Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In our continuing catechesis on Saint Paul, we now turn from his proclamation of Christ’s death and resurrection to his teaching on the Lord’s second coming. For Paul, the Lord’s return at the end of time will be accompanied by the resurrection of the dead and the consummation of his Kingdom, when all those who believed in him and trusted in his promises "will be with him for ever" in glory (cf. 1 Thess 4:17).
Christ’s victorious reign has in fact already begun. Yet we, who have received the Spirit as the first fruits of our redemption, patiently await the fulfilment of that plan in our lives. Our life in this world, marked by trials and tribulations, must be inspired by the hope of heaven and the expectation of our resurrection to glory. Paul’s rich eschatology, linking the "already" of Christ’s resurrection to the "not yet" of our life in this world, is reflected in his statement that "in hope we were saved" (Rom 8:24)
. This same joyful expectation of the Lord’s return and the fulfilment of the Father’s saving plan is seen in the ancient Christian prayer with which he concludes his first Letter to the Corinthians: Maranà, thà! Come, Lord Jesus!
I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, particularly priests from the Missionary Society of Saint Paul the Apostle, members of the Corpus Christi Movement for Priests, participants in the International Catholic Conference of Scouting, and pilgrims from the Philippines, England, Nigeria, and the United States of America. Upon you and your families I cordially invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace.