Jubilee Year Helps Deepen Love Of God

by Rev. David C. Leopold

With the precision of a second hand moving across the face of a clock, the arrival of the year 2000 swept across all 24 of the earth's time zones, ushering in this special year.

Now that we are in the third month of the year 2000, has the initial enthusiasm so apparent on January 1 been maintained, or are we finding ourselves saying that it's a year no different from any other?

Catholics consider 2000 very important. We are celebrating Jubilee Holy year in anticipation of the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ, observed next Christmas.

As the year moves rapidly along, a sense of awareness of the history of the Jubilee Holy Years will help us appreciate the relevance and significance of the current one.

To mark the 13th centennial of the birth of Jesus Christ, Pope Boniface VIII instituted the first Christian Holy Year in 1300. A century later, the next one occurred, and from 1400 to our present day, Jubilee Years have taken place regularly at 25 year intervals, with the exception of the years 1800 and 1850.

In so many areas of our lives, time spent in preparation for a significant event is essential. Acknowledging this fact in regard to Jubilee Year 2000, Pope John Paul II encouraged Catholics to use the three years leading up to it as a time of intensified spiritual reflection. Each of the past three years focused on the identity of one of the three persons in the trinity. The year 1997 concentrated on the role of the Holy Spirit as the sanctifier; 1998 led us to a deeper love and appreciation of Jesus Christ as our lord and savior. During 1999, we reflected upon the working of God the father as the creator of heaven and earth.

With the arrival of Jubilee Year 2000, we become more aware of the characteristics that can deepen our relationship with God.

One is the idea of "Pilgrimage" - to the Holy Land, made sacred by being in the place where Jesus Christ was born, and to Rome, the city of the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Whether we travel to those distant lands or remain at home during the Jubilee Year, we can be "pilgrims" in the literal sense by following Jesus Christ more faithfully each day, so that we may ultimately enjoy the gift of eternal life in heaven.

As we move onward in this Jubilee 2000, may our efforts as individuals and as a community of faith aid us in accepting with enthusiasm the much loved invitation of Jesus: "Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

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