“There is always hope in the human heart, ”said Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki of Poznań, President of the Polish Episcopal Conference, at the International Eucharistic Congress on Wednesday morning. The chief pastor tied this hope first to the birth of Hezekiah the son of Ahaziah, from whom much was expected in his reign, and these hopes were fulfilled: Hezekiah carried out the first great religious reform in Judea, he abolished the sacrificial heaps columns, he cut down the sacred trees and broke the copper snake into pieces.
According to Archbishop Gądecki, this time-distant story teaches us two things. On the one hand, to achieve peace not in preparation for war, but in such a way that the law of God reaches the hearts of men and is kept. Then there will be shalom, or messianic peace, in our souls, which “means not only the absence of war, but also the harmony of mankind with God, men with one another, and man with nature”.
On the other hand, this story also teaches us, according to the Polish High Priest, that “authority must allow itself to be guided by moral law”. He noted that without a law of justice recognized by all, people would not be able to reach a full and certain agreement on anything. This order can only survive in God. If we break away from God, we also break away from ourselves, Archbishop Gądecki pointed out.
Regarding the prophecy, Archbishop Gądecki stated that it was fulfilled only in the person of Jesus. “This Scripture was fulfilled at the hearing of the ears today,” St. Luke was quoted as saying. As he put it, only he has the fullness of the Holy Spirit; the saints do not receive “the fullness of His soul,” but “His fullness”. The high priest stressed that Jesus rejects all forms of violence by the Holy Spirit as a possible mean of achieving our goals, and even, he added, “will bring peace with boundless, compassionate love, all the way to sacrificing His own blood for our sins”. And with the sacrifice of the cross, all nations embarked on a never-ending pilgrimage to “Mount Zion,” that is, the Church, from which the light of the Gospel teaches peace-making through gracious love.
Citing St. Bonaventura, the Polish high priest said: “Understanding that Christ is present as a sign in holiness does not cause difficulty, but accepting that he is indeed there in holiness, as well as in heaven, is very difficult; and in this way, it is not easy to believe that this is the most commendable thing. ” That is, he said, coexistence with Jesus cannot be exhausted in Holy Communion, we must strive to make our whole lives Eucharistic so that our actions will bear witness to Jesus living in our hearts.
According to Archbishop Gądecki, for peace between people, change in hearts must first take place, and for this, all people and groups must serve Christ. Without it, peace will be vulnerable as personal selfishness and human vanity have a negative impact on social structures.
Finally, the Polish chief pastor also applied the prophecy to the celebrated Virgin Mary of the day: the birth of the Virgin became a copy of the birth of the Son. “In every human being (…), child identity is secretly always present,” the archbishop said, adding that life is the first gift we receive. Quoting St. Andrew of Crete, he stated, “the tabernacle of the Creator of the universe has been rebuilt today; today, by the power of God’s incomprehensible plan, creation creates a new abode for the Creator”, and that is why we are all children of Our Lady, the Mother of Peace.
Photo: Tamás Thaler