Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In this, the last of our catecheses on Christian hope, I would like to speak of hope’s fulfilment in heaven. On Calvary, Jesus assures the Good Thief that he will be with him that very day in heaven. The Lord’s solidarity with us sinners culminates on the cross; there, as one of his final acts, he opens the gates of heaven to a repentant criminal. The Good Thief’s humble plea for mercy was sufficient to touch the heart of Jesus. His humility reminds us that, like the publican in the Temple, or the prodigal Son, we can only trust in God’s mercy, and, at every hour of our life, turn to him with hope in his promises. Jesus died on the cross to redeem our sins, our mistakes and our failings, and to bring us with him to the house of the Father. He desires that nothing be lost of what he has redeemed. No one, then, should despair, for his grace is always present to those who put their trust in him. The hour of our death need hold no fear for us if, like the Good Thief, we can turn to the Lord and pray in confident hope: “Jesus, remember me” (cf. Lk 23:42).