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Light of the world

Friday, December 16, 2005

John 5:35-36
Jesus says,

"John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me."

Pope John Paul II was an accomplished intellectual who taught philosophy and theology in Polish universities and seminaries. He also endured great suffering during World War II and the Communist occupation of Poland after the war. After he became pope he found ways to influence world opinion and eventually watched the Iron Curtain collapse. His influence was immense, politically, socially, and intellectually. When he speaks, he has earned the right to be heard. Here are his reflections on this passage from John:

If Jesus were only a wise man like Socrates, if he were a "prophet" like Mohammed, if he were "enlightened" like Buddha, without any doubt he would not be what he is. He is the one mediator between God and humanity.

He is mediator because he is both God and man. He holds within himself the entire intimate world of divinity, the entire mystery of the Trinity and the mystery both of temporal life and immortality. He is true man. In him the divine is not confused with the human. There remains something essentially divine.

But at the same time Christ is so human! Thanks to this, the entire world of men, the entire history of humanity, finds in him its expression before God. And not before a distant, unreachable God, but before a God that is in him - that indeed is he. This is not found in any other religion, much less any philosophy.

--from Crossing the Threshold of Hope

My hope is built on you, Lord, and it is made certain over the time of my life. You are who you say you are.

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