messiah, a word which means "consecrated with oil" (anointed), that is to say, he who comes in the power of the Spirit of the Lord. Jesus stated before his fellow townspeople that these words refer to himself: "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (cf. Lk 4:21).

3. This truth about the Messiah who comes in the power of the Holy Spirit was confirmed during Jesus' baptism in the Jordan at the beginning of his messianic activity. Particularly striking is the text of John which records the words of the Baptist: "I saw the Spirit descend like a dove from the sky, and it came to rest on him. But I did not recognize him. The one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'When you see the Spirit descend and rest on someone, it is he who is to baptize with the Holy Spirit.' Now I have seen for myself and have testified, 'This is God's chosen One'" (Jn 1:32-34).

Jesus, then, is the Son of God, he who "went forth from the Father and came into the world" (cf. Jn 16:28) to bring the Holy Spirit. He came "to baptize with the Holy Spirit" (cf. Mk 1:8), that is, to institute the new reality of being reborn from God on the part of the children of Adam burdened with sin. The coming of the Son of God into the world, his human conception and virginal birth were the work of the Holy Spirit. The Son of God was made man and was born of the Virgin Mary through the work of the Holy Spirit, and in his power.

4. John's testimony to Jesus of Nazareth as Son of God is closely linked to the passage of Luke's Gospel where we read that at the annunciation the angel told Mary that she would "conceive and bear a son who shall be called Son of the Most High" (cf. Lk 1:31-32). She asked, "How can this be, since I have no husband?" She received the answer: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, hence, the holy offspring to be born will be called Son of God" (Lk 1:34-35).

If therefore the going forth from the Father and coming into the world (cf. Jn 16:28) of the Son of God as man (the Son of Man), was done in the power of the Holy Spirit, this manifests the mystery of God's trinitarian life. This vivifying power of the Holy Spirit was confirmed from the very beginning of Jesus' messianic activity, as is clear from the Gospel texts (Mk 1:10; Mt 3:16; Lk 3:22; Jn 1:32-34).

5. Already in the infancy narrative, when it is said of Jesus that "the grace of God was upon him" (Lk 2:40), the sanctifying presence of the Holy Spirit is indirectly shown. However, it is from the moment of the baptism in the Jordan that the Gospels speak more explicitly of Christ's activity in the power of the Spirit. "The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness," according to Mark (1:12). In the desert, after a forty days' fast, the Spirit of God permitted Jesus to be tempted by the devil, as a result of which he gained his first messianic victory (cf. Lk 4:1-14). Also during his public life, Jesus showed the same power of the Holy Spirit in dealing with those possessed by the devil. Jesus himself emphasized it with the words, "If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you" (Mt 12:28). The conclusion of the whole messianic struggle against the forces of evil was the paschal event—the death on the cross and the resurrection of him who came from the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.

6. Likewise, after the ascension, Jesus remained for his disciples he whom "God anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power" (Acts 10:38). They recalled that thanks to this power, the people, hearkening to Jesus' teaching, praised God and said, "A great prophet has arisen among us and God has visited his people" (Lk 7:16). "No man ever spoke like this man" (Jn 7:46). They testified that by virtue of this power, Jesus "performed mighty works and wonders and signs" (Acts 2:22), and so "all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed them all" (Lk 6:19). In all that Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Man, did and taught, the words of the prophet Isaiah (cf. 42:1) about the Messiah were fulfilled: "Behold my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom I am well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him" (Mt 12:18).

7. This power of the Holy Spirit is manifested to the very depths in Christ's redemptive sacrifice and in his resurrection. Truly Jesus is the Son of God whom the Father anointed and sent into the world (cf. Jn 10:36). In obedience to the will of the Father, he offered himself to God through the Spirit as a spotless victim, and this victim purifies our conscience from dead works to serve the living God (cf. Heb 9:14). The same Holy Spirit—as the Apostle Paul testifies—"has raised Jesus from the dead" (Rom 8:11). Through this "rising from the dead" Jesus Christ received the fullness of messianic power, and was definitively revealed by the Holy Spirit as Son of God with power—"designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead" (Rom 1:4).

8. Therefore Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world by the work of the Holy Spirit, and as Son of Man he fulfilled completely his messianic mission in the power of the Holy Spirit. But if Jesus Christ acted through this power during the whole of his saving activity and finally in the passion and resurrection, then it is the Holy Spirit himself who reveals that Jesus is the Son of God. Thus today, thanks to the Holy Spirit, the divinity of the Son, Jesus of Nazareth, shines before the world. With this in mind St. Paul writes: "No one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except in the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 12:3).

After the Catechesis, Pope John Paul II greeted the pilgrims in various languages

Ai fedeli di lingua francese

Je remercie les pèlerins de langue française de leur visite. Je forme les meilleurs vœux pour eux, pour leur famille, leur souhaitant de bien profiter de leurs vacances et d’ętre attentifs à l’Esprit Saint présent aussi en eux. De tout cœur, je vous donne ma Bénédiction Apostolique.

Ai fedeli di lingua inglese

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I offer a cordial welcome to the pilgrims and visitors present l at this audience. In a special way, my greeting goes to the group of Chinese pilgrims from Taiwan, led by the Bishop of Kiayi. I am very pleased to learn of your praiseworthy efforts to promote the sanctity of Christian marriage. May the Lord sustain you in joy and courage as you proclaim the Good News of salvation to the people of your` country. I am also happy to greet a group of "Cursillistas" from Taiwan as well as the children of the dancing troupe called "The Little Flowers of Taiwan".

I extend a warm welcome too to a group of Marian Year pilgrims from Western Australia.

And upon all the English-speaking people I invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.

Ad alcuni pellegrini giapponesi

Sia lodato Gesù Cristo!

Dilettissimi pellegrini, provenienti dalla diocesi di Okinawa. Ho sentito dire che voi fate un pellegrinaggio in Terra Santa, in coincidenza con l’anno Mariano che la Chiesa sta celebrando.

Voi camminerete sulle tracce della Madre di Gesù e pregherete affinché possiate approfondire la presenza di Maria nella vostra vita quotidiana.

Augurando che la Madonna cammini insieme a Voi e sia, il vostro, un pellegrinaggio veramente fruttuoso, Vi imparto di cuore la mia Benedizione Apostolica.

Sia lodato Gesù Cristo!

Ai pellegrini di lingua tedesca

Ich freue mich über eure Teilnahme an dieser Audienz und 1 grüße euch alle und jeden einzelnen sehr herzlich. Zugleich wünsche ich euch schöne und erholsame Ferien und erbitte euch dazu von Herzen Gottes Schutz und Beistand mit meinem besonderen Apostolischen Segen.

Ai numerosi pellegrini spagnoli

Deseo ahora dirigir mi más cordial saludo a todos los peregrinos y visitantes de lengua espańola aquí presentes. En particular, saludo a los miembros del Instituto “Cruzada Evangélica” a quienes aliento a un renovado empeńo en su vocación misionera, devoción eucarística y devoción a la Santísima Virgen. A todas las personas, familias y grupos procedentes de Espańa y de los diversos países de América Latina, imparto con afecto la Bendición Apostólica.

Ai fedeli di lingua portoghese

Ao saudar cordialmente os ouvintes de língua portuguesa, t desejo a todos que a vinda a Roma lhes fortaleça a fé e lhes dę paz e alegria em Cristo. Em particular, dou as boas-vindas à peregrinação da paróquia de Nossa Senhora de Fátima, de Viana do Castelo, em Portugal: neste Ano Mariano, ouvi e anunciai, sobretudo com a vida, a mensagem da vossa Padroeira e sede felizes! Igualmente ao simpático grupo folclórico de “As Lavradeiras”, de Arcozelo, desejo felicidades; e que, semeando a alegria, com as suas exibições glorifiquem a Deus e amem o próximo! Com a minha Bęnção Apostólica.

Ai pellegrini provenienti dalla Polonia

Serdecznie pozdrawiam wszystkich obecnych tutaj pielgrzymów: z parafii św. Mikołaja w Lublińcu, diecezja katowicka; oazę rodzin z parafii Nawiedzenia Matki Bożej w Lesku, diecezja przemyska; również  z diecezji przemyskiej, z parafii pod wezwaniem Królowej Polski w Nowej Sarzynie; z Poznania, z parafii pod we zwaniem Matki Bożej Zwycięskiej; z Wrocławia - siostry Elżbietanki; Zespół Pieśni i Tańca Akademii Medycznej z Lublina; górników z kopalni Miechowice, Bytom; nauczycieli z Pszczelina koło Warszawy, Logos-Tour; członków Towarzystwa Wyprawy Turystycznej Polska-Hiszpania z Bielska-Białej; również grupę nauczycieli Logos-Tour z Zielonej Góry, Poznania, Chorzowa i Wrocławia; żeglarzy ze Śląska, z jachtu SY “Janina”; prócz tego Polaków z Chicago i z Jasła; uczestników grup turystycznych PKS, PTTK, Orbisu, Turysty z Warszawy oraz z całej Polski . . . Wszystkim obecnym tutaj ofiaruję pozdrowienie i błogosławieństwo zarówno dla was, jak i dla waszych bliskich, czy to w Ojczyźnie, czy to na emigracji.

Ai giovani

Rivolgo ora il mio saluto ai numerosi giovani qui presenti. Cari giovani, il periodo estivo vi offre la possibilità di un arricchimento culturale, umano e spirituale. Sappiate trarre tesoro dalla conoscenza di tante bellezze artistiche e naturali che avete occasione di ammirare; sappiate comunicare in modo veramente umano e fraterno con le persone che incontrate, ed ogni giorno rientrate in voi stessi con qualche momento di riflessione e di preghiera.

Vi benedico di cuore.

Agli ammalati

A voi cari ammalati, che sempre ricordo nelle mie preghiere, il mio caro saluto! In questo periodo il caldo rende più accentuata la vostra sofferenza, nonostante le premure dei vostri cari e di quanti vi assistono con tanto amore.

Ricordatevi sempre che Dio vi ama di un amore particolare! Invocate con viva fede il suo aiuto affinché, partecipi delle sofferenze di Gesù, che attraverso la Croce ha redento l’umanità, possiate trarre dalle vostre sofferenze il maggior beneficio possibile per voi, per le vostre famiglie e per tutta la Chiesa.

Vi sia di conforto la mia Benedizione.

Agli sposi novelli

Cari sposi novelli, la chiesa guarda a voi con particolare attenzione e fiducia. Vi siete scelti liberamente e responsabilmente, siete coppie impegnate a realizzare la grande missione di amore e di vita che corrisponde al piano che Dio ha su ciascuna coppia e al progetto maturato nel fidanzamento. Voi, sposi cristiani, siete chiamati a testimoniare in copia l’amore di Dio e ad essere suoi collaboratori nel trasmettere la vita ai figli, per educarli agli autentici valori umani e cristiani.

Pregate il Signore affinché illumini le vostre menti, percorrete con coraggio ed entusiasmo la strada dell’amore e della vita, affidandovi alla protezione della Vergine Santa.

Vi accompagni la mia Benedizione.

Annuncio della visita a Santa Maria Maggiore

Oggi la Chiesa celebra la memoria liturgica della “dedicazione della Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore”, la cui origine è collegata a una pia tradizione: la notte tra il 4 e 5 agosto dell’anno 352, al patrizio romano Giovanni apparve la Madonna, ordinandogli di erigere una chiesa nel luogo in cui, il giorno seguente, sarebbe caduta una abbondante nevicata; analogo sogno ebbe contemporaneamente il Papa Liberio. L’indomani sul colle Esquilino cadde abbondante la neve; il Papa vi segnò il tracciato della chiesa e fu costruita a spese del patrizio Giovanni. In base a questa tradizione, la Basilica è denominata anche “Santa Maria della Neve”, come pure “Basilica Liberiana”, dal nome del mio predecessore che volle fosse costruita.

Ottanta anni dopo, nel 432, Papa Sisto III la fece riedificare volendo in tal modo esaltare il dogma della “Maternità divina” di Maria santissima, che nell’anno precedente era stato solennemente proclamato nel Concilio Ecumenico di Efeso.

È in tale meravigliosa e veneranda Basilica Romana, che alla vigilia dell’inizio dell’Anno mariano abbiamo recitato il rosario, collegandoci con alcuni dei più importanti Santuari mariani del mondo! Proprio in quel gioioso ricordo, mi recherò in pellegrinaggio a detta Basilica, al termine dell’udienza generale, e pregherò per la buona riuscita dell’Anno Mariano.


Domani e dopodomani avrà luogo a Città del Guatemala una riunione dei Presidenti delle Repubbliche Centroamericane.

Invito tutti a pregare perché questa nuova iniziativa di pace per quella Regione tanto travagliata possa raggiungere risultati concreti, che contribuiscano al superamento degli antagonismi che hanno già portato tanti amari frutti di violenza e di morte.

La Santa Sede vede con simpatia gli sforzi che si stanno compiendo perché tra quelle nobili Nazioni, che un’unica fede cristiana affratella e sono unite da stretti vincoli storici e culturali, possano svolgersi negoziati fruttuosi al fine di pervenire ad una pace stabile e duratura, fondata sulle esigenze della giustizia e del rispetto dei diritti umani per tutte le persone e per tutti i popoli interessati.

Affido alla materna intercessione di Maria Santissima ansie ed aspettative di quelle care popolazioni, tanto provate: Lei, la Regina della pace, ottenga da Gesù i doni a cui essi anelano dal profondo del cuore.

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