For many Catholics in my generation that grew up with our beloved pope, John Paul II is a beloved servant of God and saint that many will not forget as we reflect upon the many achievements from this great holy man of God.
Pope John Paul II was the most traveled pope, having paved the way for the church’s mission to go forth and bring Christ’s light to others ushering forth a “new evangelization” (https://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catechesis/catechetical-sunday/new-evangelization/upload/What-is-New-About-Evangelization-2.pdf).
John Paul II gave us hope. He gave us by God’s grace, new mysteries of the rosary with the Luminous mysteries in his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae with the biblical accounts of the Baptism of Jesus, Wedding at Cana miracle, Proclamation of the Kingdom by our Lord, Transfiguration event and Institution of the Eucharist by bestowing on us contemplative events in the life of our Lord for us to reflect more deeply upon (https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/2002/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20021016_rosarium-virginis-mariae.html).
John Paul II taught us forgiveness when he forgave his assassin who shot him who later converted to Christianity (https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/davidmack/ali-agca-flowers-pope-john-paul).
St. John Paul II reminded us of the sanctity of all life with his Theology of the Body imagery and reflections (https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning/catholic-teaching/theology-of-the-body)
For a man who achieved so much during his life and lost a great deal, St. John Paul II continues to show us the way to heaven and to the saints in glory by his example and way he lived his life. Having lost his father at the age of 20 and his mother and siblings at a young age, St. John Paul II grew up during the totalitarian takeover of his native Poland by the Nazis and later communist regime and dedicated his life to God as a priest (https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/21953/death-of-john-paul-iis-father-propelled-him-to-his-future-vocation).
Many journalists and modern day scholars attribute the fact that St. John Paul II was instrumental in breaking down the walls of communism (https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/pope/communism/). St. John Paul II is a pope that reminded us that no barrier was too great in bringing the image of Jesus to the ends of the earth and was truly a millennial pope for the ages.
St. John Paul II’s last words were “Let me go to the house of my Father” (https://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/18/international/europe/vatican-details-final-days-of-pope-john-paul-ii.html).
Let us recall the words from our beloved papa, “Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors to Christ!” (https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/homilies/1978/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_19781022_inizio-pontificato.html)
Let us ask St. John Paul II to pray for us from the heavenly choirs of angels this day as we labor in the Lord’s vineyard here on earth. Let us recall the words from St. John Paul II from his Angelus message in 1986 in which he proclaimed “we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song” (https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/angelus/1986/documents/hf_jp-ii_ang_19861130.html).
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. St. Pope John Paul II, pray for us and look upon us this day as we strive to do His will. Amen.