Wednesday October 22, we celebrated for the first time the memorial of John Paul II. This is very unique for me. This is the first time that someone in my life time has been canonized and raised to the roll call of saints.
Usually when we celebrate memorials of men and women who faithfully followed God they lived several hundred years before our time. But not John Paul II. He was on our TV screens. He came to visit Texas. He was very much apart of our faith life for many years.
It is quite a unique experience to be celebrating his life and legacy now at the altar as one enrolled in heaven.
Some years ago I received a book, not sure from who, that was entitled "Breakfast with the Pope." This was a small book that had little daily reflections or excerpts from Pope John Paul II's writings, homilies, teachings etc.
One of those pages contains what I believe to be the central theme of his teaching in regards to grace and the human heart. This is what St John Paul II had to say, "The true Christian is a living gospel, written in flesh and blood, proclaimed with every beat of the heart. By our life we assert the relevance of Christ and the unceasing newness of the gospel."
Think about that for a moment or two or the rest of your life.
The gospels are not just words written on a page in the bible: MAtthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Rather the gospel is being written by our life daily. It is a lived reality. We belong to the narrative of salvation. Each day a new chapter is being written about Jesus and his church and his impact by the life we live.
This is pretty powerful stuff.
As John Paul II also stated, "we are not the sum total of our failures and weakness, but the sum total of our Father's love for us and the real capacity to become the image of the son."
St. John Paul II intercede for us.
Here are few more quotes from John PAul II, "Stupidity is also a gift from God, but one must not misuse it."