The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, says because of everything Pope has done for the Church and because of his witness to the Christian life, the Holy Father already is “John Paul the Great.”
Because of an injury he sustained while at the Vatican, Cardinal Rivera was unable to preside at a Mass in Mexico in honor the Pontiff for his 25th Anniversary, but the Apostolic Nuncio for Mexico, Archbishop Guiseppe Bertello, read the homily that the Cardinal had prepared.
The Mass was celebrated in the Basilica of Guadalupe, and was attended by civil authorities and a multitude of faithful.
In his homily, Cardinal Rivera thanked God for the “great gift to Church” that the Pontificate of John Paul II represents, “a gift for the entire world, and especially a great friend for Mexico, since we have seen in him the great love God has for us.”
“In this Mass of thanksgiving, we are in communion with all of the Churches throughout the world that are giving glory to Lord in these days, because during the last 25 years we have all seen that the Holy Father has been and continues to be a beautiful letter from God to the world,” he added.
The Cardinal said that “soon we will celebrate 25 years since the Pope’s first apostolic visit to the hill of Tepeyac, where he entrusted his apostolic mission to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Dark Virgin, as he affectionately has called her, and where, according to his own words, God inspired in him the missionary style of his Pontificate.”
Cardinal Rivera also commented on the Marian aspect of this Pontificate, saying the Pope’s devotion to Mary “is not only a feeling or cultural or family tradition, it has profound roots in the Gospel and in theological study.” “Reflection upon the Virgin Mary led John Paul II to consider the place of women in the world and in the Church, especially in his Apostolic Letter ‘Mulieris Dignitatem’, on the dignity and vocation of women.”
He also said “one of the many characteristics of the Holy Father has been his courage in proclaiming the Gospel in concrete situations, contrasting the will of God with the thinking of man.”
“Just as the Apostle Paul never looked for praise or honor from men, but rather cared for his sons and daughters as a mother does, the Pope has endured criticism and insults, all the while showing gratitude, love, and bringing down the walls of hatred and whatever creates division. Just as Paul, he endures suffering to fill up in his earthly life what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ,” the Cardinal said.
“For this reason, and for everything His Holiness does, he is already ‘John Paul the Great.’ Let’s pray to God, who chose him and sent him to us as a great gift,” he concluded.