Print Edition: Feb. 22, 2015
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BY Jim Cosgrove
Pope John Paul II spoke on the gospel call to serve and how young people play a vital role in their communities and the spread of the gospel. (See “Young, Single, and Afire with Faith,” p.1)
Jesus went in search of the men and women of his time. He engaged them in an open and truthful dialogue, whatever their condition. As the good Samaritan of the human family, he came close to people to heal them of their sins and of the wounds which life inflicts, and to bring them back to the Father's house. Young people of World Youth Day the Church asks you to go, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to those who are near and those who are far away. Share with them the freedom you have found in Christ. People thirst for genuine inner freedom. They yearn for the life which Christ came to give in abundance. The World at the approach of a new millennium, for which the whole Church is preparing, is like a field ready for the Harvest. Christ needs laborers ready to work in his vineyard. May you, the Catholic young people of the world, not fail him. In your hands, carry the Cross of Christ. On your lips, the words of life. In your hearts the saving grace of the Lord.
(World Youth Day, 1993)
BY Jim Cosgrove
God the Father is the origin and model of all generation, and all human life and human parenthood is a reflection of the life given to us in Christ by God, the Father of Mercy. In Mulieris Dignitatem, Pope John Paul II speaks of how all human fathers—and mothers—can find in their roles a reflection of the fatherhood of God.
This characteristic of biblical language—its anthropomorphic way of speaking about God—points indirectly to the mystery of the eternal “generating” which belongs to the inner life of God. Nevertheless, in itself this “generating” has neither “masculine” nor “feminine” qualities. It is by nature totally divine. It is spiritual in the most perfect way, since “God is spirit” (John 4:24) and possesses no property typical of the body, neither “feminine” nor “masculine.” Thus even “fatherhood” in God is completely divine and free of the “masculine” bodily characteristics proper to human fatherhood. In this sense the Old Testament spoke of God as a Father and turned to him as a Father. Jesus Christ—who called God “Abba-Father” (Mark 14:36), and who as the only-begotten and consubstantial Son placed this truth at the very center of his Gospel, thus establishing the norm of Christian prayer—referred to fatherhood in this ultra-corporeal, superhuman and completely divine sense. He spoke as the Son, joined to the Father by the eternal mystery of divine generation, and he did so while being at the same time the truly human Son of his Virgin Mother.
Although it is not possible to attribute human qualities to the eternal generation of the Word of God, and although the divine fatherhood does not possess “masculine” characteristics in a physical sense, we must nevertheless seek in God the absolute model of all “generation” among human beings. This would seem to be the sense of the Letter to the Ephesians: “I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named” (Ephesians 3:14-15). All “generating” among creatures finds its primary model in that generating which in God is completely divine, that is, spiritual. All “generating” in the created world is to be likened to this absolute and uncreated model. Thus every element of human generation which is proper to man, and every element which is proper to woman, namely human “fatherhood” and “motherhood,” bears within itself a likeness to, or analogy with the divine “generating” and with that “fatherhood” which in God is “totally different”—that is, completely spiritual and divine in essence; whereas in the human order, generation is proper to the “unity of the two”: both are “parents,” the man and the woman alike.
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