“Do not be afraid”: Feast of John Paul II

THE Church has designated October 22 for the commemoration of Blessed John Paul II. On this day in 1978 Pope John Paul II inaugurates his ministry as universal pastor of the Church. As he assumed the chair of St. Peter he said “The mystery of the cross and resurrection is the only power the Church possesses.” But what a formidable one it is. “Be not afraid!” he proclaimed to the world. Here is some context for that proclamation: 

Our time calls us, urges us, obliges us, to gaze on the Lord and to immerse
ourselves in humble and devout meditation on the mystery of the supreme power of
Christ himself. He who was born of the Virgin Mary, the carpenter’s Son (as he was thought to
be), the Son of the living God (as confessed by Peter), came to make us all “a
kingdom of priests”.

The Second Vatican Council has reminded us of the mystery of this power and of
the fact that Christ’s mission as Priest, Prophet-Teacher and King continues in
the Church. Everyone, the whole People of God, shares in this threefold mission.
Perhaps in the past the tiara, that triple crown, was placed on the Pope’s head
in order to signify by that symbol the Lord’s plan for his Church, namely that
all the hierarchical order of Christ’s Church, all “sacred power” exercised in
the Church, is nothing other than service, service with a single purpose: to
ensure that the whole People of God shares in this threefold mission of Christ
and always remains under the power of the Lord; a power that has its source not
in the powers of this world, but instead in the mystery of the Cross and the
Resurrection.

The absolute, and yet sweet and gentle, power of the Lord responds to the whole
depths of the human person, to his loftiest aspirations of intellect, will and
heart. It does not speak the language of force, but expresses itself in charity
and truth. 
The new Successor of Peter in the See of Rome today makes a fervent, humble and
trusting prayer: Christ, make me become and remain the servant of your unique
power, the servant of your sweet power, the servant of your power that knows no
dusk. Make me a servant: indeed, the servant of your servants.

Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power.
Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ’s power to
serve the human person and the whole of mankind.

Do not be afraid. Open, I say open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving
power open the boundaries of states, economic and political systems, the vast
fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows
“that which is in man”. He alone knows it.
So often today, man does not know that which is in him, in the depths of his
mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this
earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you,
therefore, we beg you with humility and with trust, let Christ speak to man. He
alone has words of life, yes, of life eternal.

From the Homily of Blessed John Paul II, Pope, for the Inauguration of his Pontificate
October 22 1978.

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