AITH IS A GIFT from God by which we are able too see everywhere the signs that God's plan of salvation is being fulfilled throughout history.
This faith vision helps us avoid pessimism and become optimistic. This optimism comes from faith in God our Father, hope in His Son Jesus Christ, and love in the Holy Spirit.
God our Father is Lord of the universe and he blesses us with goodness and mercy. God is preparing what the Holy Father calls "a great springtime for Christianity". With the eyes of faith we can already see signs of this springtime:
- people are drawing closer to Gospel ideals and values;
- most people want no more war and violence;
- there is a universal respect for the dignity of the human person;
- a desire for freedom, justice, and brotherly and sisterly relating is prevalent;
- racism and nationalism are not wanted any more;
- the collapse of major negative forces such as communism, Naziism, apartheid, and militarism has and continues to happen;
- various denominations of Christians want to reunite.
Hope in Jesus Christ as the only Saviour of the world is needed to sustain us. As well, we need to pray as Jesus taught us, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
Love in the Spirit of the Father and Jesus living in us empowers and commissions us to spread the Good News of salvation to everyone. Two-thirds of the world's five billion people are waiting to be evangelized. In North America three out of four Catholics do not go to Church and need our outreach to invite and welcome them back.
Our faith, hope, and love is so needed locally in every parish, especially as we approach the Great Jubilee Year 2000. The Holy Father has given us a program for the next three years to prepare ourselves:
- 1997 is to be spent focusing on Jesus Christ today, yesterday, and forever;
- 1998 focuses on the Holy Spirit as the One Who empowers us to prepare;
- 1999 is our journey to the Father, beginning with Reconciliation and ending with the great celebration in the year 2000.
There are many things we can do on the parish level to implement this program. Daily we can unite with the Holy Spirit praying in us as we prepare for the Jubilee Year. We can gather together to study the Holy Father's encyclical "Toward the Third Millennium" and become captivated by its spirit, and carry out the program the Holy Father has outlined, in ourselves, our families, our parish community, our neighbourhood. We can put up billboards on church property to remind everyone of the preparation required for the Jubilee Year 2000. We need to be ecumenical-minded in order to bring about unity among all Christians and non-Christians. Our young people need us to walk with them on this journey of preparation. They will be the people of the third millennium and its springtime. Also, a parish mission is something that will help everyone prepare.