Suddenly all is brightness, a silvery light more dazzling than sunlight. Everything is transformed by this light which comes from, surrounds, and comprises Our Lord'' glorified Body.
The man in the cell is Joseph of Arimethea. He, too, has been maltreated, but his sorrow is obviously greater than his physical misery.
"My Lord!" he exclaims, moving from his sitting position to kneel before Jesus, Who smiles at him with Infinite Love.
"Now that you have witnessed the truth, you will follow the Light into eternity. No longer be afraid. Soon you will be released. Go to the house where My Apostles are gathered and wait and pray with them."
"Yes, Lord, Yes!" Joseph's prayer is complete, from his heart. But Jesus is already gone, and I follow to yet another place.
I am within the temple, which is a place of chaos, as on-lookers, temple guards, priests, scribes, and general citizens have come to gaze and exclaim over the damage to this place in the Friday afternoon earthquake. Off in a side room, I see Gamaliel, who rests his head upon his arms as he sits at a table, covered in dust and debris. His body posture is one of defeat, as that which lies in ruin at his feet is proof of the reality of Jesus Christ the Messiah. The sign he had needed was given. But he did not have the faith to believe when the Messiah was in the midst of the people.
"You have witnessed the power of God," says Our Lord, Who stands before Gamaliel.
Startled, the elderly man looks up. His face has aged considerably since the day of the Sacred Passion. "Yes, the Power of God. He said I would receive this sign. But I was blind and stubborn and did not recognize Him."
"Behold, Gamaliel, you have learned a great lesson. Your eyes saw first God's Justice and Power. Now behold His Glory, which has been won for all who will believe."
Jesus' full Divinity transforms His body into its Glorified state, and Gamaliel is so shaken, so filled with awe, reverence, and respect that he can barely rise to his feet.
"O! My God, forgive an old man whose wisdom was clothed in pride. I am your servant, the least of them, if You will have me."
"Gamaliel, it will be your voice which shall shake the walls which remain in this temple. It will be your voice, which will help My Apostles to establish the Gospel, which I have given to all the world. Let Israel hear and believe, for the Kingdom of God lives forever in the hearts of the just."
"O! My Lord, all You say I will do. I…. May God have mercy on Israel."
"I am Mercy. Israel has rejected Me. Know that many generations shall pass before Israel proclaims its messiah, who will be not I, but My enemy. Know that when this happens the Kingdom of God is at hand and I will return to claim My Kingdom. Go now to the house where my Apostles and My Holy Mother are gathered in prayer. You will stay among them until your heart is filled with the knowledge you must have to go forward. I bless you, Gamaliel. Speak of Me often that all might know and love Me."
I am again above Jerusalem within Our Lady's embrace and she beckons me to look at the distant horizon. As if by a miracle, which it can only be, I see a succession of scenes where Jesus appears. I recognize His meeting with the two men on the road to Emmaus. I see also that those disciples which He had sent to Antioch to prepare the people to receive the Gospel, see the Glorified Christ and are instructed as to their duties. To all, Jesus' Love is paramount, and upon all, His Peace descends, leaving each heart renewed, stronger.
There are hundreds of these brief scenes. They are swift, and I do not recognize each person to whom Our Lord appears. But I do not need to know whom. What is important, I am given to understand, is that all of these apparitions occur in a short span of earthly time, and many occur simultaneously. How wonderful is the life, which awaits us when we are no longer tied and bound to our heavy bodies, not subject to the laws of time, place, distance, etc. Then very gently, led by Our Blessed Mother, I find that all of these interior visions fade and I am in my own room, pen in hand, and I sense the profound peace and renewed heart which I have also received. May God be praised!
Speaking to an audience of 20,000 people in St. Peter's Square, the Pontiff observed that relations between Christians and Jews have been marked by difficulties, "from the first days of the Church about until today." On the other hand, he noted, there have been noteworthy moments of "peaceful and constructive dialogue." He mentioned his own visit to a synagogue in Rome in 1986, and the recent Vatican publication reflecting on the Holocaust.
Among the things that Christians and Jews share in common, the Pope said, the most important is "a large part of the history of salvation" as represented in the Old Testament. Although Christians must interpret the Hebrew Scriptures differently, in light of the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection, the stories of God's relations with his people remain the same.
Also, the Holy Father continued, Christians and Jews share "the common duty to protect the sanctity of human life in all forms and the defend the dignity of each brother and sister."
Finally, John Paul noted that the Catholic Church has derived much of her liturgical treasure from the Jewish tradition. He pointed to the scriptural basis for Eucharistic prayers, and the Psalms used especially in the Liturgy of the Hours.
Today, the Pope concluded, dialogue with Jews requires that Christians be "more conscious of the facts that bring us together." As for the "sad events and tragedies of the past," he said, the dialogue should now point toward the complete elimination of "the bad seed of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism."
Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore and Archbishop Spyridon of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America said in a statement that the meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches will be rescheduled for 2000. The commission has met periodically since 1979 and was set to meet on June 5 at Mount St. Mary's College near Baltimore.
The decision to postpone the meeting was made by the international co-chairs of the commission, Cardinal Edward Cassidy and Orthodox Archbishop Stylianos of Australia who said they hoped to use the delay to "the benefit of this dialogue." The postponement came as NATO entered the sixth week of a bombing campaign against Yugoslavia which has a majority population of Serbian Orthodox Christians.
The Seminary opened in Moscow in 1994 with 27 students. Because of difficulties with Russian authorities, the Seminary moved to St. Petersburg in 1995. It is directed by Italian Father Bernardo Antonini.
The Seminary's opening was announced in 1993 by Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewick of Moscow, who is also apostolic administrator for European Russia. Father Antonini made provisional housing arrangements for the young aspirants to the priesthood, while awaiting restitution of Church property in Moscow, which would have made space available for classrooms, a library, and places of reflection and prayer.
Although he had all the required permits from the government and the municipality, Father Antonini did not succeed in obtaining the buildings. The Church of the Immaculate Conception, for instance, was turned into a commercial cooperative; since the operators refused to leave the building, the decision was made to transfer the seminary to St. Petersburg.
Archbishop Kondrusiewick expressed his enthusiasm for the rebirth of the Seminary. "We are very grateful to the priests of so many countries, both near and far, as for example Argentina, who come to help us and the faithful. But, sooner or later a Church must stand on its own feet. In order to do so, the Russian Church needs Russian priests." At last, the long awaited moment has arrived for the Church in Russia. ZE99042702