Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square today, during which he continued his catechetical reflections on the theme of Christian hope, focusing specifically on the final words of comfort and consolation the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew records Our Lord speaking to the disciples immediately before ascending into heaven and taking His place at the right hand of the Father.
“‘I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. (Mt 28:20)’” began Pope Francis in his main catechesis, quoting the very last words of Matthew’s Gospel. “These last words of the Gospel of Matthew,” he went on to say, “recall the prophetic proclamation we find at its beginning: ‘They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us, (Mt 1:23; cf. Is. 7:14)’”
Then, departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis said, “God will be with us, every day, until the end of the world.”
Returning to his prepared remarks, the Holy Father explained, “Jesus will walk with us every day until the end of the world. The whole gospel is encapsulated in these two quotations, words that convey the mystery of God, whose name, whose identity is being-with: He is not an isolated God, He is God-with-us, especially with us, that is, with the human creature.”
Again departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis said, “The closeness of God, the love of God, the journey of God with us, is also called the ‘Providence of God’: He provides for our lives.”
In a final major departure from his prepared text, Pope Francis reflected on a suggestive nautical image: that of the anchor.
“The anchor,” said Pope Francis, “is the instrument that navigators throw on the beach – and then they grab onto the anchor line to pull the ship to shore. Our faith is the anchor [we have] in heaven: we have our lives anchored in heaven. What must we do? Grab hold of the line – it’s always there – and let us go forward, for we are certain our life has something like an anchor in heaven, on that shore to which we’ll come one day.”