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God is the Father of All Humanity

Catechesis by Pope John Paul II on God the Father
General Audience, Wednesday, 16 October 1985 - in Italian & Spanish  

"1. "You are my son, today I have begotten you" (Ps 2:7).

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews went back to the Old Testament for the purpose of making intelligible the full truth of the fatherhood of God which has been revealed in Jesus Christ (cf. Heb 1:4-14). He quoted, among others, the passage just read from the second Psalm, and also a similar phrase from the Book of Samuel: "I will be his father, and he shall be my son" (2 Sam 7:14).

They are prophetic words. God is speaking to David about his descendant. While in the Old Testament context these words seem to refer only to adoptive sonship, by analogy with human fatherhood and sonship, the New Testament reveals their authentic and definitive significance. They speak of the Son who is of the same substance of the Father, of the Son who is truly generated from the Father. They speak also of the real fatherhood of God, of a fatherhood to which belongs the generation of the Son consubstantial with the Father. They speak of God who is Father in the highest and most authentic meaning of the word. They speak of God who eternally generates the eternal Word, the Word consubstantial with the Father. God is Father in the ineffable mystery of his divinity, in regard to the Word.

"You are my son, today I have begotten you."

The adverb "today" speaks of eternity. It is the "today" of the intimate life of God. It is the "today" of eternity, the "today" of the Most Holy and ineffable Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who is eternal love and eternally consubstantial with the Father and the Son.

2. The mystery of the divine paternity within the Trinity was not yet explicitly revealed in the Old Testament. However, the whole context of the Old Covenant was rich with allusions to God's fatherhood in a moral and analogical sense. Thus God is revealed as Father of his people, Israel, when he commands Moses to ask for their liberation from Egypt: "The Lord says: Israel is my first-born son, and I say to you 'Let my son go...'" (Ex 4:22-23).

This is a fatherhood of choice, on the basis of the covenant, and is rooted in the mystery of creation. Isaiah wrote: "Yet, Lord, you are our Father; we are clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand" (Is 64:8; 63:16).

This fatherhood does not regard only the chosen people. It reaches every person and surpasses the bond existing with earthly parents. Here are some texts: "For my father and mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up" (Ps 27:10). "As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him" (Ps 103:13). "The Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights" (Prov 3:12). The analogical character of the fatherhood of God is evident in the texts just quoted. It is the Lord to whom the prayer is directed: "O Lord, Father and Ruler of my life, do not abandon me to their counsel, and let me not fall because of them.... O Lord, Father and God of my life, do not leave me at the mercy of brazen looks" (Sir 23:1-4). He again says in the same light: "If the righteous man is God's son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries" (Wis 2:18).

3. God's fatherhood is manifested in merciful love, both in regard to Israel and to individuals. We read, for example, in Jeremiah: "With weeping they had departed, and with consolations I will lead them back...for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born" (Jer 31:9).

Numerous passages in the Old Testament present the merciful love of the God of the covenant. Here are some of them:

"But you are merciful to all, for you can do all things,
and you overlook men's sin, that they may repent....
You spare all things, for they are yours,
O Lord who loves the living" (Wis 11:23-26).

"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you" (Jer 31:3).

In Isaiah we meet moving testimonies of care and affection:
"But Zion said, 'The Lord has forsaken me,
my Lord has forgotten me.'
Can a woman forget her child...?
Even if she forget, yet I will not forget you"
(Is 49:14-15; cf. also 54:10).

It is significant that in the passages of the prophet Isaiah God's fatherhood is enriched with allusions inspired by motherhood (cf. Dives in Misericordia, note 52).

4. Jesus frequently announced, in the fullness of the Messianic times, God's fatherhood in regard to humanity by linking it with the numerous expressions contained in the Old Testament. Thus it expresses divine providence in regard to creatures, especially man: "Your heavenly Father feeds them..." (Mt 6:26; cf. Lk 12:24); "Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all" (Mt 6:32; cf. Lk 12:30). Jesus sought to make the divine mercy understood by presenting as proper to God the welcoming reception of the father for the prodigal son (cf. Lk 15:11-32). He exhorted those who heard his word: "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful" (Lk 6:36).

To conclude, we can say that, through Jesus, God is not only "the father of Israel, the Father of mankind," but "our Father."

We shall speak more about this in the next catechesis."

After the Catechesis, Pope John Paul II greeted the pilgrims in various languages

Ai fedeli di lingua francese

Chers Frères et Sœurs,

Aux pèlerins de langue française, je souhaite la joie de reconnaître en Dieu le Père dont l’amour nous accompagne à toutes les étapes de notre vie. Avec plaisir j’exprime mes vœux aux jeunes du Collège Champittet de Suisse et à leurs éducateurs, afin qu’il préparent leur avenir à la lumière de la foi en développant le sens de la solidarité humaine qu’ils manifestent déjà. Je voudrais saluer également un groupe de fonctionnaires du Danemark que je remercie de leur courtoisie.

A tous, je donne ma Bénédiction Apostolique.

Ai pellegrini di lingua inglese

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I wish to extend special greetings to the pilgrims from Assumption Parish in Nottingham, England, and to the Diocesan Choir of Motherwell in Scotland. A warm welcome also goes to the visitors from the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas, and to the pilgrims from the Diocese of Iba in the Philippines.

I greet most cordially the Pastors from the Church of Norway who are present at this Audience, as well as the various groups of pilgrims from Denmark, in particular those from Risskov, Arhus and Copenhagen.

And I invoke joy and peace in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, upon the pilgrims from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the United States, and upon all the English-speaking visitors. May God bless you all.

Ai pellegrini di lingua tedesca

Liebe Brüder und Schwestern!

Mit dieser kurzen Darlegung zu einem beglückenden Geheimnis unseres Glaubens grüße und segne ich alle Besucher deutscher Sprache und wünsche ihnen einen fruchtbaren Aufenthalt in der Stadt Rom und bei den Gräbern der Apostel Petrus und Paulus. Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!

Ai fedeli spagnoli

Dirijo ahora mi cordial saludo de bienvenida a todos los peregrinos y visitantes de lengua española.

Habéis querido venir a encontraros con el Papa, Sucesor de Pedro, en este centro de la catolicidad. Que vuestra visita a Roma os afiance en la fe y os anime a dar testimonio de caridad cristiana en vuestros ambientes de trabajo, familiares y sociales.

En particular saludo a los peregrinos procedentes de Colombia, de la parroquia de Santa María de Cervelló (Barcelona), de San Martín de Valladolid, y de Rosas (Gerona). Asimismo, al grupo de Empresarios de Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) y a los participantes en el curso “Dirección de Cooperativas Agrícolas”; os aliento a que, movidos por vuestra vocación de servicio, seáis agentes de promoción y desarrollo en las zonas rurales de los Países latinoamericanos de donde procedéis.

A todos los peregrinos de España y de América Latina imparto con afecto la Bendición Apostólica.

Ai fedeli polacchi

Pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów z parafii błogosławionej Jadwigi Królowej z Krakowa; z parafii św. Anny z Krakowa; z parafii św. Trójcy w Wilamowicach - archidiecezja krakowska; pielgrzymkę katedralną z Tarnowa; z parafii Przemieniania Pańskiego z Cmolasa - diecezja tarnowska; z diecezji częstochowskiej na sześćdziesięciolecie jej powstania; z parafii łódzkich; dziennikarzy czasopism polskich; pielgrzymów z dekanatów elbląskich - diecezja warmińska; pielgrzymkę niewidomych; kolejarzy ze Stargardu Szczecińskiego, zakłady naprawcze; kolejarzy ze Szczecina, Rejon Przewozów Kolejowych; kolejarzy z Wrocławia Głównego, lokomotywownia; kolejarzy z Ministerstwa Komunikacji; Klub Inteligencji Katolickiej z Radomia; pielgrzymów z parafii św. Bartłomieja z Konina; oraz uczestników grup turystycznych Orbisu, PTTK, Sport-Touristu, turystów z “Amicizia Viaggi” oraz z Turysty. Wszystkich serdecznie pozdrawiam w dniu 16 października. Jest to dzień, w którym Kościół w Polsce obchodzi uroczystość św. Jadwigi Śląskiej, zwłaszcza archidiecezja wrocławska, ale także cała Polska . . . Dzisiaj pragnę podziękować za wasze modlitwy i równocześnie polecić św. Jadwidze Śląskiej ten dzień zarówno w Ojczyźnie mojej, jak tutaj, na Stolicy świętego Piotra.

Ad alcuni pellegrini ungheresi

È presente nell'odierna udienza generale un gruppo di pellegrini ungheresi proveniente dalla località di Tatabánya, diocesi di Gyor.

Saluto con affetto i pellegrini ungheresi.

La settimana scorsa era la festa della Vergine Maria, patrona dell’Ungheria. Siate sempre fedeli alla dottrina del suo Figlio, Gesù Cristo.

La mia benedizione apostolica a voi e a tutti gli ungheresi in tutto il mondo

Ai giovani

Rivolgo ora un affettuoso saluto a tutti i ragazzi e i giovani qui presenti, tra cui desidero menzionare i 25 studenti che si sono distinti nella scuola per impegno e profitto e sono venuti a Roma da ogni parte d’Italia per ricevere gli attestati di “Alfieri del lavoro”.

Carissimi, il mio auguro è che Gesù sia sempre la luce delle vostre menti e la fiamma dei vostri cuori. Siete infatti i prediletti del divin Maestro. E voi dovete rispondere a questa predilezione. Perciò vi esprimo il fervido voto che il rapporto di amicizia con Gesù sia fonte inestinguibile di totale dedizione alla Chiesa e di generosità per i fratelli, E vi incoraggio a seguire sempre, senza tentennamenti, gli insegnamenti del Vangelo nel fermo ripudio di ogni compromesso con le seduzioni del mondo.

Gesù sia sempre la vostra guida e i vostri comportamenti ne siano la fedele testimonianza.

Con la mia benedizione apostolica.

Agli ammalati

Voglio ora rinnovare ai diletti infermi, presenti a questa udienza, l’assicurazione del mio profondo affetto. Carissimi! Agli occhi di tutti i credenti voi assumete l’aspetto di Cristo sofferente, mentre nei vostri occhi brilla la luce di lui risorto. Se voi nella Chiesa potete definirvi i “poveri della salute”, per cui avete bisogno dell’aiuto dei fratelli in buone condizioni fisiche, voi largamente li remunerate richiamando la loro attenzione in che è essenziale per il regno di Dio, vale a dire la speranza e l’amore. Il Signore aumenti in voi questa speranza e vi aiuti a comprendere che, con la vostra sofferenza, partecipate al bene delle anime.

Vi benedico di cuore, ed estendo la mia benedizione ai vostri cari e a quanti vi sono di sollievo nel vostro dolore.

Agli sposi novelli

Anche a voi, sposi novelli, il mio augurio e il mio saluto. Desiderando questo incontro quale coronamento della vostra letizia nuziale, voi rendete testimonianza alla bellezza, alla grandezza e alla santità del vincolo matrimoniale, in tempo in cui occorrono per esso maggiore attenzione ed eccezionale sensibilità per la stabilità della famiglia umana.

Nel ringraziarvi di cuore per la vostra visita, faccio voti che la vostra vita coniugale si ispiri sempre agli insegnamenti del Vangelo.

A voi e ai vostri familiari di cuore imparto la mia benedizione apostolica.

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