Skip to content

Commentary on Revelation 19

On the "Wedding Day of the Lamb"

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 16, 2004 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of John Paul II's address at today's general audience, which he dedicated to comment on the canticle in Chapter 19 of the Book of Revelation.

* * *

1. The Book of Revelation is sprinkled with canticles that are raised to God, Lord of the universe and history. Now we have heard one that we come across constantly in each of the four weeks in which the liturgy of vespers is articulated.

This hymn is sprinkled with the "Alleluia," a word of Jewish origin which means "praise the Lord" and which, curiously, in the New Testament appears only in this passage of Revelation, repeated five times. The liturgy only selects some verses from the text of Chapter 19. In the narrative framework of the passage, they are intoned in heaven by a "great multitude": It is like an imposing chorus that rises from all the elect, who celebrate the Lord in joy and festivity (see Revelation 19:1).

2. For this reason, the Church, on earth, marks the rhythm of her song of praise with that of the just who already contemplate the glory of God. Thus a channel of communication is established between history and eternity: It has its starting point in the earthly liturgy of the ecclesial community and has its end in the heavenly, where our brothers and sisters have already arrived who have preceded us on the way of faith.

In this communion of praise three topics are substantially celebrated. First of all, the great characteristics of God, his "salvation," "glory" and "power" (verse 1; see verse 7), namely, transcendence and saving omnipotence. Prayer is contemplation of the divine glory of the ineffable mystery, of the ocean of light and love that is God.

In the second place, the canticle exalts the "Kingdom" of the Lord, namely, the divine plan of redemption of the human race. Taking up again the theme of the savior of the so-called Psalms of the Kingdom of God (see Psalms 46; 95-98), here is proclaimed that "the Lord has established his reign" (Revelation 19:6), who intervenes with supreme authority in history.

This is certainly entrusted to human freedom, which generates good and evil, but it has its ultimate seal in the decisions of Divine Providence. The Book of Revelation celebrates precisely the end toward which history is led through the effective work of God, despite the storms, wounds and devastations caused by evil, man and Satan.

In another page of Revelation is sung: "We give thanks to you, Lord God almighty, who are and who were. For you have assumed your great power and have established your reign" (11:17).

3. The third topic of the hymn is typical of the Book of Revelation and of its system of symbols: "For the wedding day of the Lamb has come, his bride has made herself ready" (19:7). As we will have the opportunity to reflect more deeply in future meditations on this canticle, the definitive end toward which the last book of the Bible leads us is the nuptial meeting between the Angel, who is Christ, and the purified and transfigured bride, which is redeemed humanity.

The expression "the wedding day of the Lamb has come" refers to the supreme moment -- "nuptial," as our text says -- of the intimacy between the creature and the Creator, in the joy and peace of salvation.

4. Let us conclude with the words of one of St. Augustine's discourses that illustrates and exalts the Alleluia Canticle in its spiritual meaning: "We sing in unison this word and, united around it in communion of feelings, we encourage one another mutually to praise God. God can be praise with a peaceful conscience by the one who has not committed anything that displeases him. Moreover, as regards the present time in which we are pilgrims on earth, we sing the 'Alleluia' as a consolation to fortify ourselves through life; the 'Alleluia' which we pronounce now is like the song of the wayfarer; in walking on this exhausting way we tend toward that homeland in which is rest, in which, with all the present concerns having disappeared, there will only be the 'Alleluia' (No. 255,1: "Discorsi" [Discourses], IV/2, Rome, 1984, p. 597).

[At the end of the commentary, this English-language synthesis was read:]

In today's canticle from the Book of Revelation, we encounter the frequent use of the word Alleluia, which serves as a bridge linking all the elect in their celebration of the Lord in joy and thanksgiving. The canticle describes the Church on earth joining its song of thanksgiving with the voice of the just in heaven, who unceasingly contemplate the glory of God. In this way, a channel of communication is established between history and eternity, uniting the earthly and celestial liturgies in a common song of praise. This same "communion of praise" reminds the faithful of three essential themes: namely the power and glory of God, his kingdom offering salvation for the human race, and the nuptial relationship between the Lamb, who is Christ, and his purified and transfigured spouse, which is humanity redeemed. May our common Alleluia always console and strengthen us on our pilgrim way.

[The Pope also addressed this greeting in English:]

I am pleased to greet the English-speaking pilgrims present at this audience, especially those from England, Sweden and the United States of America. Upon you and your loved ones, I invoke the Lord's blessings of peace and joy.


The Vatican , VA
Pope John Paul II - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000



Pope, Revelation, Lamb, God, Bible

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.