Vatican City ( AsiaNews ) - Pope Francis has asked for prayer for the Orthodox nuns of the convent of Santa Tecla, in Maaloula , who " two days ago were forcibly abducted by armed men. Pray for these sisters and for all the people who have been kidnapped as a result of the ongoing conflict . We must continue to pray and work together for peace, entrusting ourselves to Mary".
The Pope's appeal came at the end of a general audience with 60 thousand people present in St Peter's Square. The Pope , continuing the reflection on the "Creed", spoke of the " resurrection of the body". The Pope underlined that we are "the disciples of the One who came , comes every day and will come at the end of the world" and since Jesus is risen, "he has opened the way" and will resurrect us too: "this is not a lie. If Jesus is alive, do you think that will leave us to die and never share in his resurrection?". "If we can be more aware of this reality, we would be less fatigued by daily tasks, we in thrall of the ephemeral and more willing to walk with a merciful heart on the path of salvation".
Francis started from the premise that "the fact that He is risen is proof that there is also resurrection of the dead". Our resurrection, therefore, "is closely linked" to that of Jesus. Already, Holy Scripture contains a path toward full faith in the resurrection of the dead. "This expresses itself as faith in God the Creator of the whole person - body and soul - and as faith in the liberating God , the God faithful to the covenant with His people ."
In the New Testament Jesus completes the revelation and " links faith in the resurrection to his own person and says, I am the resurrection and the way. In fact, on the last day the Lord Jesus will resurrect all those who have believed in Him. Jesus came among us, became man like us in all things but sin, and in this way he has taken us with him on his journey back to the Father. He, the Word made flesh , who died for us and rose again, gives his disciples the Holy Spirit as a pledge of full communion in his glorious Kingdom for which we vigilantly await. This is the source and the reason for our hope: a hope that, if cultivated and safeguarded, if we cultivate and guard it, becomes light to illuminate our personal history and also the history of the Community . "
But "what does our resurrection mean? Resurrection - the resurrection of all of us - will take place on the last day , at the end of the world , through the omnipotence of God, who will return life to our bodies reuniting them with the soul, by virtue of the resurrection of Jesus. This is the fundamental explanation , because Jesus is the Risen Christ, we shall be resurrected. We have hope in the resurrection , because He has opened the door to us, the door to this resurrection. " And "this transfiguration of our bodies is prepared in this life by our relationship with Jesus in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Those of us who are nourished in this life by his Body and his Blood will rise like Him, with Him and through Him as Jesus is risen with his own body, but just as he has not returned to earthly life, so we will be resurrected with our bodies that will be transformed into glorious bodies, spiritual bodies".
"Already in this life we participate in Christ's Resurrection. Whilst it is true that Jesus will raise us up at the end of time, it is also true that, to a certain extent, we are risen with him already . Eternal life begins already in this moment ... we are already resurrected! Indeed , through Baptism , we are incorporated into the death and resurrection of Christ and share in His new life". "Therefore, waiting for the last day, we have within ourselves the seed of resurrection, as an anticipation of the full resurrection that we will receive in inheritance. This is why even our bodies are the resonance of eternity , and must always be respected , and above all the life of those who suffer must be respected and loved, so that they feel the nearness of the Kingdom of God, the condition of eternal life towards which we journey". "This thought gives us hope ! We are on the way to the Resurrection. And this is our joy : one day we will find Jesus , meet Jesus and all together , all together - not here in the square, somewhere else - but joyful with Jesus . And this is our destiny".