Skip to content

The Prophetic Pope Comes Home

By Deacon Keith Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC

One could almost hear an audible universal sigh of relief this past week, being breathed across the entire globe. "Thank God", we cried inside, "he is home." Millions paused to express their gratitude to God. Pope John Paul came home from the hospital.

It seemed particularly significant to me that this last appointment with sickness and suffering involved intense difficulty with breathing. This Pope has repeatedly called, with great prophetic urgency, for the "two lungs" of the Church, East and West, to breathe together again, in order for the "New Springtime" of Christianity in the Third Christian Millennium to truly begin. It struck me as one more prophetic action in a life that has become a prophecy. The coming communion between the two lungs of Christianity is one of the thematic areas of his prophetic message to both the Church and the world. It is one that has perhaps received the least attention, and seemingly made the least progress. It is as if he has been given a little more time to see that it takes root, so that we who are left behind can continue the work.

However, it will happen.

In the Old Testament, the prophet was often asked by the Lord to live the message that he proclaimed in a symbolic way. To, in a sense, become the message. One has only to call to mind Hosea's marriage to a harlot as a prophetic sign of Israel's infidelity to her Lord and the Lord's redemptive mercy, always ready to forgive. (Hosea 1:4-9). This tradition of prophetic action has continued throughout the history of our beloved Church in the lives of great men and women, the Saints and Heroes of the faith, who continue to "incarnate" God's love and reveal the beauty of the face of Christ in our midst.

It is in this tradition that Pope John Paul II now exercises his Petrine ministry. Jesus spoke to Peter: "Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." (St John 21:18) This Pope is so clearly poured out, in the words of St Paul, like a "drink offering" for others. Soon, he will "finish the race" (2 Timothy 4:6-8); and we will mourn. However, then he will be truly home. We will be left behind to carry on the great work that he has proclaimed in both word and deed.

This Pope is now a prophetic symbol of the message he has proclaimed for the world during these years that we have been privileged to have him with us. His stooped frame, his beautiful face, once filled with the light of heaven, now frozen from the ravages of Parkinson's disease; these have become a prophetic sign of the Civilization of love he proclaims; wherein every human person is viewed as an unrepeatable gift from the hand of God, beautiful, no matter what disability or apparent impediment they bear in their body, no matter how young or how old.

This extraordinary communicator, whose voice inspired multitudes and brought down that wall in Berlin, is now barely able to speak. This Pope is an extraordinary theologian, philosopher, playwright and writer who has authored more letters and books than any Pope in Christian history. When he really goes home, to the heart of the Father, he will leave us a legacy of love, still to be unpacked; containing the material from which the great restoration of the Church and - through her the world - will proceed. Yet, he can no longer even steady his hand to hold a pen. This athletic Pope, who once climbed mountains, now presides over the universal Church from a wheelchair.

Oh, the beauty and the prophetic weight of it all.

"Thank God" we cried inside, "he is home." Well, not really. We have just been given a gift, a few months, years... who knows. But we have him with us, at least for a while, to show us the way of love; to be that sign of contradiction in an age that has lost its way, to call us all to the foot of the Cross of the Savior, where he now stands with the beloved disciple John and the Mother of the Lord.

During this Lent, we are called by the Holy Spirit, still at work within the Church which is the Body of Christ, to turn from sin and believe the Gospel. We who bear the name Christian are to become the message that we proclaim. Pope John Paul, our brother in the Lord, is home with us for a little while longer, to give us strength by his example of suffering, borne out of a pure love for God and a life lived for others. Let us welcome him home by turning to Jesus Christ and carrying forward the work of the Gospel he proclaims.


Deacon Keith Fournier is a married Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia who also serves the Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy with permission. He is a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate. Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University, and the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law. He is the Senior Editor and Correspondent for Catholic Online.


Third Millennium, LLC VA, US
Deacon Keith Fournier - Deacon, 757 546-9580




More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.