Vatican City, Apr 26, 2017 / 04:38 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Wednesday Pope Francis said Christian hope, rather than coming from the empty promises of other human beings, is rooted in Christ’s promise to never leave us, and to stay by our side until the end of time.
“How long, by comparison, will God's care for mankind last?” the Pope asked April 26. “The Gospel's answer leaves no doubt: until the end of the world!” “The heavens will pass away, the earth will pass away, human hope will be erased, but the Word of God is greater than everything and will not pass away.” “There will be no day of our life where we will cease to be a concern for the heart of God,” he said, adding that “God will certainly provide for all our needs, he will not abandon us in times of trial and darkness.”
Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims during his weekly general audience, continuing his catechesis on the theme of hope. In his speech, he stressed that for Christians, hope is not a vague feeling, or the same thing as the “changing sentiment” of those who want to change the world using only their own willpower.
“Christian hope, in fact, finds its root not in the attraction of the future, but in the security of what God has promised us and made in Jesus Christ,” he said. Because of this promise, we can follow the Lord without fear, he said, explaining that “if the beginning of every vocation is a ‘follow me’ by which he assures us he will always remain before us, then why fear? With this promise, Christians can walk everywhere.”
Even in those places of the world filled with wounds or bad circumstances, we can be assured of Christ’s presence, he said. As Psalm 23:4 says: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” “It is exactly where the darkness spreads that we need to keep lighting a light,” he said.
Francis noted how in St. Matthew’s Gospel, the evangelist recalls the prophetic announcement which is also found in the Book of Isaiah: “To him will be given the name of Emmanuel, which means God with us.” This verse, along with the promise at the end of the Gospel, “I am with you every day until the end of the world,” together communicate the mystery of God’s identity — that he is “God with us,” the Pope said.
“Our existence is a pilgrimage, a journey,” but on this journey, we are never alone, he said. “Above all, the Christian does not ever feel abandoned, because Jesus promises to not wait until the end of our long journey, but to accompany us in each of our days.” However,
Francis warned that if we rely on our own strength in this journey, we will be discouraged and disappointed, “because the world often proves resistant to the laws of love.” This, he said, is why “the holy faithful people of God are people standing and walking in hope. And wherever they go, they know that God's love has preceded him: there is no part of the world that escapes the victory of the Risen Christ, the victory of love.”