Pope Francis on Wednesday encouraged the faithful never to lose hope, because Christian hope is not simply an optimistic desire, it is based on the fact that one day the people of God will be reunited with Him.
Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience, the Pope’s catechesis focused on the fulfilment of God’s promises in the coming of Christ at the end of time, Vatican Radio reports.
Recalling the words of Paul the Apostle who comforted the Christian community of Thessalonica that was asking what were they to expect, Pope Francis said his words “Thus we will be with the Lord forever” are amongst the most beautiful of the New Testament.
They are not simple words – the Pope pointed out – and they carry with them such a dense message and such great hope. And asking those present to repeat the words together with him three times, he told the faithful to be credible witnesses of this hope.
Pope Francis also referred to the joyful encounter between the Lord and his people using the image of “the new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven, prepared as a bride adorned to meet her husband” (cf. Rev 21:2).
He said this spousal imagery contains a profound truth: by taking on our flesh, Jesus united humanity to himself, and at his coming we will see the consummation of this mystic marriage in the wedding feast of heaven.
The vision of the new Jerusalem – the Pope said – also reminds us that the Church is meant in God’s plan to be a City in which all men and women live at last in harmony and blessed peace.
So – he said – Christian hope is our joyful expectation of the Lord’s coming and the fulfilment of his saving plan for the human family.
In every generation the Church holds high the lamp of this hope before the world. Today – he concluded – let us ask whether our own lamps are alight with the oil of faith, and to what extent we live as credible and joy-filled witnesses to our hope in God’s promises.
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