I was thinking just how appropriate the double naming of Pope John Paul II was
Like John throughout his life he took Mary into both his heart and his home. As a mystical theologian he preached some of the deep mysteries of God that betrayed his utter love and devotion of God. John beautifully told us of Jesus as the bread of life and of the meaning of the Eucharist and our Holy Father both preached about and loved Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and that that he wrote about this awesome mystery. It was no coincidence that he would die in a year he had proclaimed as the Year of the Eucharist. John told us how Jesus had elevated marriage by performing his first public miracle at the Wedding of Cana. The Pope throughout his life he both honored and worked towards preserving the sanctity of marriage. That as a pastor he counseled and prepared married couples and even as Pope he still performed marriages. He truly saw the family as what Vatican II called the Domestic Church and during the year he proclaimed the year of the family he wrote a Letter to Families. St. John gave us a Gospel which from the first line proclaimed some of the deepest mysteries of the Most Holy Trinity, the Pope in preparation for the new millennium gave us the year of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to reflect on the deep well of mystery of the Holy Trinity. John the disciple who Jesus loved laid close to the heart of Jesus at the Last Supper. Is there any doubt that throughout this life that Pope John Paul II did not also do the same?
Like Paul he traveled throughout the world preaching the Gospel. St. Paul was the most traveled apostle and the Pope was the most traveled Pope. Wherever those two went they also left behind disciples. That Christ was imaged and preached to the world by these two wonderful men. He suffered through various persecutions like living through oppressive regimes, being shot and offered it all for the love of Christ. St. Paul laundry list of persecutions was long indeed. This Holy Father truly lived St. Paul’s statement "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church." Like St. Paul preached to the people of Athens, the Pope adapted the Gospel to preach to those who had embraced other philosophies. St. Paul considered himself a father to his flocks around the world and the Holy Father was truly a papa to us who constantly was concerned and prayed for us.
But most of all the Holy Father imaged Christ. Jesus started out vibrant in his ministry and the first apparent end was on the cross as he suffered for the love of us. The Pope also started out physically vibrant when he was elected and even though he suffered from age and disease he also did not come down off the Cross. Pope John Paul II truly was another Christ, a Vicar of Christ who will not soon be forgotten.
I am sure that I have only touched on a small number of the possible parallels and if any come to your mind please comment on them.