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The glory of the Trinity in the resurrection

Catechesis by Pope John Paul II on the History of Salvation
General Audience, Wednesday 10 May 2000 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. The final destination of Christ's journey through life is not the darkness of the tomb, but the shining heaven of the Resurrection. Christian faith is based on this mystery (cf. 1 Cor 15: 1-20), as the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us:  "The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the paschal mystery along with the cross" (CCC, n. 638).

A 16th-century Spanish mystical writer said:  "In God new seas are discovered the more one sails" (Friar Luis de León). We now intend to navigate the immensity of this mystery, towards the light of the Trinitarian presence in the Easter events. This presence extends throughout the 50 days after Easter.

2. Unlike the apocryphal writings, the canonical Gospels do not present the Resurrection event in itself, but rather the new and different presence of the risen Christ among his disciples. It is precisely this newness that characterizes the first scene on which we would like to reflect. It is the apparition which takes place in a Jerusalem still bathed in the pale light of dawn:  a woman, Mary Magdalen, and a man meet in a cemetery. At first the woman does not recognize the man who has approached her:  yet he is that Jesus of Nazareth whom she had listened to and who had changed her life. To recognize him she needs another source of knowledge than reason and the senses. It is the way of faith which is opened to her when she hears herself called by name (cf. Jn 20: 11-18).

Let us focus our attention on that scene, on the words of the Risen One. He says:  "I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God" (Jn 20: 17), thus revealing the heavenly Father, with whom Christ, in saying "my Father", emphasizes his special, unique bond, different from that between the Father and the disciples:  "your Father". In Matthew's Gospel alone Jesus calls God "my Father" 17 times. The fourth Evangelist will use two different Greek words, one - hyios - to indicate Christ's full and perfect divine sonship, the other - tekna - to refer to our being children of God in a real but derivative way.

3. The second scene takes us from Jerusalem to a mountain in northern Galilee. There another Christophany takes places in which the Risen One reveals himself to the Apostles (cf. Mt 28: 16-20). It is a solemn event of revelation, recognition and mission. In the fullness of his saving powers, he gives the Church the mandate to preach the Gospel, to baptize and to teach the nations to live according to his commandments. It is the Trinity that emerges in those essential words, which are also repeated in the formula of Christian Baptism, as it will be administered by the Church:  "Baptize them [all nations] in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Mt 28: 19).

An ancient Christian writer, Theodore of Mopsuestia (fourth to fifth century), comments:  "The words, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, show who it is who gives us the blessings of Baptism:  new birth, renewal, immortality, incorruptibility, impassibility, immutability, deliverance from death, slavery and all evil, enjoyment of freedom and participation in future and sublime benefits. This is why we are baptized! The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are invoked so that you can know the source of the blessings of Baptism" (Homily II On Baptism, 17).

4. And so we come to the third scene we would like to recall. It takes us back in time to when Jesus still walked the roads of the Holy Land, speaking and acting. During the Jewish autumn feast of Booths, he proclaims:  "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, "Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water'" (Jn 7: 37-38). The Evangelist John interprets these words precisely in the light of the glorious Easter and the gift of the Holy Spirit:  "This he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (Jn 7: 39).

The glorification of Easter will come, and with it the gift of the Spirit on Pentecost, which Jesus will anticipate for his Apostles on the very evening of the day of the Resurrection. Appearing in the Upper Room, he will breathe on them and say:  "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20: 22).

5. Thus the Father and the Spirit are united with the Son at the supreme moment of the Redemption. This is what Paul affirms in a particularly luminous passage in the Letter to the Romans, where he recalls the Trinity precisely in connection with the Resurrection of Christ and of us all:  "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ ... from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you" (Rom 8: 11).

The condition for this promise to be fulfilled is revealed by the Apostle in the same Letter:  "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Rom 10: 9). The Trinitarian aspect of the profession of faith corresponds with the Trinitarian nature of the Easter event. In fact, "no one can say "Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 12: 3), and those who say it, confess it "to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2: 11).

Let us then accept the paschal faith and the joy that flows from it, making our own an Easter Vigil hymn of the Eastern Church:  "All things are illumined by your Resurrection, O Lord, and paradise is opened again. All creation blesses you and offers you a hymn each day. I glorify the power of the Father and of the Son; I praise the authority of the Holy Spirit, Godhead undivided, uncreated, consubstantial Trinity who reigns for ever and ever" (Easter Canon of St John Damascene, Holy Saturday, third tone)."

After the Catechesis, Papa Giovanni Paolo II greeted the pilgrims in various languages:

I warmly welcome the members of the Uganda National Pilgrimage, as well as the many young people and the diocesan and parish groups present at today’s audience. As you walk in the footsteps of the martyrs, I pray that you will be strengthened in faith and commitment to Gospel witness. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Uganda, the Philippines, Canada and the United States, I invoke the joy and peace of the Risen Saviour.

Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française présents à cette audience, en particulier le groupe «Aide à l’Église en détresse», les pèlerins des diocèses d’Angoulême, d’Autun et de Belley-Ars, ainsi que les jeunes. Je leur souhaite de vivre ce temps de Pâques dans la joie d’une foi vivante et rayonnante. De grand cœur, je leur accorde à tous la Bénédiction Apostolique.

In großer Osterfreude grüße ich Euch, Ihr Pilger und Besucher aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache. Insbesondere heiße ich die Teilnehmer an der Wallfahrt der Erzdiözese Bamberg mit ihrem Erzbischof Karl Braun willkommen. Mein Gruß gilt auch allen, die anläßlich der Vereidigung der Schweizergarde nach Rom gepilgert sind, sowie den neugeweihten Diakonen des Collegium Germanicum-Hungaricum und deren Angehörigen. Ich freue mich über die Anwesenheit der Küster aus dem Bistum Hildesheim, die oft im Stillen einen wichtigen Dienst in ihren Pfarreien leisten. Gern erteile ich Euch und allen, die mit uns über Radio Vatikan oder das Fernsehen verbunden sind, den Apostolischen Segen.

A minha cordial saudação a todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, sobre quem imploro a luz esplendorosa de Cristo, que, pela sua morte e ressurreição, abriu de novo o Paraíso. Sois peregrinos do Céu; dirigi para lá os vossos passos. A Virgem Mãe vos guie e proteja!

Doy mi cordial bienvenida a todos los peregrinos de lengua española, especialmente a los sacerdotes que participan en un curso de actualización en el Colegio Español en Roma, a los representantes de la Cámara de Comercio, Industria y Navegación de Málaga y al grupo chileno "Calenda Maia", así como a los otros grupos procedentes de España, Colombia, Chile, Guatemala, Argentina y otros países de Latinoamérica. En esta Pascua del Año Jubilar, os invito a descubrir la riqueza de Dios, Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo, en cuyo nombre os bendigo de corazón. Muchas gracias.

Saluto ai pellegrini della Repubblica Ceca:

Srdecne vítám poutníky z Prahy, a z voršilských škol v Kutné Hore a Olomouci.

Milovaní, prosím všemohoucího Boha, aby vás naplnil pravou radostí ze Zmrtvýchvstání a aby vás vzdy provázel svými hojnými dary.

K tomu vám ze srdce zehnám!

Chvála Kristu!

Versione italiana del testo in lingua ceca:

Un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di Praga, e delle Scuole Orsoline di Kutná Hora e Olomouc!

Carissimi, prego Dio onnipotente perché infonda in voi la vera gioia della Risurrezione e vi accompagni sempre con i suoi numerosi doni.

Con questi voti vi benedico di cuore!

Sia lodato Gesù Cristo!

Saluto ai pellegrini lituani:

Ðirdingai sveikinu brolius ir seses lietuvius, ypatingai tikinciuosius i? Klaipëdos.

Linkiu jums, kad pavesdami save Marijos, Dievo Motinos globai, kasdien rastumëte Prisikëlusiame Kristuje Ðviesr savo tikëjimo kelyje. Visus jus telydi mano palaiminimas.

Garbë Jëzui Kristui!

Versione italiana del testo in lingua lituana:

Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai fratelli e alle sorelle lituani, in particolare da Klaipeda.

Vi auguro che, affidandovi a Maria, Madre della divina Grazia, possiate trovare ogni giorno in Cristo Risorto la Luce per il vostro cammino di fede. Vi accompagni tutti la mia benedizione.

Sia lodato Gesu Cristo!

Saluto ai pellegrini slovacchi:

Bratsky pozdravujem slovenských pútnikov z Bratislavy a Ziliny, z Trnavy, Nitry a Banskej Bystrice, z Lipoviec, Šindliara a Cadce, z Radatíc, Michaloviec a Vranova, z Klaku, Remenín a Ostrého Grúna, z Velkého Lipníka, Topolcian a okolia, z Nizného Hrušova a Ondavských Matiašoviec, ako aj pocetnú pút Spolku svätého Vojtecha.

Drahí bratia a sestry, zo srdca vám všetkým prajem, aby velkonocná milost stvárnovala váš kazdodenný krestanský zivot. Osobitne pozdravujem pút Spolku svätého Vojtecha, ktorý oslavuje stotridsiate výrocie svojho zalozenia. Nech orodovanie Sedembolestnej Panny Márie, príklad svätého Vojtecha a moje Apoštolské pozehnanie vám pomôzu vytrvat v sluzbe Bohu a národu. Pochválený bud Jeziš Kristus.

Versione italiana del saluto in lingua slovacca

Fraternamente saluto i pellegrini slovacchi provenienti da Bratislava e Zilina, da Trnava, Nitra e Banská Bystrica, da Lipovce, Šindliar e Cadca, da Radatice, Michalovec e Vranov, da Klak, Remeniny e Ostrý Grún, da Velký Lipník, Topolcany e dintorni, da Nizný Hrušov e Ondavské Matiašovce, come anche il numeroso pellegrinaggio della Società di Sant'Adalberto.

Cari Fratelli e Sorelle, auguro di cuore a tutti che la grazia pasquale trasformi la vostra vita cristiana di ogni giorno. Particolarmente saluto il pellegrinaggio della Società di Sant'Adalberto, la quale celebra il 130° anniversario della sua fondazione. Che l'intercessione della Vergine Addolorata, l'esempio di Sant'Adalberto e la mia Benedizione Apostolica vi aiutino a perseverare nel servizio a Dio ed alla Nazione.

Sia lodato Gesù Cristo.

Saluto del Santo Padre in lingua ungherese ai pellegrini ungheresi provenienti da Esztergom (Arcidiocesi di Esztergom):

Isten hozott Benneteket, kedves magyar zarándokok, és Titeket, az esztergomi szeminárium kispapjait! Szûz Mária, a Magyarok Nagyasszonya közbenjárására szeretettel adom apostoli áldásomat Rátok és az otthoniakra.

Dicsértessék a Jézus Krisztus!

Versione italiana del saluto in lingua ungherese:

Saluto cordialmente voi, cari pellegrini ungheresi, e specielmente voi, alunni del Seminario dell’Arcidiocesi di Esztergom-Budapest.

Per intercessione di Maria, “Magna Domina” degli Ungheresi, vi invoco la Benedizione Apostolica su tutti voi ed i vostri cari in patria.

Sia lodato Gesù Cristo !

* * *

Nel salutare tutti i pellegrini di lingua italiana, rivolgo un cordiale pensiero ai fedeli della Diocesi di Novara, venuti in pellegrinaggio a Roma con il loro Vescovo, Monsignor Renato Corti. Carissimi, vi ringrazio per la vostra gradita presenza, così numerosa, ed auspico di cuore che il vostro pellegrinaggio giubilare vi rinsaldi nell'adesione a Cristo e nei vostri generosi propositi di testimonianza cristiana.

Saluto, poi, i Vescovi e Sacerdoti partecipanti all'incontro promosso dalla Comunità di Sant'Egidio sul tema "La Chiesa per il nuovo millennio". Venerati e cari Fratelli, a tutti il mio affettuoso saluto e il grazie più sentito per la vostra visita. Mentre auguro ogni buon esito al vostro fraterno convegno, vi accompagno con la mia preghiera al Signore ed alla sua celeste Madre, perché possiate trarne i frutti apostolici sperati.

Saluto, ora, il gruppo di infermieri della Regione Puglia e formulo fervidi voti che questo loro incontro giubilare li incoraggi a proseguire con generoso slancio evangelico il loro lavoro con gli ammalati.

Saluto, inoltre, i militari dell'Accademia Aeronautica di Pozzuoli, i membri della Scuola Alpina della Guardia di Finanza ed il Circolo Sottufficiali di Presidio del Comando Militare Regionale del Piemonte, e tutti ringrazio per la loro partecipazione.

Il mio pensiero si rivolge, infine, ai giovani, ai malati ed agli sposi novelli.

La Giornata Mondiale delle Vocazioni, che celebreremo domenica prossima, ci invita a riflettere sulle parole di Gesù "Vieni e seguimi", con cui egli chiama gli Apostoli a seguirlo.

Saluto voi, cari giovani, in particolare voi dell'Arcidiocesi di Brindisi-Ostuni, venuti per il vostro giubileo e voi, ragazzi e ragazze di varie scuole, e specialmente voi, "premiati" dall'istituzione San Donnino d'oro della Diocesi di Fidenza. Auguro a ciascuno di saper riconoscere, in mezzo alle tante voci di questo mondo, quella di Cristo, che continua a rivolgere il suo invito al cuore di chi sa mettersi in ascolto. Siate generosi nel seguirlo, non abbiate timore nel mettere le vostre energie e il vostro entusiasmo a servizio del suo Vangelo.

E voi, cari malati, che il Signore unisce in modo più misterioso alla sua passione, apritegli il cuore con fiducia. Egli non vi farà mancare la luce consolante della sua presenza.

Infine, a voi, cari sposi novelli, auguro che le famiglie da voi appena formate rispondano alla vocazione di essere, nel mondo, trasparenza dell'amore di Dio, grazie alla fedeltà del vostro amore.

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