Speaking about the Canticle of the Apocalypse, “The Judgment of God,” Pope John Paul II said during today’s general audience that God condemns evil and rewards faithfulness.
Speaking to some 15,000 people gathered at St Peter Square, the Pope said that the Canticle is intoned by the “twenty-four elders of the heavenly court, who represent all the just of the Old and the New Alliance.”
“In this prayer,” he continued, “we can hear the hearts of the just beating as they hopefully await the coming of the Lord to bring light to human history, so often immersed in the shadows of sin, of injustice, of deceit and of violence.”
The Pontiff explained that this hymn exalts “the just and resolute judgment that the Lord is about to exercise over human history.” “He is judge but also savior, He condemns evil but rewards faithfulness. He is just, but above all merciful.”
John Paul also explained that the Canticle recounts “the duel between good and evil, between the Church and Satan; suddenly a heavenly voice rings out announcing the defeat of the ‘Accuser’.” The accuser “placed the sincerity of the faith of the just in doubt. Now the satanic dragon has been put to silence and at the roots of his downfall is ‘the blood of the Lamb,’ the passion and death of Christ the Redeemer.”
The Holy Father concluded: “Associated with Christ’s victory is the testimony of the martyrdom of Christians. The faithful, who did not hesitate to ‘love not their lives even unto death,’ participate intimately in the redeeming work of the Lamb. Our thoughts go to Christ’s words: ‘He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.’”