"A lay Catholic perspective"

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An Apostolic Letter

by Christine Kaskiw


?  ENJOY CELEBRATIONS. Though this aspect of my personality has been a happy source of teasing throughout the years, during times of celebration I experience Jesus' love in a way that blesses me.

I am looking forward to celebrating the Jubilee of the Year 2000. Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter, Tertio Millennio Adveniente wonderfully describes this upcoming event. I am encouraged by the hope and joy Pope John Paul expresses throughout this letter.

To experience the full blessing of this Jubilee that begins the Third Millennium, Pope John Paul invites each of us to surrender our hearts to God and to be enthusiastic in spreading the Good News. The Third Millennium is anticipated as a New Springtime in Christianity. Pope John Paul tells us that Divine Providence has been preparing the Church for this event for several decades starting with the Second Vatican Council. This Council "spoke in the language of the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes."1

Jesus invites us through the beatitudes to "love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly."2 Embracing this call means accepting Jesus' cross into our lives. Accepting this suffering can be quite uncomfortable at the best of times. Yet the witness of love that springs from this acceptance encourages those around us, revealing the Father's love to them.

Living the Beatitudes provides a solid foundation for the final three years of preparation before the Jubilee. During 1997 we focused on Jesus as the Redeemer of the world with the theme "Jesus Christ, the one Saviour of the world, yesterday, today and forever."3 We also asked Jesus to place within us a thirst for holiness and to enkindle a true love for the poor.

This year will focus on the Holy Spirit for "the Church cannot prepare for the new millennium in any other way than in the Holy Spirit."4 The Holy Spirit inspires hope within us and gives us courage to live Jesus' Gospel. We pray asking the Holy Spirit to give us listening hearts that are attentive to Jesus' voice. The Holy Spirit will transform our hearts and his grace through us will be an authentic witness of hope.

The year 1999 will be dedicated to the Father and his reconciling love for his people. During this year we will be encouraged to take a "journey of authentic conversion."5 A renewed desire for receiving the sacrament of Penance will tap into a profound source of grace and reconciliation with God. This beautiful sacrament brings tremendous healing and will deepen our love for God and for those around us. During this year in particular we should seek this sacrament frequently and pray for the gift of forgiveness in our lives, families and nations. Nothing can withstand God's love through forgiveness and this will strengthen us in expressing God's love to the poor who thirst for God's mercy.

Special emphasis should be given to Mary during this preparation period and throughout the next millennium. The gift of salvation would not have been possible if Mary had not consented. The Church raises her up to us as a source of faith and hope in following Jesus. Whenever we experience difficulties in following Jesus or we are concerned about someone, we should place ourselves immediately into Mary's hands. Mary's love as a mother will lead us swiftly to Jesus. Mary shares the thirst of Jesus to draw us into the Father's love. Mary's simple instruction, "Do whatever Christ tells you"6 points the way to the Father through her Son.

Christian unity is another important element of the New Springtime. We are invited to open our hearts to our Christian brothers and sisters of different denominations. We should pray and build together the Kingdom of God for "the Jubilee will be a promising opportunity for fruitful cooperation in the many areas which unite us; these are unquestionably more numerous than those which divide us."7 The peace that will blossom from this unity will be powerful!

The Third Millennium will be exciting times for us as Christians. What great joy too, that we will be much closer to fufilling our heart's desire — coming home to our Father's house.


1 Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 20

2 Luke 6:27

3 Ibid., 40

4 Ibid., 44

5 Ibid., 50

6 Ibid., 54

7 Ibid., 55