.- Pope John Paul II spoke on the "Hymn of the Saved," from the Book of the Apocalypse during this morning’s general audience in Saint Peter’s Square, affirming that all people are called by God to become children of God.
This hymn, he said, "brings to the liturgy of evening prayer the simplicity and intensity of a chorus of praise. It is in line with the solemn vision of the opening of the Apocalypse which presents a sort of heavenly liturgy which we, still pilgrims on earth, join during our ecclesiastical celebrations."
The first element of the hymn "is the celebration of the Lord's works,” said the Pope. “Creation reveals the immense power of God."
He pointed out that the Book of the Apocalypse was written during the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian who forced the people to call him "Domunis et deus noster," and said that Christians "refused to give such a title to a human creature" and only applied such terms of adoration to "Our true 'Lord and God'."
Christ, "the immolated lamb" on the Cross who now reigns glorious, is the focus of the canticle, said the Pope. "The beloved eternal project of God has been fulfilled in Christ. He has freed us from evil and has made us into a 'kingdom of priests.' All of humanity is called to be part of this community of the children of God."
The Holy Father said that the hymn is "a moment of pure contemplation, joyous praise, and a song of love for Christ in His paschal mystery. ... In the liturgy of the Church in a sense we already share in the festive communion of the heavenly liturgy."