16. The term "Jubilee" speaks of joy; not
just an inner joy but a jubilation which is manifested outwardly, for the
coming of God is also an outward, visible, audible and tangible event, as
Saint John makes clear (cf. 1 Jn 1:1). It is thus appropriate that
every sign of joy at this coming should have its own outward expression.
This will demonstrate that the Church rejoices in salvation. She
invites everyone to rejoice, and she tries to create conditions to ensure
that the power of salvation may be shared by all. Hence the Year 2000 will
be celebrated as the Great Jubilee.
With regard to its content, this Great Jubilee will be, in a certain sense, like
any other. But at the same time it will be different, greater than any other. For the
Church respects the measurements of time: hours, days, years, centuries. She thus goes
forward with every individual, helping everyone to realize how each of these
measurements of time is imbued with the presence of God and with his saving activity.
In this spirit the Church rejoices, gives thanks and asks forgiveness, presenting her
petitions to the Lord of history and of human consciences.
Among the most fervent petitions which the
Church makes to the Lord during this important time, as the eve of the new
millennium approaches, is that unity among all Christians of the various
confessions will increase until they reach full communion. I pray that 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. It would thus be quite helpful if, with due respect for the
programmes of the individual Churches and Communities, ecumenical agreements
could be reached with regard to the preparation and celebration of the
Jubilee. In this way the Jubilee will bear witness even more forcefully
before the world that the disciples of Christ are fully resolved to reach
full unity as soon as possible in the certainty that "nothing is
impossible with God".