Tertio Millennio Adveniente
Toward the Third Millennium
 
Page 14

Also for Oceania a Regional Synod could be useful. In this region there arises the question, among others, of the Aboriginal People, who in a unique way evoke aspects of human prehistory. In this Synod a matter not to be overlooked, together with other problems of the region, would be the encounter of Christianity with the most ancient forms of religion, profoundly marked by a monotheistic orientation.

b) Second Phase

39. On the basis of this vast programme aimed at creating awareness, it will then be possible to begin the second phase, the strictly preparatory phase. This will take place over the span of three years, from 1997 to 1999. The thematic structure of this three-year period, centred on Christ, the Son of God made man, must necessarily be theological, and therefore Trinitarian.

Year One: Jesus Christ

40. The first year, 1997, will thus be devoted to reflection on Christ, the Word of God, made man by the power of the Holy Spirit. The distinctly Christological character of the Jubilee needs to be emphasized, for it will celebrate the Incarnation and coming into the world of the Son of God, the mystery of salvation for all mankind. The general theme proposed by many Cardinals and Bishops for this year is: "Jesus Christ, the one Saviour of the world, yesterday, today and for ever" (cf. Heb 13:8).

Among the Christological themes suggested in the Consistory the following stand out: a renewed appreciation of Christ, Saviour and Proclaimer of the Gospel, with special reference to the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, where the theme of Christ's mission of preaching the Good News and the theme of the Jubilee are interwoven; a deeper understanding of the mystery of the Incarnation and of Jesus' birth from the Virgin Mary; the necessity of faith in Christ for salvation. In order to recognize who Christ truly is, Christians, especially in the course of this year, should turn with renewed interest to the Bible, "whether it be through the liturgy, rich in the divine word, or through devotional reading, or through instructions suitable for the purpose and other aids".(24) In the revealed text it is the Heavenly Father himself who comes to us in love and who dwells with us, disclosing to us the nature of his only-begotten Son and his plan of salvation for humanity.(25)

41. The commitment, mentioned earlier, to make the mystery of salvation sacramentally present can lead, in the course of the year, to a renewed appreciation of Baptism as the basis of Christian living, according to the words of the Apostle: "As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal 3:27). The Catechism of the Catholic Church, for its part, recalls that Baptism constitutes "the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church".(26) From an ecumenical point of view, this will certainly be a very important year for Christians to look together to Christ the one Lord, deepening our commitment to become one in him, in accordance with his prayer to the Father. This emphasis on the centrality of Christ, of the word of God and of faith ought to inspire interest among Christians of other denominations and meet with a favourable response from them.

42. Everything ought to focus on the primary objective of the Jubilee: the strengthening of faith and of the witness of Christians. It is therefore necessary to inspire in all the faithful a true longing for holiness, a deep desire for conversion and personal renewal in a context of ever more intense prayer and of solidarity with one's neighbour, especially the most needy.

The first year therefore will be the opportune moment for a renewed appreciation of catechesis in its original meaning as "the Apostles' teaching" (Acts 2:42) about the person of Jesus Christ and his mystery of salvation. In this regard, a detailed study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church will prove of great benefit, for the Catechism presents "faithfully and systematically ... the teaching of Sacred Scripture, the living Tradition of the Church and the authentic Magisterium, as well as the spiritual heritage of the Fathers, Doctors and Saints of the Church, to allow for a better knowledge of the Christian mystery and for enlivening the faith of the People of God".(27) To be realistic, we need to enlighten the consciences of the faithful concerning errors regarding the person of Christ, clarifying objections against him and against the Church.

43. The Blessed Virgin who will be as it were "indirectly" present in the whole preparatory phase, will be contemplated in this first year especially in the mystery of her Divine Motherhood. It was in her womb that the Word became flesh! The affirmation of the central place of Christ cannot therefore be separated from the recognition of the role played by his Most Holy Mother. Veneration of her, when properly understood, can in no way take away from "the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator".(28) Mary in fact constantly points to her Divine Son and she is proposed to all believers as the model of faith which is put into practice. "Devotedly meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church with reverence enters more intimately into the supreme mystery of the Incarnation and becomes ever increasingly like her Spouse".(29)

Year Two: the Holy Spirit

44. 1998, the second year of the preparatory phase, will be dedicated in a particular way to the Holy Spirit and to his sanctifying presence within the Community of Christ's disciples. "The great Jubilee at the close of the second Millennium ...", I wrote in the Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem, "has a pneumatological aspect, since the mystery of the Incarnation was accomplished 'by the power of the Holy Spirit'. It was ?brought about' by that Spiritóconsubstantial with the Father and the Sonówho, in the absolute mystery of the Triune God, is the Person-love, the uncreated gift, who is the eternal source of every gift that comes from God in the order of creation, the direct principle and, in a certain sense, the subject of God's self- communication in the order of grace. The mystery of the Incarnation constitutes the climax of this giving, this divine self-communication".(30)

 

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