Today is the memorial of St. John Paul II who just recently was canonized by Pope Francis. I could not help but think of him when I read today’s first reading, which I would like to reread in part to you again:
I became a minister by the gift of God’s grace that was granted to me in accord with…. his power. To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ…
I am sure that after he was elected pope, John Paul II read that verse more than once and reflected on it in his own life.
My friends, I was blessed to have been living in Rome at the time of John Paul II’s election. I still recall the white smoke from the Sistine Chapel and the cardinal coming out on the loggia and announcing his name Wojtyla. It sounded so African to our ears that night that we expected to see a man from Africa come out. Instead, it was a man from Poland!
Yes, St. John Paul II truly preached to the Gentiles. He travelled widely during his 26 year pontificate. He announced the Gospel. He would say in Italian, “Spalancate le porte a Cristo!” which translated means, “Open wide the gates of you life to Christ!” Indeed, open wide our hearts to Jesus Christ who has come into our world and is the only way to fulfillment and peace. This was his message. Open yourselves to encounter Jesus! He is the way, the truth, and the life.
My dear people, let us today open wide our lives, our hearts and our minds to the presence of Jesus who comes to us always.
Spalancate le porte a Cristo!