Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The "kingdom" of Jesus is not that of the "leaders of the nations," it is not of this world, but "brings to fulfillment all of the goodness that, thanks to God, exists in man and in history. If we practice love for our neighbor, according to the message of the Gospel, then we make room for the reign of God, and his kingdom is realized among us. If instead each one thinks only of his own interests, the world cannot help but go to ruin." Benedict XVI explained today the meaning of the solemnity of Jesus, king of the universe, to the 30,000 faithful present in St. Peter's Square for the recitation of the Angelus.
"The royalty of Christ, in fact, is the revelation and actualization of that of God the Father, who governs all things with love and justice. The Father has entrusted to the Son the mission of giving men eternal life, loving them to the point of the supreme sacrifice, and at the same time has granted him the power of the judging them, since he became the Son of man, like us in all things (cf. John 5:21-22,26-27)."
As he did yesterday in a speech addressed to a pilgrim group from Amalfi, the pope today recalled the passage from Matthew. "'I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me' (Mt. 25:35) and so on." "The images," he continued, "are simple, the language is popular, but the message is extremely important: it is the truth about our ultimate destiny and about the criterion according to which we will be judged." "Who is not familiar with this page? It is part of our civilization. It has marked the history of the peoples of Christian culture: its hierarchy of values, its institutions, its many charitable and social works."
"Dear friends," Benedict XVI then said, "the kingdom of God is not a question of honors and appearances, but, as St. Paul writes, it is 'justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit' (Rm. 14:17). The Lord cares about what is good for us, meaning that every man should have life, and that especially his 'least' children should be able to come to the banquet that he has prepared for all. For this reason, he does not know what to do with the hypocritical forms of those who say ' Lord, Lord' and then neglect his commandments (cf. Mt. 7:21). In his eternal kingdom, God welcomes all those who strive day after day to put his word into practice. For this reason, the Virgin Mary, the most humble of all creatures, is the greatest in his eyes, and sits as Queen at the right hand of Christ the King. We wish to entrust ourselves once again to her heavenly intercession with filial confidence, in order to be able to realize our Christian mission in the world."
A concrete example of this mission was indicated by the pope in the 188 Japanese martyrs who will be beatified tomorrow, in Nagasaki. After the recitation of the Angelus, greeting the Italian-speaking and English-speaking faithful, he said in fact that "tomorrow, in Japan, in the city of Nagasaki, will be the beatification of 188 martyrs, all of them Japanese, men and women, killed in the early part of the 17th century. On this occasion, which is so significant for the Catholic community and for the entire land of the Rising Sun, I assure my spiritual closeness."
He also mentioned one little-known episode, the 75th anniversary of the deliberate "Holodomor - great famine - that from the years 1932-1933 caused millions of deaths in Ukraine and other regions of the Soviet Union during the communist regime. In expressing the lively hope," the pope concluded, "that no political system can ever again, in the name of ideology, deny the rights of the human person and his freedom and dignity, I assure my prayers for all of the innocent victims of that immense tragedy, and I invoke the holy Mother of God, that she help the nations to proceed along the paths of reconciliation, and to construct the present and the future in mutual respect and in the sincere search for peace."