June 11, 1982
“Discovering the mystery of God’s love”
On the afternoon of Friday, 11 June, the Holy Father visited the Marian sanctuary of Our Lady in Lujan, some seventy kilometers from Buenos Aires. During the solemn Eucharistic concelebration in the square, Pope John Paul delivered the following homily.
Beloved Brothers and Sisters,
1. Before the beautiful basilica of Lujan, dedicated to the “Pure and Immaculate Conception”, we are gathered this afternoon to pray at the altar of the Lord.
We wish to ask the Mother of Christ and Mother of each of us to present to her Son the deepest anxiety of our hearts, afflicted and thirsting for peace.
We wish today to pray for courage, hope and brotherhood from her who, since 1630, maternally welcomes here all those who come to implore her protection.
Before this blessed image of Mary, to whom my predecessors Urban VIII, Clement XI, Leo XIII, Pius KI and Pius XII showed their devotion, Peter’s Successor in the See of Rome also comes to kneel in the communion of filial love with you.
The cross of Christ on Calvary
2. The Liturgy which we are celebrating in this holy place, to which the sons and daughters of Argentina come in pilgrimage, places before everyone’s eyes the cross of Christ on Calvary: “But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalen” (Jn 19:25).
Coming here as the pilgrim of difficult times, I wish to re-read, in union with you, the message of these words, so well known, which sound the same way in different parts of the earth, but different at the same time. They are the same at different moments in history, but they assume a different significance.
From the height of the cross, supreme chair of suffering and of love, Jesus speaks to his Mother and speaks to his disciple. He says to his Mother: “‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!”‘ (Jn 19:26-27)
In this sanctuary of the Argentine nation, at Lujan, the Liturgy speaks of the elevation of man by means of the cross: of the eternal destiny of man in Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary of Nazareth. This destiny is revealed with the cross on Calvary.
3. The author of the Letter to the Ephesians offers testimony of this destiny of eternal and more elevated man, inscribed ;n the cross of Christ:
” Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has bestowed on us in Christ every spiritual blessing in the heavens” (Eph 1:3).
We see this Christ at the center of the Liturgy celebrated here at Lujan; high on the Cross, pledged to an ignominious death.
In this Christ we find ourselves also, raised to a height to which man can be elevated thanks only to the power cf God: it is the “spiritual blessing”.
This elevation through grace we owe to Christ’s elevation on the cross. According to the eternal designs of fatherly love, in the mystery of the Redemption, the one is achieved through the other and in no other way; only through the other.
Therefore, it is achieved eternally, since the love of the Father and the gift of the Son are eternal.
It is also achieved in time: the cross on Calvary in fact means a concrete moment in the history of mankind.
4. We have been chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before hill” (Eph 1:4).
This choice implies the eternal destiny in dove.
He has destined us ” to be his sons through Jesus Christ” ( Eph 1:5). The Father has given us the dignity of his adopted sons through his “Beloved”.
Such is the eternal decision of God’s will. In it is manifested the “glory of his grace” (Eph 1:6).
And the cross speaks to us of all this. The cross which today’s Liturgy places at the center of the thoughts and of the hearts of all pilgrims who have come from the various areas of Argentina to the sanctuary of Lujan.
The Bishop of Rome is with them today as a pilgrim of the special events which have filled so many hearts with anxiety.
5. Therefore I am with you, dear brothers and sisters, and with you I read again this profound truth of the elevation of mankind in the eternal love of the Father: a truth attested by the cross of Christ.
“We who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to dive for the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:11-12).
We must look toward Christ’s cross with the eyes of faith and discover in it the eternal mystery of God’s love, about which the author of the Letter to the Ephesians speaks to us. This is, according to the words we have just heard, ” the purpose of him who accomplishes all things, according to the counsel of his will” (Eph 1:11).
The will of God is the elevation of mankind through Christ’s cross to the dignity of a child of God.
When we look at the cross, we see in it the passion of man: the agony of Christ.
He revealed Word and the light of faith permit us to discover through Christ’s Passion the elevation of man, the fullness of his dignity.
Also our Mother
6. It is thus that, when we embrace Christ’s cross with our gaze the words addressed to Mary from the height of that cross assume for us even greater significance: “‘Woman, behold, your son!”‘ (Jn 19:26). And to John: “‘Behold, your mother!”‘ (Jn 19:27).
These words are a kind of will of our Redeemer. He who with his cross fulfilled the eternal plan of God’s love, who with the cross restores the dignity of the adopted sons of God, the same one entrusts us, at the moment of completing his sacrifice, to his own Mother as children. In fact, we maintain that the phrase “behold your son” refers not only to the one disciple who remained near the cross of his Master, but also to all men.
7. The tradition of the sanctuary of Lujan has placed these words at the very center of the Liturgy, in which it invites all pilgrims to share. It is as if it meant: learn to look upon the mystery which constitutes the great perspective of the destinies of man on earth, and also after death. Also learn to be sons and daughters of this Mother, whom God in his love gave to his own Son as Mother.
Learn to look in this way, especially during difficult times and in circumstances of greater responsibility. Do so at this moment in which the Bishop of Rome wants to be with you as a pilgrim, praying at the feet of the Mother of God at Lujan, sanctuary of the Argentine nation.
An act of offering
8. Meditating upon the mystery of the elevation of each person in Christ: of each child of this nation, of each child of mankind, I repeat with you the words of Mary: For he who is mighty has done great things for us (cf. Lk 1:49), “and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear him.
He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the conceit of their hearts. . .
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever” (Lk 1:49-55).
Sons and daughters of the Argentine nation who are united here at this sanctuary of Lujan! Give thanks to the God of your fathers for the elevation of each person in Christ, the Son of God!
From this place in which my predecessor Pius XII believed he had reached “the depths of the soul of the great Argentine people” (Radio message of 12 October 1947 at the First National Marian Congress), continue to grow in faith and in love for mankind.
And you, Mother, listen to your sons and daughters of the Argentine nation, who welcome as if directed to them the words pronounced from the cross: Behold, your son! Behold’ your Mother!
In the mystery of Redemption Christ himself entrusted us to you. each and every one.
We have come today to the sanctuary of Lujan in the spirit of having been placed in your care. And I – Bishop of Rome – also come to pronounce this act of offering of each and every one to you.
In a special way I entrust to you all those who, because of recent events, have lost their lives: I commend their souls to eternal rest in the Lord. I also entrust to you – all those who have lost their health and are recovering in hospital, so that during their trials and sufferings their souls may feel comforted.
I commend to you all families and the nation. May everyone share in this elevation of man in Christ proclaimed by today’s Liturgy. May they live the fullness of faith, hope and charity as adopted sons and daughters of the Eternal Father in the Son of God.
Through your intercession, O Queen of Peace, may the ways to the solution to the present conflict be found, in peace, justice and respect for the dignity of each nation.
Hear your children, show them Jesus, the Savior, the way, truth, life and hope. Amen.
(C) Harmony “The Teachings of Pope John Paul II” CD-ROM