On Christ, King of the Universe

«The Kingdom Is a Gift Offered to People of All Times»

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 20, 2005 (ZENIT.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today when meeting with faithful to pray the midday Angelus.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Today, the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe, is celebrated. From the announcement of his birth, the only-begotten Son of the Father, born of the Virgin Mary, is defined as «king,» in the messianic sense, that is, heir to the throne of David, according to the promises of the prophets, over a kingdom that will have no end (cf. Luke 1:32-33).

Christ’s royalty remained totally hidden until he was 30 years old, spent in an ordinary life in Nazareth. Later, during his public life, Jesus inaugurated the new kingdom, which «is not of this world» (John 18:36), and he realized it fully at the end with his death and resurrection. Upon appearing, risen, to the apostles, he said to them: «All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me» (Matthew 28:18). This power arises from love, which God has fully manifested in the sacrifice of his Son. The kingdom of Christ is a gift offered to people of all times so that whoever believes in the incarnate word «should not perish but have eternal life» (John 3:16). For this reason, precisely in the last book of the Bible, Revelation, proclaims: «I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end» (22:13).

«Christ, Alpha and Omega,» thus is entitled the paragraph with which the first part concludes of the Second Vatican Council’s pastoral constitution «Gaudium et Spes,» promulgated 40 years ago. In this beautiful page, which takes up some of the words of the servant of God, Pope Paul VI, we read: «The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilization, the center of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings.»

And he adds: «Enlivened 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’ (Ephesians 11:10)» (No. 45).

In the light of Christ’s centrality, «Gaudium et Spes» interprets the condition of contemporary man, his vocation and dignity, as well as the realms of his life: family, culture, economy, politics and international community. This is the mission of the Church yesterday, today and always: to proclaim and witness to Christ, so that man, every man, may fully realize his vocation.

May the Virgin Mary, associated by God in a singular way to the royalty of her Son, enable us to acknowledge him as lord of our lives to cooperate faithfully in the coming of his kingdom of love, justice and peace.

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in several languages. In Spanish, he said:]

I am pleased to cordially greet the Spanish-speaking pilgrims present for the Angelus prayer. In a special way, I greet today my brother bishops of Mexico, the priests, men and women religious and faithful who, in the Archdiocese of Guadalajara, are taking part in the beatification of the martyrs Anacleto González Flores and seven companions, and also of Father José Trinidad Rangel Montaño, Father Andrés Solá Molist, Leonardo Pérez Larios, Father Darío Acosta Zurita and José Luis Sánchez del Río, who faced martyrdom to defend their Christian faith.

In this solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, whom they invoked in the supreme moment of surrendering their lives, they are for us a permanent example and stimulation to give a coherent testimony of our own faith in present-day society. With these sentiments I impart with great affection to you and all the Mexican faithful the apostolic blessing.

[In Italian:]

Tomorrow, liturgical memorial of the Presentation of Most Holy Mary in the temple, «Pro Orantibus» Day is being observed, namely, for the religious communities of contemplative life. On behalf of the whole Church, I express gratitude to those who consecrate their lives to prayer in the cloister, offering an eloquent testimony of the primacy of God and of his Kingdom, I invite all to be close to them with our spiritual and material support.

[In French:]

I cordially greet the French-speaking pilgrims. On this Sunday, consecrated to the victims of the highway, I entrust to the Lord’s love all the people who died in highway accidents, as well as the numerous injured and their families. I invite all automobile drivers to drive with prudence and responsibility to fight effectively with the authorities against this social evil and reduce the number of victims.

[In English:]

I warmly welcome the English-speaking visitors present at this Angelus. May the Blessed Virgin Mary be close to all of you during your time in Rome, and may Christ, our lord and king, bless you and your families with joy and peace.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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