Common Grounds

The Evangelical Pope | Room for Something New

January 22, 2024

Living Words from John Paul II

Edited by Abraham A. van Kempen


Published Sunday, January 21, 2024

The Evangelical Pope | Room for Something New

Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love


               7A man reaps what he sows.
               __ Galatians 6: 7


The Vatican, 29 October 1991 | Instead of planning and describing a brave new world, we should try to heal the old one. Changing a person means healing him from his mistakes. We must redesign human society and return those abandoned to it, ordering and protecting their lives by all means possible.


It takes a lot of courage today to take these small steps of healing and helping, essential to fulfilling these existential tasks that serve the actual renewal of people and our world. And it takes courage to feel personally called to it and empowered by God's grace and to start doing it on your narrow path in life. Let us repeat this: If we cannot change the whole world, we should at least change the small piece of the world within our reach. If we cannot achieve great things for all of humanity, we must not abandon those we can save, even if it is just one. We should start where there is room for something new.


Christians do not expect that people who have become strangers to themselves can create an ideal world on their own since they do not have the possibility of self-redemption. Instead, they believe that the revolution must begin with people themselves: It is not about people that something must first change but within people themselves. We believe that in Jesus Christ, this healing can also happen to others through us as Christians.


At the beginning of Christian life, there is not the task, the demand, or the program, but rather an empowerment: the conviction that one can participate in liberating one's fellow human beings from the problems and imposed conditions. Your life contains this opportunity that God gives you. Are you ready to use them? This question is disturbing because it can force someone to reorient their life completely.


Achieving a certain standard of living and keeping up with the general standard of performance would not be the first questions - as vital as they remain - but all of this would become secondary, would, as it were, become material for a possible answer to this fundamental question: Do you want to get serious about your life?


This empowerment to help heal your fellow human beings from the difficulties of their time? Would you use that as a guiding principle in your life?


Excerpted from:


Ansprache von Johannes Paul II. An Die Pilger, Die Zur Seligsprechung von Adolph Kolping Nach Rom Gekommen Sind, Audienzenhalle - Dienstag, 29. Oktober 1991


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