ON THE First Sunday of Advent this year, Pope John Paul II issued a "Bull" officially proclaiming the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, entitled "Incarnationis Mysterium" ("The Mystery of the Incarnation"). In it he reflects on the meaning of the Great Jubilee, but also on the mystery of Christ's birth. Here are some short extracts from the document.
"The birth of Jesus at Bethlehem is not an event which can be consigned to the past. The whole of human history in fact stands in reference to him: our own time and the future of the world are illumined by his presence Jesus is the genuine newness which surpasses all human expectations and such he remains for ever, from age to age. The Incarnation of the Son of God and the salvation which he has accomplished by his Death and Resurrection are therefore the true criterion for evaluating all that happens in time and every effort to make life more human
"The coming of the Third Millennium prompts the Christian community to lift its eyes of faith to embrace new horizons in proclaiming the Kingdom of God. It is imperative therefore at this special time to return more faithfully than ever to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, which shed new light upon the missionary task of the Church in view of the demands of evangelisation today
"Proclaiming Jesus of Nazareth, true God and perfect Man, the Church opens to all people the prospect of being "divinized" and thus of becoming more human. This is the one path which can lead the world to discover its lofty calling and to achieve it fully in the salvation wrought by God
John Paul II, "Incarnationis Mysterium"