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Ioannes Paulus PP. II
Ecclesia in Africa

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  • CHAPTER III
      • 61
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61. Given the close and organic relationship that exists between Jesus Christ and the Word that the Church proclaims, the inculturation of the revealed message cannot but follow the "logic" proper to the Mystery of the Redemption. Indeed, the Incarnation of the Word is not an isolated moment but tends towards Jesus' "Hour" and the Paschal Mystery: "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (Jn 12:24). Jesus says: "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself" (Jn 12:32). This emptying of self, this kenosis necessary for exaltation, which is the way of Christ and of each of his disciples (cf. Phil 2:6-9), sheds light on the encounter of cultures with Christ and his Gospel. "Every culture needs to be transformed by Gospel values in the light of the Paschal Mystery".95

It is by looking at the Mystery of the Incarnation and of the Redemption that the values and counter-values of cultures are to be discerned. Just as the Word of God became like us in everything but sin, so too the inculturation of the Good News takes on all authentic human values, purifying them from sin and restoring to them their full meaning.

Inculturation also has profound links with the Mystery of Pentecost. Thanks to the outpouring and action of the Spirit, who draws gifts and talents into unity, all the peoples of the earth when they enter the Church live a new Pentecost, profess in their own tongue the one faith in Jesus, and proclaim the marvels that the Lord has done for them. The Spirit, who on the natural level is the true source of the wisdom of peoples, leads the Church with a supernatural light into knowl- edge of the whole truth. In her turn the Church takes on the values of different cultures, becoming the "sponsa ornata monilibus suis", "the bride who adorns herself with her jewels" (cf. Is 61:10).




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