Vatican City (AsiaNews) The Church's mission "yesterday as today" is to affirm the "centrality of Christ" in the "family, culture, economy, politics, and international community".
Benedict XVI reiterated the significance of today's SolemnityChrist the King of the universethe last Sunday of the Liturgical Year.
Quoting from the Second Vatican Council, Scriptures and statements by the late Paul VI, the Pope stressed that Christians have a commitment towards the "perfection of human history", bringing the "power" of Christ, which "comes from love" to every aspect of life, since He "is the focal point of what history and civilisation want, the centre of human kind, and the joy of every heart".
Benedict XVI reminded the crowds gathered in St Peter's Square that tomorrow is the Pro Orantibus Day for all those who in the Church dedicated their life to prayers and contemplation.
The Holy Father expressed gratitude to all those who lead a cloistered life and asked the faithful "to be close to them by way of spiritual and material support".
His thoughts also went to few priests and faithful who are undergoing beatification of. They were killed by a Masonic government during the Mexican persecution for they had found in the devotion to Christ the King their comfort and symbol. For that they were called Cristeros.
Here are the Pope's words in introducing the Marian prayer:
Dear brothers and sisters!
Today, the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year, we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King of the universe. Since the announcement of His birth, the Father's only begotten Son, born of the Virgin Mary, was called "king" in the messianic sensethat is, the heir to the throne of David according to the promises of the prophets that there would be a never-ending kingdom (cf Lk, 32-33).
Christ's kingship stayed hidden until he was 30. In those first years, Jesus led an ordinary live in Nazareth. Later, during his public life, he inaugurated the new kingdom, which "does not belong to this world" (John, 18: 36), and in the end fully realised it in His death and resurrection.
Appearing to the Apostles after rising, he said: "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Mt, 28: 18). This power comes from love, which God has fully expressed by sacrificing His Son.
The kingdom of Christ is a gift to man for all times, so that everyone who believes in the Word incarnate "might not perish but might have eternal life" (Jn, 3: 16). For this reason in the last book of the Bible, the Bok of the Apocalypse, He proclaims; "I am the Alpha and the Omega" (Ap, 22: 13).
"Christ, alpha and omega" is the title of the paragraph that ends the first part of the Second Vatican Council pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes promulgated 40 years ago.
In that beautiful page, which quotes some of the words of God's servant, Pope Paul VI, we read: "Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilisation, the centre of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings."
Furthermore, "[e]nlivened and united in His Spirit, we journey toward the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God's love: 'To re-establish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth' (Eph 11: 10) (Gaudium et Spes, n. 45).
In light of the centrality of Christ, Gaudium et spes interprets the conditions of modern man, his vocation and dignity, as well as the aspects of his lifefamily, culture, economy, politics, and international community.
Yesterday as today, and forever, this is the mission of the Church: To announce and bear witness to Christ, because man, every man, may fully realise his vocation.
May the Virgin Mary, whom God has associated in such a unique way to His Son' kingship, help us receive Him as the Lord of our lives, to faithfully co-operate to the coming of the His kingdom of love, justice and peace.
After the Angelus, among the many greetings he added in Spanish:
I am happy to cordially greet Spanish-speaking pilgrims who have come for the Angelus prayer.
I greet in particular by brother bishops from Mexico; the priests, religious men and women, and faithful, who have come from the archdiocese of Guadalajara to take part in the beatification of Anacleto González Flores and his group of seven fellow martyrsJosé Trinidad Rangel, Andrés Solá Molist, Leonardo Pérez, Darío Acosta Zurita and José Sánchez del Ríowho accepted martyrdom to defend their Christian faith.
In this Solemnity of Christ the King of the universe, whom they invoked in the supreme moment when they gave their lives, they are for us a permanent symbol and spur to coherently bear witness to our faith in today's society. . . .
He later said in Italian:
Tomorrow, the liturgical remembrance of the Presentation of the Most Holy Mary, we shall celebrate Pro Orantibus Day, the day dedicated to religious communities committed to the contemplative life.
On behalf of the Church, I express my gratitude to all those who have consecrated their life to cloistered prayer, offering an eloquent witness to God's primacy and kingdom. I urge everyone to be close to them by way of spiritual and material support.