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Reflections on Pope John Paul II by Father Jay Finelli

The more I read, and the more I hear about Pope John Paul II, the more I am inspired by the deep faith and trust he had in God. His whole life was centered on his love for Jesus Christ and service to Him. On the day of his death, the Holy Father wrote a note with the assistance of his long time secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dzieisz. In it, the Pope was encouraging his personal aides not to weep when the Lord would call him. "I am happy, and you should be as well." "Do not weep." "Let us pray together with joy." What an awesome testimony! Even in his death, Pope John Paul was not concerned with his own well being. Throughout his life, the Holy Father was concerned with the spiritual, physical, and psychological well being of all people--not just his Catholic flock.

There are so many stories that demonstrate this fact during the almost 26 1/2 years he served as head of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II was a person who took "time to smell the flowers." He did not miss any person who came into his presence. He made personal eye contact with the millions of pilgrims with whom he came in contact. This touched each person in a very unique way. "It is as if I were the only person in the world." We could see it in the personal touch of kissing babies and reaching out to touch the elderly and the handicapped. The greatest thing about Pope John Paul II is that he was real--what you saw is what you got. His personal contact with each person flowed from a heart filled with love for the individual.

The great testimony to Pope John Paul II was demonstrated while he lay dying. From the moment he took a turn for the worse, people started to flow into Rome. After the announcement of his death, it was nearly impossible to book a seat with any airline that flies into Rome. Not only were the airlines booked, but the trains and busses were so booked that people walked to Rome from countries throughout Europe. For days, lines went for miles just to spend a few short moments with his earthly remains. And finally, on the day of his funeral, it is said that there were some 3 to 4 million pilgrims and over 100 dignitaries present and the television viewers numbered in the billions.

In a time that is so unstable with war, violence, and disrespect of the human person, God raised up a saint, a great man to show us the way. God bless John Paul the Great for his unfailing witness to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! May he enjoy the well deserved reward in the kingdom of our Heavenly Father.

God love you, 
Father Finelli
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