12/11/2013, 00.00
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Pope: Never fear the final judgment, because Christ will always be at our side

God "did not send his Son to condemn, but to save" and "he who believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is already condemned," and in this sense "the judgment has already begun". New appeal against hunger in the world. America, land of welcome, “a land capable of respecting human life at every stage".

Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - Do not be afraid of the final judgment of God, when the good will be separated from the bad, because Jesus will always be at our side, because we can rely on the intercession and the benevolence of the saints and because God " did not send his Son to condemn , but to save " and ""he who believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is already condemned," and in this sense "the judgment has already begun".

Pope Francis dedicated his general audience to the "Last Judgment ", the last catechesis , he said, on the Creed. 40 thousand people were in St Peter's Square , where the Christmas tree has already been erected.  As is tradition the Pope toured around the square in his open topped jeep for ore than  40 minutes greeting, blessing , hugging and kissing dozens of children and "exchanging" his skullcap for ones offered by some of the faithful .

The general audience was also an opportunity for the Pope to renew his call for the campaign of Caritas Internationalis "One family, food for all" to which he dedicated a recent video message . Francis returned to evoke "the scandal for the millions of people who suffer from hunger ," inviting " all individuals, communities, families and institutions " to act , joining " this wave of solidarity."

 "I believe in eternal life" was the passage from the Creed chosen by the Pope, focusing on the final judgment. "But - he immediately said - do not be afraid ." "When we think of the return of Christ and his final judgment, which will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during their earthly life , we perceive that we are faced with a mystery that hangs over us that we can not even imagine. A mystery that almost instinctively arouses in us a sense of awe, and perhaps even trepidation. However, if we think carefully about this fact, it can only swell the heart of a Christian and be a great reason of comfort and confidence. "

Firstly, because the Christian revelation ends, in the Apocalypse, with " the embrace of Jesus, who is the fullness of life , the fullness of love. So we embrace Jesus! If we think of the judgment in this perspective , all fear and doubt vanishes and leaves a deep joy and expectation It will be the time when we will be judged finally ready to be clothed with the glory of Christ, like a wedding garment, and be conducted to the banquet , an image of full and definitive communion with God " .

"A second reason for confidence is offered by the finding that, at the time of judgment, we will not be left alone. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus preannounce that those followed him will join him in glory to judge everyone with him". " That's nice to know that at the time, not only can we count on Christ, our Paraclete, our Advocate with the Father, but we also can count on the goodwill and the intercession of so many of our brothers and sisters who have preceded us in the journey of faith , who have offered their lives for us and who continue to love us unconditionally! The saints already live in the sight of God , in the splendor of his glory praying for us who still live on earth. What great consolation this certainty brings to our hearts! The Church really is a mother and as a mother , seeks the good of her children , especially those who are most distant and distressed, until it finds its fulfillment in the glorious body of Christ with all of her members . "

"Another suggestion is offered to us in the Gospel of John , which states explicitly that" God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world , but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned but whoever does not believe is already condemned, because he hath not believed in the Only Son of God "( Jn 3:17-18 ) . This means that the 'final' judgment has already begun, it begins right now, in the course of our earthly existence. Such judgment is pronounced in every moment of life, as reflected in our acceptance in faith of salvation present and active in Christ, or of our unbelief , with the consequent closing in on ourselves".

"But if we close ourselves - ourselves - to the love of Jesus , we condemn ourselves ! We condemn ourselves ! Salvation is opening ourselves to Jesus and He will save us . If we are sinners - all, we all are , all  of us ! -  we ask for forgiveness and go with the desire to be good, the Lord forgives us. But for this we must open ourselves open to the love of Jesus, which is stronger than all the other things . The love of Jesus is great ! The love of Jesus is merciful, the love of Jesus forgives ! But you have to open up and opening up to it means to repent, lament the things that we have done that are not good".

"The Lord Jesus has given and continues to give Himself to us, to fill us full of mercy. So in a certain sense we can become our own judges, condemning ourselves and excluding ourselves from communion with God and with others.  Therefore, we must never tire of being vigilant over our thoughts and behavior, to obtain even now, a foretaste of the warmth and the beauty of the face of God and that will be beautiful! Of the God who we will contemplate eternal life in all His fullness".  Come! Lets move forward, thinking of this judgment that begins now . It has already started ... Lets move forward, with hearts open to Jesus , to His salvation . Let's move forward, without fear because the love of Jesus is greater and if we ask forgiveness of our sins , He forgives us ! That is how Jesus is! Let us move forward with this certainty, that bring us to the glory of heaven".

Pope Francis concluded by pointing out that tomorrow is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe , Patroness of all America . " For this occasion - he said - I want to greet all the brothers and sisters on the continent".

" The appearance of the image of the Virgin in his tilma (cloak ) of Juan Diego was a prophetic sign of an embrace , the embrace of Mary to all the inhabitants of the vast American lands , the ones that were already there and those to come. This embrace of Mary showed the path that has always characterized the whole of America , a land where different people can live together , a land able to respect human life in all its stages, from birth to old age, able to accommodate migrants as well as the poor and marginalized of all times . A generous land".


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