Pope John Paul II was not only the supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church he epitomized the good and kind shepherd too. He cared for and protected his flock from harm. He called the faithful to pray and worship. He reminded them to keep the word of God and reflect his will in the world. He told them to respect and honor one another and he encouraged them to be in service to their fellow kind, especially the sick and the poor:.
Indeed, John Paul II was a champion for human rights and peace around the world.Ã‚Â No other pope traveled to as many countries as he did for peace and justice issues. He was the first pope to go into a synagogue and a mosque. The first pope to visit the wailing wall and he prayed like a Jew. Pope John Paul II also visited his assassin in prison and forgave him.
The pontiffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s message was:Ã‚Â ‘Love life, Respect life, in yourselves and in others. Give yourself to the service of life, not the work of death. Violence is the enemy of justice. Only peace can lead the way to true justice.’
He challenged world leaders to do better. Indeed, who can forget his pleas to Washington and Tel Aviv, to Bosnia and Latin America , Africa and beyond–to do more to ease the suffering of people?
In addition, he challenged his followers to be ‘Apostles of Divine Mercy.’Ã‚Â The pontiff saw Mercy as essential for the promoting God’s light in the world:Ã‚Â ‘Where, if not in the divine Mercy, can the world find refuge and the light of hope?’ For him the cross represented The Divine Mercy. Needless to say, the papal crest contains these symbols too: the golden cross against the blue background of hope and the M for mercy.
Now as millions around the world flock to pray for the ease and passing of his soul –it only seems right. For indeed, Pope John Paul II was the good and kind shepherd. May he rest in peace.
Doris Cadigan, Massachusetts