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Jesus Christ brings the Holy Spirit to the Church and humanity

Catechesis by Pope John Paul II on Jesus Christ
General Audience, Wednesday 12 August 1987 - in Italian & Spanish  

"1. Jesus Christ the Son of God, who was sent into the world by the Father, became man by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, the Virgin of Nazareth. As man, he fulfilled his messianic mission unto the cross and the resurrection, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

In reference to this truth (which was the theme of the previous reflection), one should recall the text of St. Irenaeus where he wrote: "The Holy Spirit descended on the Son of God who became the Son of Man, becoming accustomed together with him to dwell in the human race, to replace in men and women the works of God, by fulfilling in them the Father's will, and transforming their decay of old age into newness of Christ" (Adv. Haer. III, 17, 1).

It is a very significant passage which repeats in other words what we have learned from the New Testament, namely, that the Son of God became man by the power of the Holy Spirit, and in his power he carried out his messianic mission. Thus he prepared the sending and descent into human souls of his Spirit who "searches the depths of God" (cf. 1 Cor 2:10), to renew and consolidate his presence and sanctifying action in human life. That expression of Irenaeus is interesting in which he says that the Holy Spirit, working in the Son of Man, "became accustomed together with him to dwell in the human race."

2. We read in John's Gospel that "on the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, 'If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.' Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (Jn 7:37-39). Jesus announced the coming of the Holy Spirit by the use of the metaphor of "living water," because it is "the Spirit that gives life" (Jn 6:63). The disciples will receive this Spirit from Jesus himself in due course, when Jesus will be glorified. The evangelist has in mind the paschal glorification through the cross and resurrection.

3. When this time - namely, Jesus' hour - was already near, during the discourse in the upper room, Christ resumed his announcement and several times promised the apostles the coming of the Holy Spirit as the new Counselor (Paraclete).

He says to them: "I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever, the Spirit of truth whom the world can not receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you "(Jn 14, 16-17). "The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you" (Jn 14, 26). And later: "When the Counselor comes, whom I shall send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me" (Jn 15:26).

Jesus then concluded, "If I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convince the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment" (Jn 16:7-8).

4. The texts quoted contain very fully the revelation of the truth about the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. (I dealt at length with this subject in the Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem.) To sum up, when speaking to the apostles in the cenacle on the eve of his passion, Jesus linked his departure already close at hand with the coming of the Holy Spirit. For Jesus it is a causal connection—he must go away by means of the cross and resurrection, so that the Spirit of truth can descend on the apostles and the entire Church as the Counselor. The Father will then send the Spirit "in the name of the Son." He will send him in the power of the mystery of redemption, which is to be carried out through this Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore it is right to say, as Jesus did, that the Son himself will also send the Spirit. "The Counselor whom I shall send to you from the Father" (Jn 15:26).

5. On the day of his resurrection, Jesus fulfilled this promise to the apostles, which he had made on the eve of his passion and death. John's Gospel narrates that when Jesus appeared to the disciples who were still hiding in the upper room, he greeted them, and while they were dumbfounded by the extraordinary event: "He breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained'" (Jn 20:22-23).

In John's text there is a theological emphasis which it is well to underline—the risen Christ is he who appears to the apostles and brings them the Holy Spirit, and in a certain sense gives him to them in the signs of his death on the cross. "He showed them his hands and his side" (Jn 20:20). Since the Spirit is "the Spirit who gives life" (Jn 6:63), the apostles receive together with the Holy Spirit the capacity and power to forgive sins.

6. That which happened in such a striking way on the day of the resurrection, was in a certain way spread by the other evangelists over the following days. During that time, Jesus continued to prepare the apostles for the great moment when, by virtue of his departure, the Holy Spirit will descend upon them definitively, in such a way that his coming will be manifested to the world. That will also be the moment of the birth of the Church. "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). This promise, referring directly to the coming of the Paraclete, was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.

7. To sum up, we can say that Jesus Christ is he who comes from the Father as the eternal Son; he who went forth from the Father, becoming man by the power of the Holy Spirit. After having fulfilled his messianic mission as Son of Man by the power of the Holy Spirit, "he goes to the Father" (cf. Jn 14:12). Going there as Redeemer of the world, he gives to his disciples and sends down upon the Church in all ages the same Spirit, in whose power he acted as man. In this way Jesus Christ, as he who "goes to the Father," leads to the Father all those who will follow Jesus in the course of the centuries by means of the Holy Spirit.

8. "Being exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, [Jesus Christ] has poured out this which you see and hear" (Acts 2:33), the Apostle Peter proclaimed on the day of Pentecost. The Apostle Paul wrote: "Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'" (Gal 4:6). The Holy Spirit who "comes from the Father" (cf. Jn 15:26), is at the same time the Spirit of Jesus Christ—the Spirit of the Son.

9. According to the fourth Gospel, John the Baptist proclaimed that God gave Christ the Holy Spirit "without measure." St. Thomas Aquinas explains in his limpid commentary that the prophets received the Spirit "according to measure," and therefore they prophesied "partially." Christ, however, possesses the Holy Spirit without measure—both as God, inasmuch as the Father, by means of the eternal generation, grants him to be the common principle with the Father of the procession of the Spirit in an uncreated way; and as man, because through the fullness of grace, God has filled him with the Holy Spirit, so that he may pour him out on every believer [1] . The Angelic Doctor refers to the text of John (Jn 3:34): "For he whom God has sent utters the words of God who gives to him the Spirit without measure" (according to the translation proposed by distinguished biblical scholars).

Truly we can exclaim with profound emotion, together with John the evangelist, "From his fullness we have all received" (Jn 1:16); truly we have become partakers in the divine life in the Holy Spirit.

On this world of the children of the first Adam, destined to die, we see rising up in power the Christ, the "last Adam," who has become a "life-giving Spirit" (1 Cor 15:45).

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

Ai fedeli di lingua francese

Chers pèlerins et visiteurs de langue française.

 Je suis heureux de vous accueillir ici avec ce message.

Je salue spécialement les jeunes Libanais venus à l’occasion de l’Année Mariale avec les Pères de l’Ordre Libanais Maronite. Chers amis, nous pensons souvent à votre cher pays, demandant au Seigneur de disposer tous les cœurs à chercher vraiment la paix, à soigner tant de blessures physiques et morales, à reconstruire ensemble l’avenir dans le respect réciproque. Puissiez-vous, malgré les épreuves, garder toujours l’espérance que c’est possible.

* * *

Et vous, chères animatrices de l’Association Claire -Amitié de L France et d’Afrique, réunies pour votre quatrième Assemblée internationale, je sais avec quelle générosité vous vous consacrez au service des jeunes filles et jeunes femmes défavorisées. Cherchez à vivre toujours plus profondément votre vocation de laïques engagées en équipes dans l’Eglise et dans le monde. Puisez la lumière et l’amour nécessaires à votre admirable apostolat aux sources de la prière, des sacrements, avec la médiation maternelle de Marie. Je vous bénis de tout cœur ainsi que les jeunes et le amis de vos foyers Claire -Amitié.

Ma bénédiction s’étend à tous les autres pèlerins, notamment ceux des paroisses sainte Thérèse et saint Laurent de Castres, des autres groupes de jeunes ou d’adultes de France, de Guadeloupe, de Belgique, et aussi à l’association des Paralysés de France.

A tous, je souhaite de bien préparer la grande fę te de l’Assomption de Marie!

Ai fedeli di lingua inglese

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I wish to welcome the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims.

In particular, I greet the young priests currently engaged in a spiritual renewal program at the Collegio Serafico in Rome.

To all of you I offer my cordial best wishes and prayers for a peaceful summer season, filled with moments of physical relaxation and spiritual refreshment. In the love of Jesus Christ I impart my Apostolic Blessing.

Ai fedeli di lingua tedesca

Liebe Brüder und Schwestern!

Herzlich grüße ich durch diese kurzen Darlegungen alle deutscht sprachigen Audienzteilnehmer: die Familien Gruppen und auch alle Einzelpilger. Mein besonderer Gruß gilt der Schwesterngruppe der Dillinger Franziskanerinnen anläßlich ihres Generalkapitels. Christus ist die Fülle unseres Lebens durch und im Heiligen Geist. Erbitten wir uns von ihm immer wieder neu das kostbare Geschenk seines Geistes. Von Herzen erteile ich euch und allen anwesenden Pilgern mit besten Wünschen für schöne und erholsame Ferien meinen Apostolischen Segen.

Ai numerosi pellegrini di lingua spagnola

Amadísimos hermanos y hermanas,

deseo ahora presentar mi más cordial saludo de bienvenida a todos los peregrinos y visitantes de lengua española presentes en esta audiencia.

Ruego a Dios para que vuestra visita a Roma, centro de la catolicidad, os reafirme en vuestra fe y os dé fuerza para vivir los compromisos de la vida cristiana con nuevo entusiasmo e ilusión. A la Virgen Santísima, en este Ańo Mariano, os encomiendo de corazón.

A todas las personas, familias y grupos procedentes de los diversos países de América Latina y de España imparto con afecto la Bendición Apostólica.

Ai pellegrini polacchi

Pozdrawiam serdecznie pielgrzymkę katedralną, z Tarnowa; pielgrzymów z parafii Najświętszego Serca Pana Jezusa w Krzyszkowicach, diecezja katowicka; młodzież z Kraśnika Lubelskiego: z parafii św. Krzyża w Rzeszowie; z parafii Wniebowzięcia Matki Bożej w Rzeszowie, ojcowie bernardyni; z parafii św. Teresy od Dzieciątka Jezus i św. Szczepana w Warszawie; pielgrzymkę  Archikonfraterni Literackiej Niepokalanego Poczęcia Matki Bożej z Bydgoszczy i Warszawy; młodzież ż parafii św. Kazimierza w Gdańsku-Zaspie; z parafii Narodzenia Matki Bożej w Białogardzie, diecezja koszalińsko-kołobrzeska; pielgrzymkę, diecezji koszalińsko-kołobrzeskiej; ze Szczecina, z parafii Najświęstszego Serca Pana Jezusa; z parafii św. Mikołaja w Lesznie, archidiecezja poznańska; z parafii św. Augustyna, św. Karola Boromeusza i św. Wojciecha z Wrocławia; pielgrzymkę  młodzieży z duszpasterstw ojców redemptorystów; uczennice prywatnego Liceum Ogólnokształcącego Sióstr Nazaretanek w Warszawie; pielgrzymkę  animatorów ruchu “Światło-Życie” z parafii św. Kazimierza w Warszawie; grupę  z Zielonej Góry; grupę  Towarzystwa Przyjaźni Polsko-Włoskiej w Poznaniu; grupy nauczycieli ze Szczecina, z Piaseczna, z Pszczelina koło Warszawy; grupę  PTTK z Sandomierza, Jarosławia i Bydgoszczy oraz innych uczestników grup turystycznych... Serdecznie witam wszystkich pielgrzymów, bardzo licznie zgromadzonych w Rzymie z różnych diecezji, parafii, z różnych grup młodzieżowych. Niech Bóg błogosławi wasz pobyt przy progach apostolskich, niech wam pozwala znaleźć tutaj Chrystusa i Jego Ducha Świętego.

Ai giovani

Desidero salutare in modo del tutto particolare i giovani, qui riuniti a metà di questo mese di Agosto, nella imminenza della Solennità della beata Vergine Maria Assunta in Cielo.

Carissimi, abbiate sempre nella Beata Vergine Maria uno stupendo modello di vita e di fede, e nella intensa preghiera e nella frequente meditazione rivolgetevi a Lei, esaltata più di ogni altra creatura, perché ha realizzato in totale umiltà la sua straordinaria grandezza di Madre di Dio e di Prima tra i Credenti.

Agli ammalati

Rivolgo, ora, il mio pensiero a voi, carissimi ammalati, qui presenti.

Il mio augurio è che, con il materno aiuto di Maria Santissima, la quale ai piedi della Croce sperimentò un dolore intenso come taglio di spada, voi sappiate affrontare con coraggio e fiducia le prove della vita e avere inoltre la certezza che nella malattia e nella sofferenza troverete sempre sostegno e conforto nel suo amatissimo Figlio e nostro Redentore.

Agli sposi novelli

Infine saluto voi, carissimi sposi novelli, venuti a Roma dopo aver ricevuto la grazia sacramentale.

La vostra nascente famiglia abbia nella Famiglia di Nazareth il fulgido modello da imitare, e guardi sempre a Maria Santissima come ad una Mamma che, col suo aiuto e con la sua intercessione, vi può aiutare a realizzare la promessa di amore vicendevole e totale, e l’impegno, assunto davanti all’Altare del Signore, di vivere una vita sempre guidata dal Vangelo.

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