04/08/2005, 00.00
VATICAN

Wojtyła's death and the promising seed

by Bernardo Cervellera

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Everybody was there: the poor he always embraced; the powerful he admonished and encouraged; the young he sought out; the old with whom he shared his last years of illness. They all came on this Friday of sorrow, a day of Pasch and resurrection, to surround him with love and affection, to say their gratitude for his life and death.

Thanks to Pope John Paul II leaders from Muslim countries like Syria and Iran came, so did the leaders of Israel and the US as did envoys from the rich countries as well as ambassadors and faithful from the poorest lands of Africa.

Instead of divisions, oppositions, exploitation people were reconciled for once in a world that is said to be global, meeting around a simple cypress wood casket.

TV screens in Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and Oceania infinitely amplified this global sense of peace that rose around the witness of the late Pope.

The Pope who fought against injustice, who called for an end to terrorism, who told the mighty to defend the family and life was able to bring together an assembly that is more than a simple political gathering.

In St Peter's square the humble casket contained the remains of a man who "never wanted to make his own life secure, to keep it for himself", a man who shook the world with his faith, his demands for justice, his offer of mercy.

The funeral service with its dual ritual—Latin and Eastern—revealed much about Wojtyła's legacy.

The Pope who asked that the Church "breathe with its two lungs', that of the East and that of the West, was embraced by the Churches of Europe and of the Middle East, of Russia and of the Americas, of the Ukraine and of India.

As the casket containing the Pope's body was taken on his last journey before burial in the grounds of the Vatican with the echoing sound of an applause of 15 minutes in the background, a quote from Card Ratzinger's Meditations for the Way of the Cross comes to mind, which the Pope had asked him to write: "I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit"  (John,  12: 24).

Today someone was buried, but today something was also sown: the idea that a more brotherly world and a Church reawakened from the slumber of a "tired faith" are possible.

When countless people cried "Santo, Santo, Santo subito!" (Sainthood, sainthood, make him a Saint now!), calling on the Church to canonise the Pope, they were in fact saying: "Let us stand up and go for we wish to live by what he taught us."

It was a funeral but one that was livened by applause; a time of sorrow, but also one of joy for the new promise.

The future belongs to the Grace of God, but also to us and to the Pope's blessing from the "window in the House of the Father".

Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
Prayers for the conclave, conferences on John Paul II
15/04/2005
The Pope's legacy in the two Koreas
14/04/2005
A million people attend John Paul II's funeral
08/04/2005
Three million mourners in Rome for Pope's funeral
13/04/2005
Card. Ratzinger: The love of Christ, the dominant force of our beloved Holy Father
08/04/2005