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Jesus Christ, the Son sent by the Father

Catechesis by Pope John Paul II on Jesus Christ
General Audience, Wednesday 24 June 1987 - in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish  

"1. In the previous reflection we dealt with the prologue of John's Gospel, when speaking of Christ as Logos, Word and Son of God. The prologue expresses beyond all doubt the essential nucleus of the truth about Jesus Christ, a truth which forms the central content of the self-revelation of the God of the new covenant, and as such is solemnly professed by the Church. It is faith in the Son of God, who is "one in being with the Father" as the eternal Word, eternally "begotten," "God from God and Light from Light," in no way created (or adopted). The prologue also reveals the truth about the divine pre-existence of Jesus Christ as the "only-begotten Son" who is "in the bosom of the Father." It sets out clearly the truth about the coming of God the Son into the world to carry out a special mission on the part of the Father--"the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn 1:14). This mission (missio Verbi) has an essential importance in the divine plan of salvation. It contains the supreme and definitive implementation of God's salvific plan in regard to the world and the human race.

2. The whole New Testament expresses the truth of the sending of the Son by the Father. This truth is made concrete in the messianic mission of Jesus Christ. In this regard, of particular importance are the numerous texts of John's Gospel to which we must first of all refer.

Speaking with his disciples and with his adversaries, Jesus says, "I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me" (Jn 8:16). "I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me" (Jn 18:18). "He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him for I came from him, and he sent me" (Jn 7:28-29). "For the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me" (Jn 5:36). "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work" (Jn 4:34).

3. As is seen in John's Gospel, Jesus often speaks of himself in the first person as one sent by the Father. In a special way, the same truth will emerge in the priestly prayer, where Jesus, recommending his disciples to the Father, emphasizes, "They...know in truth that I have come from you; and they have believed that you have sent me" (Jn 17:8). And continuing this prayer on the eve of his passion, Jesus says, "As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world" (Jn 17:8). As though referring directly to the priestly prayer, the first words addressed to the disciples on the evening of the day of the resurrection are, "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you" (Jn 20:21).

4. If the truth about Jesus Christ as the Son sent by the Father is set out clearly especially in the Johannine texts, it is also contained in the Synoptic Gospels. There we see, for example, that Jesus said, "I must preach the kingdom to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose" (Lk 4:43). Of particular importance is the parable of the wicked tenant farmers. They badly treated the servants sent by the owner of the vineyard "to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard," and they killed many of them. Finally, the owner of the vineyard decided to send to them his own son, "He had still one other, a beloved son; finally he sent him to them, saying, 'They will respect my son!' But those tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard" (Mk 12:6-8). Commenting on this parable, Jesus recalls what was written in Psalm 118 about the stone rejected by the builders. It was this very stone that became the head of the corner (that is, the cornerstone) (cf. Ps 118:22).

5. The parable of the son sent to the tenants of the vineyard is recorded by all the Synoptics (cf. Mk 12:1-12; Mt 21:33-46; Lk 20:9-19). The truth about Jesus sent by the Father clearly emerges from this parable. Indeed, it emphasizes rather graphically the sacrificial and redemptive character of the mission. The Son is truly "he whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world" (Jn 10:36). Thus God not only "spoke to us by a these last days" (cf. Heb 1:1-2), but he has given for us this Son, in an act of incomprehensible love, by sending him into the world.

6. In these terms John's Gospel also speaks in a particularly moving way, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that, whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (Jn 3:16). And he adds, "God sent his only Son into the world, as the savior of the world." Elsewhere John writes, "God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins." Therefore he adds that in accepting Jesus, his Gospel, his death and resurrection, "we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him" (cf. 1 Jn 4:8-16).

7. St. Paul expresses the same truth in the Letter to the Romans: "He (God) did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all; will he not also give us all things with him?" (Rom 8:32). Christ was "given" for us, as we read in John 3:16; he was given in sacrifice "for us all" (Rom 8:32). The Father "has sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (1 Jn 4:10). The creed professes this same truth: "For us men and for our salvation (the Word of God) came down from heaven."

8. The truth about Jesus Christ, as the Son sent by the Father for the redemption of the world, for the salvation and liberation of those who were prisoners of sin (and therefore of the powers of darkness) constitutes the essential kernel of the Good News. Jesus Christ is the "only Son" (Jn 1:18), who, to carry out his messianic mission, "did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men...and became obedient unto death" (Phil 2:6-8). In this situation freely accepted by him as man, as the servant of the Lord, he proclaimed, "The Father is greater than I" (Jn 14:28) and again, "I always do what is pleasing to him" (Jn 8:29).

This very obedience to the Father, freely accepted, this submission to the Father, in opposition to the "disobedience" of the first Adam, remains the expression of the most profound union between Father and Son, a reflection of the trinitarian unity: "I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father" (Jn 14:31). Indeed, this union of will for the salvation of man reveals definitively the truth about God in his intimate essence--love. At the same time it reveals the original source of the salvation of the world and humanity, the "life which is the light of men" (Jn 1:4)."

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

Ai pellegrini francesi

Je voudrais saluer chacun des pèlerins d’expression française présents aujourd’hui, adultes et jeunes, venus notamment de France et de Belgique. Je les invite à honorer, vendredi prochain, le Sacré-Cœur de Jésus, dans lequel se manifeste l’amour extręme du Christ et la miséricorde du Père. A tous, je suis heureux de donner ma Bénédiction Apostolique.

Ai visitatori di espressione inglese

I express a cordial welcome to all the pilgrims and visitors. In particular I greet the Scandinavian groups: the Forsbacka Kammarkör from Valno in Sweden, and the Valen-Koret from Vestfold in Norway. I hope your visit will encourage you in your artistic endeavours.

A special word of welcome to the group from the Children’s Academy of Music of Greater Chicago. I am especially pleased that, young as you are, you are being fully introduced to the world of music. I hope that this visit will strengthen your attachment to what is right and good in all aspects of your lives.

* * *

I extend heartfelt greetings to the Japan Association of Volunteer Probation Officers, who are on a study-tour of Europe.

In a special way I wish to express my pleasure at the presence of the Delegation from the Japan Conference of Religious Representatives which has come to Rome in preparation for the celebration of the World Day of Peace on Mount Hiei in Kyoto. I offer my best wishes for the success of this initiative in favour of world peace. My prayers go with you.

And to all the English-speaking people present at this audience, from England, Ireland, India, Indonesia, Canada and the United States, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing.

Ai fedeli di lingua tedesca

Mit dieser kurzen Zusammenfassung meiner heutigen Audienzansprache grüße ich sehr herzlich alle Pilger deutscher Sprache: die genannten Gruppen, die Familien und Einzelpilger. Den Schwestern, die an einem geistlichen Erneuerungskurs in La Storta teilnehmen, erbitte ich die besondere Erleuchtung und Führung des Heiligen Geistes, auf daß sie in der Liebe und Erkenntnis Christi wachsen und ihn in ihrem Apostolat mutig bezeugen. Zugleich wünsche ich allen Pilgern erlebnisreiche und fruchtbare Tage in der Ewigen Stadt und erteile allen heutigen Audienzteilnehmern von Herzen meinen besonderen Apostolischen Segen.

Ai numerosi gruppi giunti dalla Spagna e da alcuni Paesi dell’America Latina

Saludo ahora cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, venidos de España y de América Latina. De modo particular, saludo a los Diáconos de la diócesis de Oviedo (España), ordenados el día de Pentecostés; al grupo mexicano Apostolado de la Virgen María y también a los peregrinos de la arquidiócesis de México.

* * *

Entre los grupos parroquiales, saludo a los Seles de las parroquias de San Pedro Mártir y del Santísimo Redentor de San Juan de Puerto Rico, así como a la peregrinación franciscana, también de Puerto Rico.

* * *

Saludo con mucho aprecio a los numerosos grupos juveniles, de manera especial a las Alumnas del Colegio “Pureza de María Santísima” de Colombia, junto con sus familiares y las Religiosas profesoras. A todos invito a vivir profundamente este Año Mariano que hemos empezado, intensificando la devoción a la Virgen María y haciendo, como ella indicó, lo que Jesús nos diga. Con gran afecto imparto a todos mi Bendición Apostólica.

Ai fedeli di espressione portoghese

Apresento a todos os ouvintes de expressão portuguesa saudações cordiais e os meus votos de bem. Em particular, saúdo gratamente: as antigas alunas das Irmãs de Santa Doroteia, provenientes do Brasil; e o grupo de casais, vindos de Guimarães, em Portugal. Levai, como um voto, que é prece no meu coração, que todos os casais façam da sua família “ igreja doméstica ”, onde brilhe o ideal cristão do amor, como dom recíproco e para com os filhos. Com a minha bęnção!

Ai pellegrini polacchi

Pozdrawiam wszystkich  pielgrzymów: z Warszawy, z parafii Matki Bożej z Lourdes - księża marianie, Warszawa-Praga; z parafii Matki Bożej Miłosierdzia, Warszawa-Stegny, również księza marianie; z parafii Matki Bożej Wspomożenia Wiernych, Czechowice-Dziedzice, diecezja katowicka; pielgrzymów z sanktuarium Matki Boskiej Bolesnej z Lichenia, księża marianie; również z Głuchołaz, z parafii św. Wawrzyńca; z Grudziądza, z parafii Najświętszego Serca Pana Jezusa - księża marianie; z diecezji gorzowskiej - parafia Podwyższenia Krzyża z Sulechowa. Prócz tego z parafii Matki Bożej Królowej Polski - Warszawa-Marymont, księża marianie; z Poznania Zespoł Pieśni i Tańca “Łany” oraz uczestników grup turystycznych . . . Myślę, że słowa dzisiejszej katechezy są bardzo trafnym i właściwym dopełnieniem tego, co przeżyliśmy podczas moich odwiedzin, mojej pielgrzymki w Polsce przed dwoma tygodniami. Niech owoce tej pielgrzymki trwają.

Ad alcuni gruppi italiani

Sono lieto di salutare voi, sacerdoti della diocesi di Brescia che festeggiate il 25° anniversario di Ordinazione, e voi, sacerdoti novelli di Bergamo. Carissimi, vi esorto ad esprimere nella santità della vita il mistero che celebrate all’altare e di cuore vi benedico.

* * *

Rivolgo la mia parola di benvenuto a voi, pellegrini di Settingiano, che numerosi avete qui accompagnato la statua della “Madonna della Rocca”, perché sia da me benedetta insieme con le due corone auree che l’adorneranno.

Volentieri accolgo il vostro desiderio e, mentre vi incito a custodire come Maria la continuità dell’amore, a Lei, Madre fedele e rifugio sicuro, affido le vostre persone, i vostri desideri di serena prosperità e le vostre aspirazioni di bene.

Con la mia Benedizione Apostolica.

* * *

Saluto i ragazzi di Casoria, che in rappresentanza dei loro compagni di scuola, sono qui presenti per consegnarmi un contenitore con numerose lettere concernenti la pace.

Con gioia vi accolgo e vi incoraggio affinché la pace, che desiderate per il mondo intero, trovi in voi e nei vostri amici persone capaci di impegnarsi a comunicare questo dono di Dio nelle proprie famiglie, scuole e città.

Questo è il mio messaggio che vi affido anche per quanti hanno patrocinato questa bella iniziativa.

A tutti la mia Benedizione Apostolica.

* * *

Saluto ora  il gruppo dei Podisti provenienti dalla diocesi di Alba. Per festeggiare il decennale di fondazione del Gruppo, sono giunti a Roma a piedi!

Vi ringrazio, cari Fratelli, per questo gesto significativo, nel quale ravviso una sincera testimonianza di fede e di amore al Successore di Pietro. Vi esorto a perseverare con entusiasmo nell’unire un saldo impegno di vita cristiana e di fedeltà alla Chiesa con la gioiosa e sportiva espressione della vita fisica. Di cuore vi benedico.

Ai giovani

Saluto con particolare affetto voi, giovani, che con l’entusiasmo caratteristico della vostra età rendete questa Udienza significativamente festosa. Carissimi, crescete nella consapevolezza che la radice profonda della vostra vita si pone nella grazia santificante del Redentore. Se a Lui generosamente vi conformerete, questa trasformerà la vostra esigenza di gioia, di verità e di giustizia in strumento della carità divina per riconciliare l’intera umanità nell’unico Amore.

E questa carità come fece pulsare il Cuore di Gesù fino al dono totale di sé, per il quale “ Dio ha disteso sulla croce le sue mani per circondare i confini dell’universo ” così farà pulsare il vostro in una quotidiana offerta a Dio e nel servizio del prossimo.

Con la mia Benedizione Apostolica.

Agli ammalati

Rivolgo la mia parola di conforto e di saluto a voi, malati. Carissimi, la situazione di infermità in cui versate non vi induca a perdere la speranza, ma perseverate invece in una totale e fiduciosa apertura a Cristo. Tale confidenza - come ben mostra la figura esemplare di S. Giovanni Battista, di cui ricorre la festa - vi consentirà non solo di riconoscere l’Agnello Innocente, che toglie il peccato e terge le lacrime di quanti soffrono, ma di additarlo come piena risposta all’umano anelito di vita; come colui che svela con quale tenero, infinito amore Dio ami l’uomo.

Vi accompagni la mia Benedizione, che di cuore imparto a voi ed a quanti con sollecitudine vi assistono.

Agli sposi novelli

Giunga, ora, il mio saluto a voi, sposi novelli. Mentre auspico che la vostra vita familiare, da poco iniziata, sia sempre serena e luminosa, mi è caro ricordarvi che la vostra unione sacramentale non possiede solamente l’importante caratteristica della fedele perseveranza nel tempo, ma anche quella della profondità interiore, in una comunanza di fede e di dedizione a Cristo.

Egli è il fondamento stabile della vostra esistenza coniugale, la quale - nel mondo suo proprio - è chiamata a celebrare l’efficace ricorso del Redentore nella e per la Comunità ecclesiale, testimoniando al mondo come l’amore, purificato da Dio, diventa sintesi di esistenza matura.

Di cuore benedico voi, i vostri propositi e le vostre aspirazioni di bene e di felicità.

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