VATICAN CITY, NOV. 24, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II’s address today, solemnity of Christ the King, before praying the Angelus with several thousand pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. Today we celebrate the solemnity of Christ King of the universe. This feast was opportunely placed on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, to emphasize that Jesus Christ is the Lord of time and that in him the whole plan of creation and redemption is fulfilled.
The figure of the King-Messiah takes shape in the conscience of the people of Israel through the Old Covenant. It is God himself who, especially through the prophets, reveals to the Israelites his will to gather them as a shepherd does his flock, so that they will live in freedom and peace in the promised land. To this end, he will send his Anointed One — the “Christ” in Greek — to redeem the people from sin and introduce them in the Kingdom.
Jesus of Nazareth fulfills this mission in the paschal mystery. He does not come to reign as a king of this world, but to establish, so to speak, the divine power of Love in the heart of man, of history and of the cosmos.
2. The Second Vatican Council proclaimed forcefully and clearly to the contemporary world the lordship of Christ, and its message was taken up again in the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. Humanity of the third millennium also needs to discover that Christ is its savior. This is the proclamation that Christians must carry with renewed courage to the world of today.
In this connection, the Second Vatican Council pointed out the special responsibility of lay faithful (see decree “Apostolicam Actuositatem”). In virtue of baptism and of confirmation, they participate in the prophetic mission of Christ. Therefore, they are called “to seek the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God”; they “have their own role to play in the mission of the whole people of God in the Church and in the world […] by their work for the evangelization and sanctification of people” (apostolic letter “Novo Millennio Ineunte,” 46).
3. Among all the angelic and terrestrial creatures, God chose the Virgin Mary to associate her in a totally singular way with the royalty of his Son made man. This is what we contemplate in the last glorious mystery of the holy rosary. May Mary teach us to witness to the Kingdom of God with courage and to receive Christ as King of our existence and of the whole universe.
[Translation by ZENIT]