Christ Is Key to Decipher History, Says John Paul II

Comments on Canticle From the Book of Revelation

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 3, 2004 ( Christ is the key to decipher history, John Paul II told a general audience as he commented on the last book of the Bible.

During his traditional catechesis today, the Pope commented on the «Hymn of the Redeemed,» taken from the fourth and fifth chapters of the Book of Revelation, recited in the liturgy of vespers, the evening prayer of the Church.

Addressing some 8,500 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father pointed out two «fundamental elements» of the canticle, which constitute two important moments of God’s action in history: creation and redemption.

«Creation, in fact, reveals the immense power of God. As the Book of Wisdom says, ‘from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator,'» he explained.

«Because of this, it is a duty to raise a song of praise to the Creator to celebrate his glory,» he added.

The second element, redemption, is presented in the hymn with the startling image of Christ, the «immolated Lamb.»

As the Book of Revelation explains, Christ is able to decipher the meaning of history: «It is for him ‘to open the seals’ of the secret book that contains the plan willed by God,» the Pope said.

It is «not only a work of interpretation, it is also an act of fulfillment and liberation.» As he has been «slain,» he is able to «ransom» men «from the most diverse origins,» the Holy Father said.

In this way, the «Lamb has constituted for God ‘a kingdom and priests … and they will reign on earth,’ and this kingdom is open to the whole of humanity called to form the community of the children of God,» he added.

The canticle refers to this «common priesthood,» proper to all the baptized, John Paul II said.

Quoting the Second Vatican Council dogmatic constitution «Lumen Gentium,» No. 10, he noted that the faithful «join in the offering of the Eucharist. They likewise exercise that priesthood in receiving the sacraments, in prayer and thanksgiving, in the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity.»

The Pope described the conclusion of the hymn as a «moment of pure contemplation, of joyful praise, of the song of love to Christ in his paschal mystery.»

It is what the faithful experience in the liturgy, which enables them to «live already in some way, beyond the signs, in the heavenly liturgy, where the celebration is totally communion and feast,» he said.

John Paul II seemed in reasonable physical condition. As is now customary, he read only a few passages of the long text written in Italian. He then greeted pilgrims in 13 languages.

He was driven around St. Peter’s Square in the popemobile, greeting those present, and had the vehicle stop, to be able to speak to one of the children.

At the end of the audience, he thanked the faithful for the greetings he has received for his name day this Thursday, feast of St. Charles (Karol) Borromeo, which will be a holiday in the Vatican.

Today’s commentary was part of a series of papal meditations on the Psalms and canticles of vespers. Others are posted in the Wednesday’s Audience section of ZENIT’s Web page.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation