VATICAN CITY, FEB. 4, 2001 (Zenit.org).-Rather than remain a beautiful memory, the Jubilee Year must impel the Church toward a new missionary thrust in proclaiming the Gospel, John Paul II said today.
"Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and always, impels every ecclesial community to row into the depths, to begin the new millennium that opens before us, as though it is an immense ocean in which to venture," the Pope said from the window of his study, as he addressed the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
"In fact, the immense treasure of grace received throughout the Jubilee must now be translated into fervent resolutions and concrete operative lines," the Bishop of Rome stressed.
The Pope's phrase "row into the depths" recalled the day's Gospel passage and echoed a theme he touched on in his apostolic letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte" ("At the Beginning of the New Millennium"), which he signed Jan. 6 at the close of the Jubilee.
The Pontiff offered Mary as a model of "indomitable hope," recalling that, after the angel's annunciation and Jesus' conception, she immediately went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who needed help.
The Church, likewise, after reliving the mystery of the Incarnation in the Jubilee, "is called to row into the depths so that Christ will reach the men and peoples of all continents," John Paul II concluded.
Before bidding farewell to the faithful in St. Peter's Square who braved the bad weather to pray the Angelus with him, he looked up at the sky and said: "Thank you for the rain, we needed it."
Rome is having one of its mildest winters in years. Mosquitoes were buzzing around the city as recently as a few weeks ago.