IN JESUS CHRIST EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE REACHES FULFILMENT
Pastoral Letter
Cardinal Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja, S.J.
Archbishop of Jakarta, Indonesia

The following is the English-language text of the pastoral letter written by Cardinal Julius Riyadi Darnmatmadja, S.J., Archbishop of Jakarta, Indonesia, on preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. The letter was read at all the Sunday Masses in the Archdiocese on the weekend of 28-29 June 1997.

1. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Year 2000 is often called by the world and local leaders a year important to pay attention to. The Year 2000 is imagined as the beginning of a new era, called "era of globalization", a period that brings challenges as well as new opportunities. For us Catholics, the Year 2000 carries a still more profound and more important meaning as being connected with the birth of Jesus, who brought to us the grace of human life in the world being renewed. For that reason Pope John Paul II urges us to prepare ourselves as well as possible, in order to welcome that year of grace which he officially names "Year of the Great Jubilee".

2. Dear brothers and sisters,

The birth of Jesus, 2,000 years ago, has brought new things, which are really extraordinary. The prophets before him spoke in the name of God, but Jesus was God himself, who spoke in his own name. In him not man who was seeking God, but the person of God had come to speak to man about and to show the path to him. It fullness and summit of a long process, by which God fulfilled his plan to save mankind and release them of their sins, and at the same time raise them - in Jesus -to children of God. On the basis of the birth of Jesus, our religion is the expression of our faithful response to God, who revealed himself as God who came to save us. In Jesus Christ everything - time, mankind, as well as the whole universe - arrives at their fulfilment because they enter into their origin, i.e., God their Creator, the source of their existence. In Jesus, God united himself with mankind. Consequently, in Jesus the whole of mankind and the universe became united with Jesus as their Head (see Eph 1:10). So it is proper that we celebrate in thanksgiving the year full of grace, namely the year of the Great Jubilee.

3. Within the context of awaiting the year of the Great Jubilee, the Archdiocese of Jakarta has decided to declare the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, 29 June 1997, as the official beginning of preparing for that Jubilee. In conformity with the directives of the Central Committee, the year 1997 is the special year of Jesus Christ; the year 1998: of the Holy Spirit and the year 1999: of God the Father. The Indonesian Bishops' Conference and the Central Committee of "Lenten Action for Development" (APP) have adapted themselves to the preparatory programme of the Jubilee Year. So the theme of APP this year was "New Life in Jesus Christ" and as the theme was integrated into the Eucharist year, it was supplemented with "centred on the Holy Eucharist".

June 29th was the date when I started my task as Archbishop of Jakarta. May this coincidence stimulate us in becoming more and more inspired to prepare ourselves for, and welcome, the upcoming Great Jubilee. The committee concerned will provide you with guidelines on how we can best prepare ourselves during the few years ahead.

4. The new situation that has been, created by the birth of Jesus is one of "liberation" of various oppressive situations, which is conducive to well-being and peace. As the coming of Jesus was announced and proclaimed symbolically in the Old Testament, so the "liberation of sin and peace", which are fruit of his suffering, blood and death, can be traced back also in the Old Testament. The commemoration of Israel's liberation from slavery in Egypt was celebrated in the month of Abib (Ex. 23:15). Once in every 50 years a year of "jubilation" was announced, that is, a year of joy for having been released from debt, and also a year of peace. Although the command to hold a jubilee year was largely wishful only, yet it was the basis for the rise of a social teaching that later became clearer in the New Testament.

5. The Jubilee Year gave rise to a social teaching, calling people to conversion as their response to the grace of renewal which they receive from God So let us take part in the stages of preparation for the coming of the Jubilee Year in the Year 2000, seeing it as an opportunity for introspection and a time of reflection, conducive to conversion in all fields of life. Remembering that the grace of renewal consists of "liberation and peace", let us create again a new atmosphere in our own Church, religious societies and institutions, which are affected by disrupted brotherhood, practices of injustice, dishonesty, mutual suspiciousness, unforgiveness and intolerance. As fellow men and citizens let us try to do the same in society and our working environment.

6. Let us increase the quality of life and ministry of every priest, so that it becomes cleansed of a possible worldly spirit, ambition, personal interest, so that their love and work exclusively and wholeheartedly be for the sake of Christ only whom they love and serve, and for the sake of serving the community of the faithful and society. Let us increase the quality of life of all the religious, so that they become free of the trend of looking at work in a way that sidelines the spirit of the Gospel, which actually should be demonstrated and made visible as the basis of life and work in accordance with their charism. Let us increase the quality of life and work of the entire faithful, so that they become freed of a habit of only attending to worldly and materialistic affairs, so that God may more and more possess and reign over their hearts, and become more and more obedient in living and ordering their life in conformity with his will. May all of us accept Jesus' work of liberation in an ever better way by cleansing ourselves of our sins, faults, shortcomings and weaknesses in all aspects of life.

7. Recently society-life shows that difference can and easily will give rise to conflict, hostility and vandalism. Therefore, let us increase the quality of our brotherhood by developing love which is able to conquer hatred, forgiveness which is stronger than revenge, trust which is more solid than suspicion. Let us increase the quality of societal life by respecting human dignity, especially that of the poor and the neglected, by sowing justice, honesty and a spirit of sacrifice for the sake of the common welfare. When Jesus came into the world and began his work, he quoted the words of the prophet Isaiah: "the Spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore, he has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release prisoners; to announce a year of favour from the Lord" (Lk 4:18-19). It was the direction of renewal that he showed. Let us await the coming of the Year 2000 in the same spirit.


Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
16 September 1998, page 5

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