Pope Francis talked about the Final Judgment during Wednesday's General Audience, as he continued his series on the Creed.
"In particular, I am speaking about the Final Judgment, but do not be afraid!”
He explained that people should not fear the Final Judgment, but look at it with hope, because it will be an encounter with Jesus. The key, he added, is having their heart open to God.
"But if we close ourselves off to the love of Jesus, then we condemn ourselves! We condemn ourselves! Salvation is opening ourselves to Jesus, and He saves us! If we are sinners, and we are all sinners, all of us, and we ask for forgiveness and move on, with a desire to be better, then the Lord forgives us. But for this, we need to open ourselves, open ourselves to the love of Jesus, which is stronger than anything else. The love of Jesus is immense!”
Christians will not be alone during the Final Judgment. Jesus will along be on their side as their defense lawyer.
With over 15,000 pilgrims at St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis had plenty of interaction with them. At one point, he exchanged his papal hat with another a pilgrim gave him. But he first made sure that it fit him.
Then during his greeting in Spanish, the Pope sent a special message to mark the Feast of the Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas, which takes place Thursday.
"When the image of the Virgin appeared on the tilma of Juan Diego, it was the prophecy of an embrace: Mary’s embrace of all the peoples of the vast expanses of America – the peoples who already lived there, and those who were yet to come.”
The Pope also used the General Audience to bring attention to the global campaign Caritas launched. He kicked it off with a video message where he asked that the "scandal of hunger” moves people to take action to end this injustice.