The Holy Father | Encyclicals | Download
Ioannes Paulus PP. II
1979 03 04
IntraText SC - Text
9. The divine dimension of the mystery of the Redemption
As we reflect again on this stupendous text from the Council's teaching, we do not forget even for a moment that Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, become our reconciliation with the Father48. He it was, and he alone, who satisfied the Father's eternal love, that fatherhood that from the beginning found expression in creating the world, giving man all the riches of creation, and making him "little less than God"49, in that he was created "in the image and after the likeness of God".50. He and he alone also satisfied that fatherhood of God and that love which man in a way rejected by breaking the first Covenant51 and the later covenants that God "again and again offered to man"52. The redemption of the world-this tremendous mystery of love in which creation is renewed-53 is, at its deepest root, the fullness of justice in a human Heart-the Heart of the First-born Son-in order that it may become justice in the hearts of many human beings, predestined from eternity in the Firstborn Son to bé children of God54 and called to grace, called to love. The Cross on Calvary, through which Jesus Christ-a Man, the Son of the Virgin Mary, thought to be the son of Joseph of Nazareth- "leaves" this world, is also a fresh manifestation of the eternal fatherhood of God, who in him draws near again to humanity, to each human being, giving him the thrice holy "Spirit of truth"55.
This revelation of the Father and outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which stamp an indelible seal on the mystery of the Redemption, explain the meaning of the Cross and death of Christ. The God of creation is revealed as the God of redemption, as the God who is "faithful to himself"56, and faithful to his love for man and the world, which he revealed on the day of creation. His is a love that does not draw back before anything that justice requires in him. Therefore "for our sake (God) made him (the Son) to be sin who knew no sin"57. If he "made to be sin" him who was without any sin whatever, it was to reveal the love that is always greater than the whole of creation, the love that is he himself, since "God is love"58. Above all, love is greater than sin, than weakness, than the "futility of creation"59, it is stronger than death; it is a love always ready to raise up and forgive, always ready to go to meet the prodigal son60, always looking for "the revealing of the sons of God"61, who are called to the glory that is to be revealed"62. This revelation of love is also described as mercy63; and in man's history this revelation of love and mercy has taken a form and a name: that of Jesus Christ.