VATICAN CITY, JAN. 12, 2005 ( God, who entered history in Christ, guarantees the definitive victory of good over evil, says John Paul II.

At today's general audience, the Pope reflected on the "judgment of God" canticle taken from the Book of Revelation, 11:17; 12:10,12, as he continued his series of meditations on the Psalms and hymns that form part of the Liturgy of Vespers, the Evening Prayer of the Church.

In the canticle appear God and the Lamb, namely Christ, "judging human history according to good and evil, also showing the ultimate goal of salvation and glory," the Holy Father told the crowd gathered in Paul VI Hall.

God's entrance in history "is not only to block the violent reactions of rebels but above all to exalt and recompense the just," he said. "The latter are described with a series of terms used to delineate the spiritual countenance of Christians.

"They are 'servants' who adhere to the divine law with fidelity; they are 'prophets,' gifted with the revealed Word which interprets and judges history; they are 'saints,' consecrated to God and respectful of his name, namely, ready to worship him and to follow his will."

The Pope continued: "Among them are the 'small and great,' an expression dear to the author of the Book of Revelation to designate the people of God in its unity and variety."

The Psalm then refers to the defeat of Satan, who, having been "cast out" from heaven, "no longer has great power."

"He knows that he has but a short time, because history is about to undergo a radical change of liberation from evil and that is why he reacts in great fury," John Paul II explained.

"On the other side appears the risen Christ, whose blood is principle of salvation," he continued. "To his victory are associated the Christian martyrs who chose the way of the cross, not yielding to evil and its virulence, but commending themselves to the Father and uniting themselves to the death of Christ through a testimony of surrender and courage that led them to love not their lives even unto death."

In this connection, the Holy Father concluded his meditation by quoting a moving prayer attributed to Simeon, bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, in Persia, as he faced martyrdom in 341.

"I want to persevere heroically in my vocation, fulfill with fortitude the task that was assigned to me, and be an example to all your people," the Pope quoted the martyr as saying.

The quote continued: "I shall receive life that knows not pain, or concern, or anguish, or persecutor, or persecuted, or oppressor, or oppressed, or tyrant, or victim; there I shall no longer see the king's menace, nor the terror of prefects; no one who takes me to court and continues to terrify me, no one who drags me or frightens me.

"The wounds of my feet will heal in you, O way of all pilgrims; the exhaustion of my members will find rest in you, Christ, chrism of our unction. In you, chalice of salvation, sadness will vanish from my heart; in you, our consolation and joy, the tears of my eyes will be wiped away."

John Paul II appeared in good form before his audience, which numbered slightly less than usual, as the winter months see fewer visitors in Rome.

When greeting the pilgrims, especially the Poles, the Pope demonstrated his sense of humor, improvising messages with them in his mother tongue.

Translations of John Paul II's other meditations on the Psalms and biblical canticles are posted in the Wednesday's Audience section of ZENIT's Web page.