“This passage is really beautiful,” he commented. “It makes me think of the end of that brilliant oratorio of Handel, the ‘Messiah,’ after the celebrative Hallelujah, the soprano slowly sings this passage: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives,’ peacefully.”
“And so, after this painful and joyful experience of Job, the voice of the Lord is something else. ‘I know that my Redeemer lives’ — it is truly a beautiful thing. We could interpret it like this: ‘My God, I know You are not a Persecutor. My God will come and do me justice.’”
“It is the simple faith in the resurrection of God, the simple faith in Jesus Christ, the simple faith that the Lord is always waiting for us and will come.”
Pope Francis said that the drama of Job is played out today when “really heavy trials fall on a person, on a family, on a people.” He mentioned parents of children with serious disabilities and people with chronic illnesses.
“These situations are often aggravated by the scarcity of economic resources. At certain junctures in history, the accumulation of burdens gives the impression that they were given a group appointment. This is what has happened in these years with the COVID-19 pandemic, and is happening now with the war in Ukraine,” the pope reflected.
He asked: “Can we justify these ‘excesses’ to the higher intelligence of nature and history? Can we religiously bless them as justified responses to the sins of the victims, as if they deserve it? No, we cannot.”
“There is a kind of right that victims have to protest vis-à-vis the mystery of iniquity, a right that God grants to everyone, that indeed He himself inspires, after all.”
Concluding his address, the pope said that many elderly people walked a similar path to Job, undergoing great suffering but continuing to hold on to God’s promises.
He said: “They have suffered so much in life, they have learned so much in life, they have gone through so much, but in the end, they have this peace, a peace, I would say, that is almost mystical, that is, the peace from an encounter with God to the point they can say, ‘I knew you because I had heard about you, but now I have seen you with my own eyes’ (Job 42:5).”
“These elderly people resemble the peace of the Son of God on the Cross who is abandoned to the Father.”
After the pope’s address, a summary of his catechesis was read out in seven languages.
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Addressing English-speaking Catholics, he said: “I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, especially those from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Israel and the Middle East, Canada and the United States of America.”
“In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you!”
After addressing Italian pilgrims, Pope Francis said: “Finally, my thoughts go, as usual, to the elderly, the sick, the young, and newlyweds.”
“Dear young people, do not be afraid to put your energies at the service of the Gospel, with the enthusiasm characteristic of your age; and you, dear elderly and dear ill people, be aware that you offer a valuable contribution to society thanks to your wisdom; and you, dear newlyweds, let your families grow as places where you learn to love God and your neighbor in serenity and joy.”