“As the Father has sent me, so now I send you…” These are the words by which according to John, the Lord commissioned the apostles to proclaim the good news of his victory over sin and death. These words were also the theme of World Youth Day 1995, an event that is dear to many Filipinos, for it was during this event that they hosted the youth of the Church scattered all throughout the world in its encounter with Pope John Paul II.
The immediate context of the passage is John 20:1-29. It narrates the story of the Lord’s meeting with the apostles who have enclosed themselves in a conclave “for fear of the Jews”. In that encounter with the Lord, fear was dispelled and replaced with the peace that only the Lord can give — a peace that he had won with his death on the cross.
It is perhaps providential that this passage is read at a time when John Paul II lies ill in his Vatican apartment waiting for the moment of his release from this world. He was the Pope who at the beginning of his pontificate urged the Church not to be afraid but to open wide the doors to Christ. Throughout his pontificate and especially during these last years of his illness, he has shown us what “Do not fear” means. And right now, he is showing us that even death should not be feared.
In the gospel story, John narrates how the Lord breathed upon the apostles. I would like to repeat here what I have written about this passage:
As in the moment of creation, when God breathed his spirit into the man he had fashioned that it may become a living soul, so now, in the moment of man’s redemption, He who is One with the Father, recreates man. In the mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Christ, man is “expressed in a new way. He is renewed. He is renewed! (JPII, Redemptor Hominis, )” On the night Jesus was arrested, the disciples ran away and went back “to their own” — to their former way of life, to their former way of thinking. On the evening of that same sabbath, they had hid themselves like Adam who hid himself from God. But now, the Lord had come to seek his own and to remake them, to restore them to his fold, to bring them back to themselves, to being his disciples
The recreation of man in the death and resurrection of the Lord is the good news of our salvation. John Paul II has preached it with boldness and courage with the tenacity of one who has been called to sit on Peter’s Chair. “Man is expressed in a new way!” There is so much here that cannot be exhausted in a blog; there is so much here that cannot even be exhausted in the encyclicals that John Paul II leaves behind as his legacy to the world and the Church. It is up to us whom the Pope has sent out into our generation to make possible the creation of an environment where the newness of man can be fully expressed..
Originally posted 2005-04-02 05:03:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
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