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Jesus Christ, the Son intimately united with the Father

Catechesis by Pope John Paul II on Jesus Christ
General Audience, Wednesday 8 July 1987 - in Italian & Spanish  

"1. "Abba, my Father”: all that we said in the previous reflection enables us to penetrate more deeply the unique and exceptional relationship of the Son with the Father, which is expressed in the four Gospels and the whole New Testament. If more passages which stress this relationship are found in John's Gospel ("in the first person," one could say), yet the Synoptics contain the passage which seems to contain the key to this question: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him" (Mt 11:27; Lk 10:22).

The Son, therefore, reveals the Father as he who knows him and had sent him as Son to speak to humanity through him in a further and definitive way (cf. Heb 1:7). Indeed, the Father has given for the salvation of the world precisely this only Son, so that in him and through him man might attain eternal life (cf. Jn 3:16).

2. Frequently, but especially during the Last Super, Jesus insisted on making known to his disciples that he is united to the Father by a special bond. "All that is mine is yours, and all that is yours is mine" 17:10), he prayed in his priestly prayer, as he took leave of the apostles before going to his passion. He then asked for unity for his present and future disciples in words which emphasize the relation of such union and communion with that which exists only between the Father and the Son. He asked "that all may be one as you, Father are in me, and I in you; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me that they may be one, as we are one—I living in them, you living in me—that their unity may be complete. So shall the world know that you sent me, and that you loved them as you love me" (Jn 17:21-23).

3. Praying for the unity of his disciples and witnesses, Jesus at the same time revealed what kind of unity and communion exists between himself and the Father; the Father is "in the Son" and the Son "in" the Father. Jesus explained it saying, "All that is mine is yours, and all that is yours is mine" (Jn 17:10). It is a relation of reciprocal possession in the unity of essence, and at the same time it is a relation of gift. In fact Jesus said, "Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you" (Jn 17:7).

4. The signs of attention, of wonderment and recollection with which the apostles heard these words of Jesus in the upper room at Jerusalem on the eve of the paschal events can be gleaned from John's Gospel. But the truth of the priestly prayer had already in a certain way been expressed publicly by him antecedently on the day of the feast of the Dedication of the Temple. In reply to the challenge, "If you are the Christ tell us openly" Jesus stated: "I told you and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness to me." Later Jesus stated that those who hear him and believe, belong to his flock by virtue of a gift from the Father. "My sheep hear my voice and I know them.... My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one" (Jn 10:24-30).

5. In this case his adversaries' reaction is violent: "The Jews took up stones again to stone him." When Jesus asked them for which of the good works from the Father which he had performed did they wish to stone him, they replied: "For the blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God." Jesus' reply is unambiguous: "If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I did them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father" (cf. Jn 10:31-38).

6. Let us note well the significance of this crucial point of the life and revelation of Christ. The truth about the particular bond, the special unity between the Son and the Father, met with the opposition of the Jews: "If you are the Son in the sense expressed by your words, then you, being a man, make yourself God. In such case you utter the greatest blasphemy." His hearers therefore understood the meaning of the words of Jesus of Nazareth. As Son of God he is "God from God"—"of the same being as the Father"—but for this very reason they did not accept his words. Indeed, they rejected them in the most firm and absolute way. Even though in the conflict of that moment they did not arrive at the point of stoning him (cf. Jn 10:39), nevertheless on the morrow of his priestly prayer in the cenacle Jesus will be put to death on the cross. And the Jews present at the execution will cry out, "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross" (Mt 27:40), and they will mock him saying, "He trusted in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said 'I am the Son of God'" (Mt 27:42-43).

7. Also on Calvary Jesus affirmed his unity with the Father. As we read in the Letter to the Hebrews, "Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered" (Heb 5:8). But this "obedience unto death" (cf. Phil 2:8) was a further and definitive expression of the intimacy of his union with the Father. According to the text of Mark, during the agony on the cross "Jesus cried out 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?' which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'" (Mk 15:34). This cry—even though the words reveal the feeling of abandonment experienced psychologically as a man suffering for us—was the expression of the most intimate union of the Son with the Father in the fulfillment of his command: "I have accomplished the work which you gave me to do" (cf. Jn 17:4). In that moment the unity of the Son with the Father was manifested with a definitive divine-human depth in the mystery of the world's redemption.

8. Again in the cenacle Jesus said to the apostles, "No one comes to the Father but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.... Philip said to him, 'Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.' Jesus said to him, `Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip?' He who sees me sees the Father.... Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me?'" (Jn 14:6-10).

"He who sees me sees the Father." The New Testament is completely marked by the light of this Gospel truth. The Son is the reflection of the Father's glory, he is "the very stamp of his nature" (Heb 1:3). He is the "image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15). He is the epiphany of God. When he became man, taking on "the form of a servant" and "becoming obedient unto death" (cf. Phil 2:7-8), at the same time he became for all those who accepted his teaching "the way": the way to the Father, whereby he is "the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6). In the difficult ascent to be conformed to the image of Christ, those who believe in him, as St. Paul says, "put on the new nature" and "are renewed through a full knowledge of God" (cf. Col 3:10) according to the image of him who is the model. This is the solid basis of Christian hope.

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

Ai gruppi di lingua francese

J’ai plaisir à saluer spécialement un groupe de prêtres du diocèse de Namur. Que votre pèlerinage à Rome rajeunisse votre attachement à l’Eglise et votre zèle pour l’évangélisation de votre cher pays!

* * *

Je suis heureux de féliciter et d’encourager les membres du Mouvement “Pour un monde meilleur”, venus d’une quarantaine de pays pour approfondir leur idéal magnifique et leur action si nécessaire. J’invoque sur leur apostolat de prêtres et de laïcs la lumière et la force divines.

* * *

J’adresse encore un salut cordial à l’important groupe choral de Rhodes. Continuez de bien chanter pour la joie de vos auditeurs et pour la joie de Dieu!

Enfin, je salue de tout coeur le groupe oecuménique orthodoxe-catholique de l’île de Chiros. Que le Seigneur soutienne et féconde vos efforts pour l’avènement de l’unité!

Chers pèlerins de langue française, je vous remercie tous de votre visite et je vous bénis au nom du Seigneur.

Ai fedeli ed ai pellegrini di lingua inglese

I am happy to welcome the English-speaking people present here today. I wish to greet the many men and women Religious, in particular the priests and brothers of the Congregation of the Resurrection currently taking part in their General Chapter; the group of White Fathers attending a Pastoral Formation Course in Rome; the Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood engaged in a Formation Workshop and an international pilgrimage group of the Daughters of Charity. Dear brothers and sisters: I pray that the Lord will enrich you with his grace and enable you to find ever more effective ways of serving him in fidelity to your evangelical call and in steadfast obedience to the Church.

And to all the pilgrims and visitors from England, Scotland, Ireland and the United States I extend a cordial welcome and I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing.

Ai pellegrini provenienti dai Paesi di lingua tedesca

Diese zentrale Wahrheit unseres Glaubens empfehle ich, liebe Brüder und Schwestern, eurer persönlichen Betrachtung und Verehrung. Zugleich grüße ich euch damit herzlich zu der heutigen Audienz. Möge das Gebet an den Gräbern der Apostel euch in eurem Glauben an Christus bestärken, den Petrus als den ”Sohn des lebendigen Gottes“ bekannt hat. Mit besten Wünschen für schöne und erholsame Ferientage erteile ich euch allen von Herzen meinen besonderen Apostolischen Segen.

Ai fedeli provenienti dalla Spagna e dai Paesi dell’America Latina

Deseo ahora dar mi más cordial bienvenida a todas las personas, familias y grupos procedentes de los diversos países de América Latina y de España.

En particular, me es grato saludar a los clérigos de San Viator, a las Religiosas de María Inmaculada, a las Religiosas Misioneras del Pilar y al grupo de seminaristas de Alicante. Os exhorto a una generosa entrega a Dios y a la Iglesia.

Saludo igualmente a la peregrinación de “E1 Magisterio Español”. A todos vosotros como maestros y maestras católicos, así como a vuestros colegas de España, os aliento a un renovado empeño para que vuestra labor educadora manifieste siempre los valores cristianos en las escuelas para bien de los nińos y jóvenes españoles.

Finalmente, deseo saludar con afecto a los peregrinos de México, de Argentina y a las numerosas peregrinaciones parroquiales y escolares aquí presentes.

A todos imparto la Bendición Apostólica.

Ai fedeli giunti dalla Polonia

Przede wszystkim serdecznie witam wszystkich księży biskupów, którzy przybyli tutaj niejako na śladach szlaku mojej pielgrzymki po Polsce, a więc odbywają pielgrzymkę za pielgrzymkę. Dziękuję bardzo za ich obecność i za to przyjęcie, jakie mi na szlaku Kongresu Eucharystycznego zgotowali moi bracia w biskupstwie i wszystkie Kościoły, cały lud Boży na ojczystej ziemi. Witam pielgrzymów z różnych parafii i wspólnot: z archidiecezji krakowskiej - z parafii sw. Szymona i Judy ze Skawiny oraz św. Katarzyny z Cięciny koło Żywca; pielgrzymów z parafii św. Jadwigi w Dębicy- diecezja tarnowska; z parafii Matki Bożej Bolesnej w Chotowej koło Tarnowa; witam wraz z nimi także i przewodników sądeckich; młodzież szkół średnich z parafii św. Michała w Warszawie; pielgrzymkę pedagogów z Zakładu dla Niewidomych w Laskach Warszawskich; pielgrzymów z parafii św. Stanisława Biskupa i Męczennika w Siedlcach; z parafii św. Józefa w Olsztynie; z parafii św. Rocha w Poznaniu; z parafii św. Andrzeja Apostoła-Komorniki koło Poznania; z parafii św. Bartłomieja z Objezierza oraz z dekanatu Oborniki Śląskie-archidiecezja poznańska; z parafii św. Wawrzyńca i innych parafii Wrocławia; gimnazjum sióstr urszulanek unii rzymskiej we Wrocławiu; pielgrzymkę, nauczycieli z Rybnika-diecezja katowicka; współpracowników misyjnych księży pallotynów z całe; Polski; grupę nauczycieli Logos-Tour Warszawa-Olsztyn; pielgrzymkę kapituły generalnej księży zmartwychwstańców oraz grupę Polaków ze stanu Nowy Jork; prócz tego grupy turystyczne z całej Polski, w szczególności z Jeleniej Góry oraz wszystkich innych pielgrzymów nie objętych wymienionymi grupami . . . Pragnę również przez tę katechezę raz jeszcze podziękovać za to wielkie rozważanie na temat Syna, który nas “do końca umiłował” to rozważanie provadziliśmy wspólnie podczas mojej pielgrzymki do Ojczyzny w ramach Kongresu Eucharystycznego. Bóg zapłać.

Ad alcuni gruppi particolari italiani

Rivolgo un saluto ai motociclisti appartenenti all’Associazione Internazionale “Madonnina dei Centauri”, i quali sono venuti qui, accompagnati dal Vescovo di Alessandria, Monsignor Ferdinando Maggioni, per ricordare il 40° anniversario di fondazione del Sodalizio.

Sono lieto di comunicarvi che, per tale occasione, ho preparato un messaggio, che vi consegnerò, per l’incontro di Domenica prossima.

* * *

Saluto i fedeli della Parrocchia di San Giovanni Battista in Maiorano, in diocesi di Alife-Caiazzo, e di quella di Maria del Carmine di Moliterno, diocesi di Tursi-Lagonegro, i quali nel prendere parte a questa Udienza hanno espresso il desiderio che il Papa benedica le statue della Madonna di Fatima e del Carmine recate qui dalle rispettive comunità ecclesiali.

Carissimi Fratelli e Sorelle, benedico volentieri le immagini della Vergine e vi esorto a nutrire verso di lei una tenera devozione nel clima proprio dell’Anno Mariano. Uniformate a Lei la vostra vita e lasciatevi attrarre dal suo esempio e dalla sua santità. Sotto la sua protezione le vostre parrocchie rifioriranno nel fervore di fede e nello slancio apostolico. Benedico tutti di cuore.

* * *

Un pensiero speciale va al folto gruppo dei Seminaristi appartenenti alla Congregazione dei Missionari Scalabriniani.

Cari Giovani, vi saluto con grande affetto; voi che vi incamminate sulla via ardua, ma letificante del sacerdozio occupate un posto speciale nel mio cuore, perché vedo in voi i futuri dispensatori della parola e dei misteri della salvezza. Andare avanti, senza mai scoraggiarvi di fronte alle difficoltà che inevitabilmente si presenteranno lungo la strada che conduce all’altare. Il Signore sarà il vostro sostegno e la vostra gioia, e non vi farà mancare nulla.

Vi auguro che dal vostro soggiorno a Roma possiate trarre uno stimolo per rinsaldare i vostri ideali e per prepararvi in modo generoso alla vostra futura missione tra i fratelli sparsi nel mondo della emigrazione. Vi accompagni la mia Benedizione.

Ai giovani

Rivolgo ora un particolare saluto ai giovani e ragazzi, che partecipano a questo incontro. Tra essi sono i giovanissimi dell’Azione Cattolica di Novara che partecipano ad un campo scuola a Roma. In questo periodo di vacanze amo immaginarvi tutti presi dal desiderio di regolare le vostre giornate secondo un criterio ispirato a preferenze personali sia nelle ore di svago, sia in quelle dedicate ad attività culturali o lavorative. Ricordatevi che in questo tempo, anche se siete liberi dalla disciplina scolastica, siete sempre tenuti però alla disciplina dello spirito, all’osservanza cioè di quelle leggi che il Signore ha inscritto nel nostro cuore, di quelle virtù che sono l’ornamento della nostra anima e per le quali non c’è riposo, non ci sono vacanze.

Mi auguro che il vostro soggiorno a Roma vi serva a rinsaldare e a ravvivare la vostra fede davanti alle più antiche testimonianze del cristianesimo. A tutti vada la mia speciale benedizione.

Agli ammalati

Un pensiero affettuoso desidero rivolgere pure ai cari fratelli e sorelle che portano nel loro corpo e nel loro spirito i segni della malattia e il peso del dolore.

A voi la comprensione e la solidarietà mia e di tutti i presenti, insieme con l’auspicio di una completa guarigione. A quanti soffrono il Signore non farà mancare il suo aiuto e la sicura ricompensa nel Cielo. Ce lo ricorda l’apostolo Paolo nella sua Lettera ai romani: “ Le sofferenze del tempo presente non sono paragonabili alla gloria futura, che dovrà essere rivelata in noi ”.

A voi ammalati esprimo la mia vicinanza spirituale, assicurandovi il ricordo nella preghiera, mentre di cuore vi benedico.

Agli sposi novelli

Saluto pure, come di consueto, le coppie di sposi novelli.

Carissimi, vi auguro che siate sempre felici e che possiate accrescere sempre di più la vostra gioia, benedetta e santificata dal sacramento del matrimonio.

Auguro pure che la vostra unione sia indissolubile, e vissuta ogni giorno secondo i grandi ideali della fede cristiana. Non abbiate timore di testimoniare il Vangelo in casa e in tutti gli ambienti in cui verrete a trovarvi.

Invoco sulle vostre nascenti famiglie le grazie e i conforti divini, mentre vi imparto la mia Benedizione.

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