Probably no catholic pope in history has ever had as much newspaper or media coverage than the recently deceased Pope John Paul II. Twenty-six years as the head of the Catholic Church. Every corner of the world has been influenced by this simple priest from Poland who brought the message of Christ to the poor, the wealthy, the sick and oppressed. When you think of the impact he has had in Africa, South America and the United States by just preaching Christ, it is a reminder no only of the power of his personality, but of the power of the gospel that he was preaching. In the gospel of Christ we are always reminded that Christ said, when I was hungry you gave me to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me to drink, naked and you clothed me, when I was in prison you visited me. This man, whom we now mourn and grieve for, never forgot the poor people in India or Haiti. This man, who was such an idol to so many, did everything he could to bring peace between the Palestinian and Jewish people. This man, going to the Wailing Wall asking for forgiveness, asking for reconciliation, never forgot what his purpose as a priest was all about. One of the most beautiful photographs ever made of this Pope was the photograph taken when he went to the jail to offer forgiveness and reconciliation to the man who tried to assassinate him. Again, he was doing what God wanted him to do, to preach the gospel.
AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano
I think if this present Pope were given a few more years in life, he would have loved to see all of us bring the message of Christ to those people with whom we live and work every day. All of us know in our community and in our own neighborhood the people who are in need of comfort and consolation. Pope John Paul was an instrument of peace and by his life, he implemented that beautiful prayer of st. Francis: Lord make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred, let me bring love; where there is sadness, let me bring joy; where there is despair, let me bring hope. This Pope has been referred to as being a workaholic. I think this very flattering. This is what his mission in life was all about. Yes, he could meet the presidents and kings and queens. Yes, he could meet the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and socialize with all of them, but when he went to South America and saw the poor of that area, he was more determined to bring Christ to them by offering whatever he could do to make their lives a little more pleasurable and a little more peaceful.
When you analyze a man who has been in power for 26 years, you have a great historical series of memories to reflect upon. Pope John Paul was greatness in our midst. Pope John Paul was a legend in our times. No other Pope has affected humanity as he did. Pope John Paul tried to be Christ to all of us and for that he will have eternal rest and eternal peace.
To the People of Our Time,
so sensitive to the proof of concrete living witness,
the Church is called upon to give an example of reconciliation,
particularly within herself.
And for this purpose let us work to bring peace to people's minds,
to reduce tensions, to overcome divisions, and to heal wounds
that may have been inflicted by one upon another.
We must try to be united in what is essential for Christian faith and life,
in accordance with the ancient maxim:
"In what is doubtful, freedom; in what is necessary, unity; in all things, charity."
Unity must be the result of a true conversion of everyone,
the result of mutual forgiveness,
of prayer and of complete docility to the action of the Holy Spirit,
who is the Spirit of reconciliation.
- John Paul II
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