VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis reflected on the resurrection of the body during his general audience Dec. 4, explaining that we are “imprinted” with eternal life, which we are able to experience even now through the sacraments.
“Through baptism, we are inserted into his death and resurrection and begin to experience new life,” the Pope stated in his Dec. 4 general audience, highlighting how “the seed of eternity is planted within us.”
Pope Francis directed his weekly address to the thousands of pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square, returning to the conclusion of the Creed, when believers proclaim their belief in “the resurrection of the body.”
“Dear brothers and sisters,” he began, “today we look again at the affirmation: 'I believe in the resurrection of the body,'" highlighting three different aspects of the relationship between Christ’s resurrection and our own.
First of all, noted the Holy Father, “the Gospel reveals to us that our faith in the resurrection is bound to the person of Jesus Christ, who himself said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’”
This proclamation, the Pope stated, “is not easy to understand” because we are “immersed in this world"; however, “the Gospel clarifies it to us: The fact that Jesus resurrected is the proof that the resurrection of the dead exists.”
In the Gospel, Francis observed, “the risen Christ gives his disciples the Holy Spirit as a pledge of communion with God, which has its fullness in eternity.”
“The anticipation of eternal life is the source and reason for our hope. If this hope is cultivated,” he explained, “It illuminates our lives as persons and communities.”
“Like us in all things but sin, Christ gathers us to himself, so that we may accompany him in his journey back to the Father,” the Pope continued, stating that Jesus has “taken us with him on his return to the Father in the glorious Kingdom.”
“The omnipotence and faithfulness of God do not end at the door of death. ... Christ is always with us; he comes every day, and he will come at the end.”
Turning to the physical aspect of our resurrection from the dead, the Pope explained that “Christ rose in his glorified body,” and that, “through Christ, our bodies will also be glorified and reunited with our souls at the resurrection.”
“Living off of this faith,” he emphasized, “we will be less prisoners of the ephemeral, less prisoners of the transient,” going on to say that “this transfiguration of our body is already being prepared.”
It is prepared for us in this life, he observed, “with the encounter of the risen Christ, especially in the Eucharist, in which we nourish ourselves with his body and blood.”
Pope Francis concluded by explaining that, through our baptism, we have been “inserted” into the death and resurrection of Jesus “and begin to experience new life,” adding that “the image of eternity is imprinted on us and calls us to respect the lives of all people, especially those who suffer.”
“In this way,” explained the Pope, “we can experience the closeness of the Reign of God, towards which we all journey together.”
“We have a seed of the resurrection, a glimpse of eternity, which always makes all human life worthy of respect and love.”
After his address, Pope Francis urged the 30,000 pilgrims in attendance to offer special prayers for a group of nuns who were taken by force from the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Thecla in the ancient Christian town of Ma’lula in Syria earlier this week.
“I would like to invite everyone to pray for the religious sisters,” he petitioned, “who, two days ago, were taken away by force by armed men.”
According to Vatican Radio, the 12 nuns, as well as three other women, were forced to “evacuate” their convent in Ma’lula Dec. 3 and were taken to the neighboring town of Yabroud, which has a large Christian population and is also controlled by the rebels.
“Let us pray for these sisters, and for all those who have been kidnapped on account of the ongoing conflict,” the Pope encouraged. “Let us continue to pray and to work for peace.”
The Holy Father brought the audience to a close by leading the faithful in praying a Hail Mary and invoking the intercession of Mary, “Queen of Peace.”