The contemplation of the imposing drama of the Last Judgment has always been of immense benefit to the faithful; and even in our days, it’s an efficacious element for awakening consciences and calling to conversion. A topic that appears with clarity and frequency in the Sacred Scriptures, the Last Judgment holds great pastoral value and is easily understandable by all. The Church condenses this truth of the faith in the definitive and simple words that Catholics pray daily in the Creed: Christ will come ‘to judge the living and the dead.’ But… will Christ really come as just judge? Or as something else?
What consolation this certainty arouses in our hearts! The Church is truly a mother and, as a mother, she seeks her children’s good, especially of those who are furthest away and are afflicted, until she finds its fullness in the glorious body of Christ with all its members.
A further suggestion is offered to us by the Gospel of John, where it explicitly states that “God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (Jn 3:17-18). This means, then, that this final judgement is already in progress, it begins now over the course of our lives. Thus judgement is pronounced at every moment of life, as it sums up our faith in the salvation which is present and active in Christ, or of our unbelief, whereby we close in upon ourselves. But if we close ourselves to the love of Jesus, we condemn ourselves. Salvation is to open oneself to Jesus, it is he who saves us. If we are sinners — and we all are — we ask him for forgiveness and if we go to him with the desire to be good, the Lord forgives us. But for this we must open ourselves to Jesus’ love, which is stronger than all else. Jesus’ love is great, Jesus’ love is merciful, Jesus’ love forgives. (General audience, December 11, 2013)
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