On Wednesday Pope Francis said the Christian belief in the Resurrection of Christ and in our own resurrection at the end of time is more than just wishful thinking, but rather implies confidence in something certain.
“This is the Christian hope. Christian hope is the expectation of
something that has already been accomplished and that certainly will be
realized for each of us,” the Pope said Feb. 1.
Speaking to pilgrims in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall, he said that we
need “to return to the root and foundation of our faith, so as to become
aware of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus and what our death
Continuing his catechesis on the theme of hope, Francis’ lesson for
the audience centered on the Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians.
The community of Thessalonica had only been around for a few years when
Paul wrote, which was shortly after Christ’s Resurrection, he said.
At this time, the community did not have difficulty believing in
Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, but rather, the difficulty they faced
was believing that on the last day, all of the dead would be raised.
“We all have a little fear of the uncertainty of death,” the Pope
said. “Each time we face our death, or that of a loved one, we feel that
our faith is tested. All our doubts emerge, all our weaknesses and we
ask ourselves: ‘But really there is life after death ...? I can still
see and embrace the people I loved...?’”
However, despite the fears and concerns of the community, St. Paul
invites the people to hold firm to “the hope of salvation,” especially
“in trials and in the most difficult moments of our lives.”
Christian hope is not like the everyday hopes we have, like when we
hope or wish for good weather, even though we know that the weather may
actually be bad, he said.
Rather, Christian hope means “to be sure that I’m on the way to
something that is, not that I want to be.” We should strive to live in
this kind of hopeful expectation, he said, using the image of a pregnant
woman who waits in expectation to see her child.
Although this isn’t always easy, we are able to learn to live with
this kind of expectation, he said, but added that to do this requires a
“humble heart, a poor heart.” Someone who is full of himself and of his
possessions, on the other hand, cannot place his trust in anyone but
Pope Francis said that something that touches his heart and fills him
with hope, is the line from St. Paul that says: “And we shall always be
with the Lord.”
“One nice thing: everything passes but, after death, we shall be
forever with the Lord. It is the total certainty of hope,” he said.
“Do you believe this?” he asked, inviting those present to repeat with him: “And we shall always be with the Lord.”
He noted how St. Paul writes that Jesus “died for us ‘so that whether
we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.’” These words, he
said, “are always a source of great consolation and peace.”