Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The final destination of the People of God was the theme of Pope Francis' catechesis during this Wednesday's general audience. The Holy Father began by recalling St. Paul's words to the Thessalonians, when with anxiety they asked what would become of them: “we will be with the Lord forever”, remarking that it was one of the most beautiful phrases of the Sacred Scripture, and inviting those present in St. Peter's Square to repeat it three times.
He went on to comment on how, in the Book of Revelation St. John, returning to the intuition of the Prophets, describes the final and definitive dimension in terms of “a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”. And this, then, is who the Church is: she is the people of God who follow the Lord Jesus and who prepares herself, day by day, for the encounter with Him, like a bride with her groom. And it is not simply a turn of phrase: it will be a true wedding. Yes, because Christ, who made Himself man like us, and making us one with Him, by His death and resurrection, truly took us as His spouse. And this is none other than the fulfilment of the plan of communion and love, woven by God throughout history, the history of the People of God and the history of each one of us”.
There is another element that further consoles us and opens our heart: John says that in the Church, bride of Christ, the “new Jerusalem” is visible. This means that the Church, aside from being a bride, is called to become a city, the quintessential symbol of co-existence and human relations. How beautiful it is to already be able to contemplate, according to another evocative image from Revelation, all the peoples and populations gathered together in this city, as if they were all under the same roof, in God's home. And in this glorious setting there will be no more isolation, abuse or distinctions of any type – social, ethnic or religious – but we will all be one in Christ”.
“In the presence of this unprecedented and wonderful scene, hope cannot but be strongly confirmed in our heart”, he added, since “Christian hope is not simply a wish, a hope; for a Christian, hope is awaiting, fervently and with passion, the final and definitive fulfilment of a mystery, the mystery of God's love, in which we are reborn and which we already live. And it is awaiting someone who is about to arrive: the Lord Christ who is ever closer to us, day after day, and who comes to finally introduce us to the fullness of His communion and His peace”. Pope Francis underlined that the Church therefore has “the task of keeping hope alight and clearly visible, so that it may continue to shine as a sure sign of salvation and may illuminate for all humanity the path that leads to the encounter with the mysterious face of God”.