Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The logic of the Gospel, that of Jesus, "is expressed in humility and selflessness. It asserts itself quietly but effectively through the power of truth. The kingdoms of this world sometimes rest on arrogance, rivalry, and oppression; the Kingdom of Christ is a ‘kingdom of justice, love and peace’," said Pope Francis during the Angelus of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King.
This logic is at odds with that of the world, which rests instead “on ambition and competition, and fights with the weapons of fear, blackmail and manipulation of minds."
“When did Jesus reveal himself as king?” asked the pope. “In the event on the Cross! Who looks at the Cross of Christ cannot fail to see the amazing free gift of love. Some of you say, 'Father, this was a failure'. Sin is a failure, in the failure of human ambitions, there is the triumph of the Cross. In the failure of the Cross we see love! The unconditional love that Jesus gives us."
Speaking about power and strength, Francis added, "for Christians it means to refer to the power of the Cross and the power of Jesus’ love, a love that remains firm and intact even in the face of rejection, one that appears as the fulfilment of a life spent in the total offering of oneself to humanity."
On Calvary, "bystanders and leaders mocked Jesus nailed to the cross, and challenged him by saying, ‘save yourself by coming down from the cross’ (Mk, 15:30). Paradoxically though, "Jesus’ truth is the one his opponents scoff him for, i.e. ‘He cannot save himself!’ (Mk, 15:31).”
“If Jesus had come down from the cross, he would have succumbed to the temptation of the prince of this world; instead He cannot save himself precisely in order to save others, because he gave his life for us, for each of us. Jesus gave his life for me! For those in the square, let everyone say in his or her heart, 'He gave His life for me' in order to save all of us from our sins."
“Has anyone understood this?” asked the pope, "One of the criminals crucified with Him, called the ‘good thief,’ begs him, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom’ (Lk, 23:42). He was a criminal, corrupt, sentenced to death . . . Yet he saw love in Jesus’ attitude and meekness. This is the strength of the kingdom of Christ, love. "
For this reason, "Jesus’ regality does not oppress us; it frees us from our weaknesses and miseries, encouraging us to follow the paths of goodness, reconciliation and forgiveness.
“Let us look at the good thief, and let us all say together what he said: 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom'. This means asking Jesus, when we are weak, sinful and defeated, to look at us, [and say,]. Forget me not."
“Before so many lacerations in the world, and the too many wounds in the flesh of men and women, we ask the Virgin Mary to sustain us in our commitment to imitating Jesus, our King, making present His Kingdom with acts of tenderness, compassion and mercy.”
After the Marian prayer, Francis spoke about the beatification of Federico da Berga and his 25 martyred companions, killed in Spain during the fierce persecution of the Church last century.
“They were priests,” Pope Francis said, “, young professed friars awaiting ordination, and lay brothers belonging to the Capuchin Order of Friars Minor. Let us entrust to their intercession the many of our brothers and sisters who, sadly still today, in many different parts of the world, are persecuted because of their faith in Christ.”
“On Wednesday,” the pope said in concluding, “I begin my journey to Africa, to visit Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic. I ask you all to pray for this trip that it might be for all our brothers and sisters in those lands, and also for me, a sign of closeness and of love. Let us together call upon Our Lady to watch over those dear lands, so that there may be peace and prosperity."