VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2001 (ZENIT.org).- John Paul II stressed today
that the Jubilee that has just ended, must not rest in empty rites
but help Christians to renew their unconditional commitment to
justice, which can be concretely translated into gestures such as the
reduction of the foreign debt of poor countries.
The Pontiff quoted very firm words from the Old and New Testaments,
during his traditional Wednesday meeting with pilgrims, and made it
clear that God refuses "worship isolated from life, liturgy separated
from justice, prayer detached from daily efforts, faith devoid of
The Vatican General Audience Auditorium evidenced that the Holy Year
had ended. The number of pilgrims at this second general audience of
the year 2001 was considerably reduced, to a total of some 3,000,
which gave the meeting a simple and intimate character.
The Pope referred to vibrantly eloquent Biblical passages, such as
the voice of the prophet Amos, who depicts God "turning his gaze from
us and not accepting the rites, feasts, fasts, music, and
supplications, when a just man is sold for money outside the
sanctuary, a poor man for a pair of sandals, and the head of the poor
is trampled on like dust."
The Apostle to the Gentiles was no less exacting, the Pontiff said.
"In face of a community plagued by divisions and injustice, as
Corinth was, Paul reaches the point of calling for the suspension of
Eucharistic participation, asking Christians to examine their own
conscience first, so as not to be guilty of the body and blood of the
However, "efforts for justice, the struggle against every oppression,
and the safeguarding of the dignity of the person, are not
expressions of philanthropy motivated solely by membership in the
human family. Instead, they are choices and acts that have a
profoundly religious inspiration, they are true and proper sacrifices
that are pleasing to God," the Holy Father added.
John Paul II quoted one of the most thought-provoking Fathers of the
Church when he asked: "Do you wish to honor the body of Christ?" St.
John Chrysostom replied, "Do not neglect it when it is naked. Do not
render it honor here in time with silk fabrics, and then neglect it
outside, where it suffers cold and nakedness."
The Pontiff recalled that, from its Biblical origins in Leviticus,
the Jubilee kept justice at the center. It was the year of the
liberation of slaves and the restoration of expropriated or lost
"In modern historical coordinates, the return of lost lands could be
expressed, as I have proposed several times, in the total
cancellation, or at least reduction, of the international debt of
poor countries," the Pope added.
This is, therefore, the "liberation" proposed by the Pontiff at the
end of the Jubilee. It is not liberation based on violence or the
class struggle, but on "solidarity of the poor among themselves,
solidarity with the poor, to which the rich are called, solidarity of
workers and with workers."
Because, at "the end of the life of every person, and at the close of
the history of humanity, the judgment of God will be based precisely
on love, the practice of justice, and assistance to the poor."
"Lived in this way, the Jubilee that has just ended will continue to
produce abundant fruits of justice, liberty, and love," John Paul II
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