The preparations are underway to launch a three-year jubilee in the entire Catholic Church to welcome the third millennium. Pope John Paul II has set his heart on leading Christendom to the year 2000 by declaring a three-year jubilee in honor of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Father to welcome the Great Jubilee 2000, a jubilee year of redemption.
The “jubilee” does not only refer to a feeling of inner joy and happiness. Jubilee is a tangible, visible, and audible expression of happiness. It must be a joy that is expressed externally. It should contaminate others. The other side of jubilee that is often forgotten is that jubilee is also a time for forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing. It is the time to let go of resentments and pent-up bitterness. Then, the joy of jubilee becomes complete. Unforgiveness kills. Bitterness leads to death. Resentment robs us of peace. The call of the jubilee year is a joy that is the fruit of healing and forgiveness.
The jubilee year is also a good time to look back at the two thousand years behind us, to see the mistakes, to be sorry for them, and to allow them to teach us what to avoid and what good to do.
Looking back, we see how much pain and anguish dies in us has brought to Christ’s faithful. At significant times in the past, Christians were more concerned about being right than being loving. There were periods in our two-thousand-year history as a Church when we were more passionately attached to the truth at the risk of being violent and uncharitable. “The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it wins over the mind with both gentleness and power.” We can be so intolerant of those who do not share our beliefs and so obsessed with seeing everything and everybody submit to Christ and the Church. We can forget so easily indeed that the greatest is love, and the greatest in the kingdom is the one who stoops down to serve.
While the sin of our ancestors in the faith was mostly a passion for the truth leading to intolerance and eventually the division of Christian Churches, the sin of our age seems to be cold indifference to the things of Christ, leading to religious ignorance and the perception that God is a thing of the past and has no significance for modern-day people and events. The liturgy is no longer perceived as the source and summit of our Christian lives. The question of modern man is no longer whether God exists or not. The question is, “Does God still matter to us?” or “Do we still matter to God”? Our religious ceremonies are oftentimes seen as empty rituals of our plastic faith. Our rich vestments and vessels at Mass have become sources not of inspiration and edification but of puzzlement and scandal. Are we really the Church of the poor that we declare to be? We can be lost in following the requirements of good and beautiful worship, overlooking the need for beautiful and good worshippers. Seeing all these, what should be done?
The Church should admit that although she is holy on account of Christ, she is also a community of wounded sinners who need forgiveness and want to forgive. A Church that admits her faults and wrinkles does not diminish her honor. Sincerity and humility are the crowns of all virtues.
The Church needs to be awakened or we shall lose by default. We need to evangelize again. We need to teach the world Christ using new methods, approaches, and expressions. We cannot just hide in the trite and archaic expression of our ancestors. Christ must be presented anew, fresh, alive yesterday, today, and forever.
Let us now quote the words of the jubilee song composed by Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo, which capsulizes the entire message of the jubilee.
It is a time of joy, a time of peace,
A time when hearts are then set free,
A time to heal the wounds of division.
It’s a time of grace, a time of hope,
A time of sharing the gifts we have,
A time to build a world that is one.
It’s a time of prayer, a time of praise,
A time to lift our hands to God.
A time to recall all our graces.
A time to touch, a time to reach
Those hearts that often wander
A time to bring them back to God’s embrace.
It’s a time to give thanks to the Father, Son and Spirit.
And with Mary our Mother, we sing this song:
Open your hearts to the Lord
And begin to see the mystery
That we are all together as one family.
No more walls, no more chains,
No more selfishness and closed doors
For we are in the fullness of God’s time.
It’s the time of the Great Jubilee!
THE GREAT JUBILEE 2000
Jesus Our Light