Pope Francis on Wednesday called on Christians to await the coming of the Lord with trust and joy. Speaking to crowds of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Wednesday General Audience, the Pope continued his catechesis on the Creed and reflected on three Gospel texts that – he said – help us to understand the mystery of the Last Judgment and the second coming of the Lord.
“Just as human history began with the creation of man and woman in the image of God” – the Pope explained - “so it will end with Christ’s return and the final judgment”.
The parables Pope Francis chose to examine are the parable of the wise and foolish virgins that, he said, reminds us that we must be spiritually prepared to meet the Lord when he comes; the parable of the talents, that emphasizes our responsibility to use wisely God’s gifts, making them bear abundant fruit, and here he said: “ I would ask the many young people present to be generous with their God-given talents for the good of others, the Church and our world”; and finally, the parable of the final judgment that “reminds us that, in the end, we will be judged on our love for others and especially for those in need”.
Pope Francis said that through these parables, our Lord teaches us to await his coming not with fear but with confident trust, ever watchful for the signs of his presence and faithful in prayer and works of charity, so that when he comes he will find us his good and faithful servants.
Pope Francis also turned his attention to the continuing violence in Syria and prayed for the release of two Metropolitan Orthodox Bishops held by unknown kidnappers. The Pope prayed for the rapid release of Bishop Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church and John Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church who were abducted as they travelled to the city of Aleppo on Monday whilst on a humanitarian mission. Their driver was killed.
The Pope said the kidnapping is yet another sign of the tragic situation in Syria, where violence and bloodshed continue to sow death and destruction. And Pope Francis renewed his appeal for an end to the violence, for a political solution to the crisis, and for necessary humanitarian aid for the population.