John Paul II's Address During General Audience

VATICAN CITY, JAN 6 (ZENIT).- Just as Jesus called God "Abba," "Daddy,"
he also called Mary "mommy," according to the Holy Father in the first
general audience of the new year. The Holy Father also gave his "most
cordial" best wishes for the Jubilee to the gathered pilgrims, in the
hope that it will "be a solid time of grace, reconciliation and interior

In concentrating his talk on Mary, "beloved daughter of the Father," the
Pontiff explained that the first word of the angel's greeting to Mary is
a call to joy: Rejoice! "With this first word addressed to Mary, the
Father reveals his intention to communicate real and lasting joy to

"The infinite tenderness of God, who is Love, is revealed in the
maternal traits of the Mother of Jesus. Mary is the only mother who can
say, speaking of Jesus, 'my Son.' Jesus calls the Father 'Abba,'
'Daddy,' while He addresses Mary as 'Mommy,' placing in that name all
His filial affection."

Jesus' later use of "woman" to refer to his mother in no way diminishes
this tender love. By this address, Christ made it clear that "she is not
simply a biological mother, but, rather, has a mission to fulfill as
'Daughter of Sion' and mother of the people of the New Covenant."

As Jesus' mother, Mary "she assumed the educational endeavor implied in
her maternity" Her behavior "surely had an influence on Jesus' conduct,"
while at the same time she allowed herself "to be influenced and formed
by her Son."

Some 7,000 pilgrims were present at the audience, held in Paul VI hall.
Among them was a group of circus performers in their costumes, who came
up afterwards to greet the Holy Father and have their picture taken with

While thousands of pilgrims continued to cross the threshold of the Holy
Door of St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope concluded his catechesis by
emphasizing that the role fulfilled by Mary today is "help the Church to
walk as she did in Christ's footsteps"


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