VATICAN CITY, JAN. 14, 2001 (ZENIT.org) .-
John Paul II has no doubts: The Jubilee was “a great and memorable sign” of a “renewed spring.”
The Holy Father described the Jubilee in these terms at noon today, when he met with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter´s Square to pray the Angelus. Before reciting the prayer, John Paul II made a brief evaluation of the Holy Year, which ended Jan. 6.
“The Jubilee, which has just ended, was a kind of great and memorable sign for the Church,” he said, “a year in which, as in the wedding at Cana, Christ changed the water of our spiritual poverty into the generous wine of renewal and commitment.”
The Holy Father in effect was confirming one of the convictions that have inspired him most profoundly since the beginning of his pontificate. “The Church has been able to experience the signs of a renewed spring, inspired by ecumenical Vatican Council II, following which a kind of immediate preparation began for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, in the widest sense of the term,” he said.
This ecclesial renewal, begun by John XXIII, which culminated in the Holy Year, was planned by John Paul II in the first three sections of his first encyclical, “Redemptor Hominis.”
In his evaluation of the Holy Year, the Pope was concerned with the event at a deep level: “The Holy Year opened many hearts to hope and illuminated the way in the world with the light of Christ.”
He added: “Now that the Jubilee is over, we have taken up the ordinary way again with new impetus, keeping our eyes more than ever on the Lord´s face, as I wrote in the apostolic letter ´Novo Millennio Ineunte.´”
This new impulse of Christians would not have occurred without the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the Pope said. At this time of transition from the second to the third millennium, “her Immaculate Heart has shown itself as a sure refuge for so many of her children,” John Paul II said.
This is a fact that the Pope stressed during his pilgrimage to Fatima, where he beatified the two young visionary shepherds, and ordered the revelation of the so-called third secret. This same conviction explains the act of entrustment with which he placed humanity of the third millennium in Mary´s hands during the bishops´ Jubilee last autumn.
“To us, men and women, who look with confidence at the new millennium, the Mother of Christ now repeats the invitation addressed to the servants at the wedding of Cana: ´Do whatever he tells you,´” Peter´s successor exhorted.
“With these words, the Virgin seems to want to urge us not to be afraid of the limits and failures that at times mark our experience as individuals, families, and ecclesial and civil communities,” he added. “Mary exhorts us not to allow ourselves to be defeated, not even by sin, which robs us of confidence in ourselves and others. What matters is what Christ says to us; trusting in him, he will not fail to hear our incessant invocation.”