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How to Interpret the Present Time

  • POPE JOHN PAUL II

We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.


jpii777God is faithful to his eternal plan even when man, under the impulse of the evil one and carried away by his own pride, abuses the freedom given to him in order to love and generously seek what is good, and refuses to obey his Lord and Father.  God is faithful even when man, instead of responding with love to God’s love, opposes him and treats him like a rival, deluding himself and relying on his own power, with the resulting break of relationship with the one who created him. 

In spite of this transgression on man’s part, God remains faithful in love.  It is certainly true that the story of the Garden of Eden makes us think about the tragic consequences of rejecting the Father, which becomes evident in man’s inner disorder and in the breakdown of harmony between man and woman, brother and brother.  Also significant is the Gospel parable of the two brothers who, in different ways, distance themselves from their father and cause a rift between them.  Refusal of God’s fatherly love and of his loving gifts is always at the root of humanity’s divisions.

But we know that God, rich in mercy, like the father in the parable, does not close his heart to any of his children.  He waits for them, looks for them, goes to meet them at the place where the refusal of communion imprisons them in isolation and division.  He calls them to gather about his table in the joy of the feast of forgiveness and reconciliation.  This initiative on God’s part is made concrete and manifest in the redemptive act of Christ, which radiates through the world by means of the ministry of the Church.  The Word of God became flesh and came to dwell in the world.  He revealed to us that God is love, and he gave us the new commandment of love. 

By conquering through his death on the cross evil and the power of sin, by his loving obedience, he brought salvation to all and became reconciliation for all.  In him God reconciled man to himself.  The Church carries on the proclamation of reconciliation which Christ caused to echo through the villages of Galilee and all Palestine and does not cease to invite all humanity to be converted and to believe in the good news.  She speaks in the name of Christ, making her own the appeal of Saint Paul: We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.  We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

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Acknowledgement

jpii Saint John Paul II. "How to Interpret the Present Time." from Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Reconciliation and Penance #12.

Used with permission Libreria Editrice Vaticana.  

The Author

johnpauljohnpaul1Saint Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) was elected Pope in 1978 and served until his death in 2005. Among his many writings are:  Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology Of The Body, Love and Responsibility, The Splendor of Truth, and The Gospel of Life: Evangelium Vitae.

Copyright © 1993 Libreria Editrice Vaticana
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