Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Pope: Come Lord Jesus!

Explains the book of the Apocalypse at his Wednesday Audience....

From Asia News Italy:

But speaking then about the one of the symbols of the Apocalypse (the scroll no one could open that drove the apostle to tears, Apoc.5:4), he adds: “Probably this cry expressed the bewilderment of the Asian churches about the silence of God in the face of persecutions they were subject to then. It is a bewilderment that could well reflect our dismay in the face of serious difficulties, misunderstandings and hostilities that the Church still suffers today in several parts of the world. They are sufferings the Church certainly does not deserve, just as Jesus himself did not merit his torment.”

Speaking off the cuff, the pope continued: The “meaning of the history of mankind”, “the destiny of history” is in the hands of Jesus Christ, who the Apocalypse reveals as the “slaughtered Lamb, defenceless, wounded, dead, but upright, alive, participating in the divine power of the Father”. “Jesus, although he was killed by an act of violence, instead of collapsing to the ground, paradoxically remains firmly on his feet, because the resurrection has definitely won over death”.

The meaning of victory over persecution was affirmed by Benedict XVI when he explained the symbol of the “Woman who delivers a male Son, and the complementary one of the Dragon who has by now fallen from the heavens. Although active in the persecution of the Woman and her other children, he has now been overcome at the core and his ultimate defeat will be unmistakably manifested.” Here too, the pope talked off the cuff for a while, explaining that the Woman is Mary, but also the church “that gives birth with great suffering in every age, defenceless, weak. While she is persecuted by the Dragon, she is protected by the consolations of God. It is this woman who triumphs in the end, not the dragon.” The pope continued spontaneously: “The Woman who is persecuted appears at the end like a Bride, the new Jerusalem, where there are no more tears and everything is light, because her light is the Lamb.”

“For this reason,” continued Benedict XVI, “the Apocalypse of John, although it is pervaded by continual references to suffering and tribulations – the obscure face of reality – is just as much permeated by frequent hymns of praise that sort of represent the luminous face of history... We are faced here with a typical Christian paradox, according to which suffering is never perceived as the last word, but is rather seen as a point of passage towards happiness, and even it [suffering] is already mysteriously soaked with joy that springs from hope.”

The pope ended his reflection by explaining the last words with which “the Seer of Patmos” concludes his book, the invocation, “Come Lord Jesus”, “pulsing with anxious expectation”. Here too, the pope added a reflection on impulse, saying that this waiting had three dimensions: that of the “definitive victory of the Lord who comes and transforms the world”; the “Eucharistic, of now, in which He anticipates his final coming”; the eschatological, in which the Church says: You have already come, it is a joy for us, but come fully.” And nearly as if to express the impatience of this wait, Benedict XVI ended with a prayer: “Come Lord Jesus, come and transform the world, and may your Peace triumph. Amen.”