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Introduction to the Jubilee 2000
Genesis 1, 1-4a

Catechesis by Pope St John Paul II on the History of Salvation (1 of 119)
General Audience, Wednesday 19 November 1997 - also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. The Year 2000 is now close at hand. I therefore consider it opportune to focus the Wednesday catecheses on themes which will more directly help us understand the meaning of the Jubilee, in order to live it in depth.

In the Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adveniente, I asked all the Church’s members "to open their hearts to the promptings of the Spirit", to prepare to "celebrate the Jubilee with renewed faith and generous participation" (n 59). This exhortation becomes more and more urgent with the approach of that historic date. In fact the event acts as a watershed between the past two millenniums and the new phase dawning for the future of the Church and of humanity.

We must prepare for it in the light of faith. Indeed, for believers the passage from the second to the third millennium is not merely a stage in the relentless march of time, but a significant occasion to become more aware of God's plan unfolding in the history of humanity.

2. The new cycle of catecheses wants to serve/do precisely this. For a long time we have been performing/developing/carrying out a systematic programme of reflections on the Creed. Our last theme was that of Mary in the mystery of Christ and the Church. Before that we had reflected on Revelation, the Trinity, Christ and his saving work, the Holy Spirit and the Church.

At this point, the profession of faith would invite us to consider the resurrection of the flesh and eternal life, which concern the future of man and of history. But precisely this escatological theme meets/coincides naturally with that proposed by Tertio millennio adveniente, which outlines a pathway of preparation to the Jubilee in a trinitarian key, planning in the current year to focus especially on Jesus Christ, then moving on to the year of the Holy Spirit and then to that of the Father.

In the light of the Trinity the "ultimate/last realities/things" also make sense/acquire meaning and it is possible to grasp more deeply the journey of man and history towards the definitive/ultimate goal: the return of the world to God the Father, to whom Christ, Son of God and Lord of history, leads [us] through the life-giving gift of the Holy Spirit.

3. This broad horizon of history in movement/motion suggests several basic questions: what is time? What is its origin? What is its goal?

Looking at the birth of Christ, in fact, the/our attention goes to the two thousand years of history which separate us from this/that event. But the/our gaze also runs/turns to the millennia that preceded it, and spontaneously we look back to the origins of man and the world. Contemporary science is committed to formulating hypotheses about the beginnings and development of the universe. However what can be learned/grasped with scientific instruments and criteria is not everything, and both faith and reason refer, beyond verifiable and measurable data, to the perspective of the mystery. It is the perspective pointed out by/in the first affirmation of the Bible: "In the beginning God created the heaven(s) and the earth" (Gn 1, 1).

Everything was created by God. Therefore before creation
nothing existed except God. It is (about)/He is a transcendent God, who has created everything with his own omnipotence, and without being constrained by any necessity, with an absolutely free and gratuitous act, dictated only by love. He is God the Trinity, who will reveal himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

4. By/In creating the universe, God created time. From Him comes the beginning of time, as well as all its subsequent development. The Bible underlines that living beings depend in/at every instant/moment on divine action: "When you hide your face they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your Spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth" (Ps 104, 29-30).

Time is thus God's gift. Continuously created by God, it is in his hands. He guides its development according to his plans. Every day is for us a gift of divine love. From this point of view, we also welcome the date of the Great Jubilee as a gift of love.

5. God is Lord of time not only as creator of the world, but also as author of the new creation in Christ. He intervened to heal and renew the human condition, deeply wounded by sin. He has long prepared his people for the splendour of the new creation, especially through the word of the prophets: "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy" (Is 65, 17-18).

The promise took place/came true/was fulfilled two thousand years ago with the birth of Christ. In this light, the jubilee event constitutes an invitation to celebrate the Christian era as a period of renewal for humanity and the universe. Despite the difficulties and sufferings, those that have/the years passed have been two thousand years of grace.

The years to come are also in God’s hands. The future of man is above all God's future, in the sense that He alone knows it, prepares it and realizes it/brings it about. Certainly, He calls for and urges/invites human co-operation, but He does not cease by this to be the transcendent director of history.

With this certainty we are preparing for the Jubilee. Only God knows how the future will be. We know, however, that in any event it will be a future of grace, it will be the fulfilment of a divine plan of love for all humanity and for each one of us. That is why, in looking/as we look to the future, we are full of trust and do not let ourselves be taken/overcome by fear. The pathway towards the Jubilee is a great pathway of hope."


"J'accueille avec plaisir les pèlerins de langue française, notamment le groupe de Cap-de-la-Madeleine au Québec. À chacun d'entre vous, mes chers amis, je donne de grand cœur ma Bénédiction apostolique !

Today I extend a special welcome to the Staff and Students of the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland, who are in Rome as part of their Graduate School Programme. Dear Friends, during the last few months you have had an opportunity to deepen your ecumenical commitment and responsibility. It is my hope that your visit will further encourage you to be servants of the unity for which Christ prayed on the night before he died (cf. Jn 17.21). God bless you all! I am also pleased to greet the participants in the Course organized by the NATO Defense College: may your dedicated professional efforts always be aimed at building a world of true and lasting peace. Upon all the English speaking visitors and pilgrims I gladly invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Einen herzlichen Willkommensgruß richte ich an alle deutschsprachigen Pilger und Besucher, die zu dieser Audienz gekommen sind. Besonders begrüße ich die Gruppe von Matrosen des Segelschulschiffes "Gorch Fock", das in diesen Tagen bei Civitavecchia vor Anker liegt. Euch allen und Euren Angehörigen zuhause sowie den über Radio Vatikan und das Fernsehen mit uns verbundenen Gläubigen erteile ich von Herzen den Apostolischen Segen.

Saludo ahora cordialmente a los fieles de lengua española. De forma particular, a los sacerdotes misioneros latinoamericanos, a las religiosas de María Inmaculada y al grupo de la "Escuela Superior de Gendarmería Nacional Argentina", así como a los demás peregrinos de España, México, Chile y Estados Unidos. Invocando a María, estrella que guía nuestros pasos hacia el Tercer milenio, os imparto con afecto la Bendición Apostólica.

Amados peregrinos de língua portuguesa, sede benvindos! Os vossos corações vivam e irradiem sempre uma grande confiança nos desígnios de salvação e felicidade que o Pai do Céu nutre por cada um de vós. Não vos teria criado, se não vos quisesse bem! Como penhor de paz e esperança, dou-vos a Bênção Apostólica.

Ik wil nu graag de Belgische en Nederlandse pelgrims begroeten. Dierbare broeders en zusters, ik wens u toe dat uw bedevaart naar de graven van de Apostelen Uw liefde en inzet voor de Kerk mag verdiepen. Van harte verleen ik u de Apostolische Zegen. Geloofd zij Jezus Christus !

* * *

1. Domani ricorre il cinquantesimo anniversario della promulgazione dell'Enciclica Mediatori Dei del mio venerato Predecessore, il Papa Pio XII. L'importanza di questo intervento magisteriale emerge chiaramente dal fatto che la riforma liturgica scaturita dal Concilio Ecumenico Vaticano II affonda le sue radici in una vena che ha avuto una lunga storia e che ha trovato proprio in questa Enciclica la sua "magna charta".

A cinquant'anni di distanza sono ancora quanto mai attuali le direttive del Papa Pio XII, il quale ha illuminato il nodo centrale della questione dell'evolversi e del progresso della liturgia e di quella della partecipazione dei fedeli alla liturgia. Rendiamo grazie al Signore per questo documento, che resta anche per i nostri tempi un importante punto di riferimento nel cammino del rinnovamento della liturgia, cuore della Chiesa.

2. Rivolgo ora un cordiale saluto ai pellegrini italiani, in particolare al caro Monsignor Augusto Lauro, Vescovo di San Marco Argentano - Scalea, presente con un gruppo di sacerdoti della Diocesi per ricordare il suo cinquantesimo anniversario di Ordinazione presbiterale.

Saluto, poi, la Superiora Generale e le Suore Cappuccine del Sacro Cuore, venute per festeggiare il primo Centenario di fondazione dell'Istituto; i Missionari di diverse Congregazioni, che partecipano al corso promosso dalla Pontificia Università Salesiana ed i partecipanti all'Incontro Internazionale degli "Amici della Terra Santa", particolarmente impegnati nel lavoro preparatorio al Grande Giubileo dell'Anno Duemila. Carissimi, nell'esprimere la mia gratitudine per la visita, auspico di cuore che tali iniziative contribuiscano ad imprimere rinnovato fervore spirituale a tutta la Chiesa.

Desidero, altresì, salutare gli amministratori ed i soci della Banca di Credito Cooperativo "Giuseppe Toniolo", di Genzano di Roma, accompagnati dal caro Vescovo di Albano. Li esorto a proseguire nel loro lavoro, fedeli sempre allo spirito delle origini, al servizio del bene comune. Il mio pensiero va anche a gli Allievi Ufficiali della Scuola Veterinari di Grosseto, ai giovani Sottotenenti dell'Accademia Aeronautica Militare di Pozzuoli, come pure ai membri del Coro "Associazione Nazionale Alpini" della città di Darfo. Di cuore ringrazio tutti e ciascuno per la loro partecipazione.

Mi è gradito, infine, come di consueto, salutare i giovani, gli ammalati e gli sposi novelli, augurando a ciascuno ogni bene.

A tutti la mia Benedizione."