Approaching Year 2000

January 03 2003

The year two thousand will be an important anniversary of the greatest event in the history of the human race: the incarnation of the Son of God. It will see the reawakening of an awareness of the real presence of God, the Saviour of humanity. God has never been absent from our lives, nor is He unaware of this turbulent phase in human development. Quite the opposite, He is in the thick of it. As a result, 2000 will be a year when people turn back to God, looking to Him with faith and attention. But it will also be a year in which we are asked for a greater commitment towards the social welfare of others: an adequate distribution of goods and services, and a new relationship between individuals, families, nations and their peoples.

In December, a three-year period of preparation for this year of grace began. During this time, we are encouraged to undertake a journey which entails the enlightenment of our minds and a change in our lifestyle. It is like slowly progressing towards a goal, making stops to rest on the way, as if we were part of a convoy of pilgrims.

According to the guidelines suggested by Pope John Paul II, 1997 is the first year of this ‘Trinitarian itinerary’ and should be dedicated to getting to know Jesus Christ and the significance of the salvation which, through His incarnation, he gifted us two thousand years ago, and which has been continually renewed through the Church ever since. Every Christian knows that Jesus is not only the end of the Christian faith, but also its beginning and its substance. He is the Son of God who came into the world to bring the redeeming Gospel, the Good News, to the whole of humanity. But we must also remember that He is the Risen Lord, the living God, and we can see Him throughout the world in the faces of all those who believe in Him and carry His message, and in the expression of all those who are suffering.

Certainly, Jesus’ way is not particularly easy; one has only to read the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ (Matthew, 5 - 7), which could almost be considered the Constitution of the Christian Church. Yet we shouldn’t feel discouraged by the great sacrifices and commitments that the Gospel requests of us, just as we shouldn’t ever think ourselves free from the temptation to refuse our own cross and flee from it. Christian life should be seen as a long period of growing in faith, a growth which requires, above all, a conversion of our hearts, a distancing of ourselves from thoughts and actions dictated by consumerism. By conversion, Jesus meant loving God above all else; remembering that money is not the most important thing; facing our trials with patience and with faith, treating others with kindness and with tolerance, always searching for honesty and justice, and being at peace with ourselves and others.

In 1997, we must concentrate on the figure of Jesus Christ: the unique story of His life, His teachings, His all-embracing effect on world history, His presence in our lives as the Risen Lord, and His salvation which touches every one of us. Let us remember Him in our hearts, and as we make our way towards the year 2000, let’s remember to carry in our pilgrim’s rucksack the Gospel, symbol of our faith, and the enthusiasm which must be typical of all Christians.

Updated on October 06 2016