VATICAN CITY, NOV. 25, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II´s address in St. Peter´s Square today, at the end of the canonization of four new saints and before the praying of the midday Angelus.
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Dearest Brothers and Sisters!
1. This Sunday, the last of the liturgical year, the solemnity of Christ the King of the universe, is celebrated, and the Church invites us to contemplate the royalty of the Redeemer, which is reflected with particular eloquence in the lives of the saints. This morning, in St. Peter´s Basilica, I had the joy of proclaiming four new [saints]: Bishop Giuseppe Marello of Acqui, founder of the Congregation of Oblates of St. Joseph; and three consecrated virgins: Paula Montal Fornés of St. Joseph Calasanz, Leonie Françoise de Sales Aviat, and Maria Crescentia Höss. Their witness shows that the Crucified really “lives and reigns forever.” Yes, he is “the living one,” “the Lord,” and he reigns in the lives of men and women of every place and time, who accept him freely and follow him faithfully. His Kingdom, a “kingdom of justice, love and peace” (Preface) will only be manifested, however, at the end of time.
2. Compared to the criteria of this world, the royalty of Jesus seems to be, so to speak, “paradoxical.” In fact, the power that it exercises has no place in earthly logic. It is, on the contrary, the power of love and service, which requires the free gift of self and consistent witness to truth (John 18:37).
For this reason, the Lord sacrificed himself as an “immaculate victim of peace on the altar of the Cross” (Preface), knowing that only thus could he rescue humanity, history and the cosmos from the slavery of sin and death. His resurrection attests that he is the victorious King, the “Lord” in heaven, on earth, and under the earth (see Philippians 2:10-11).
3. The creature who more than any other was associated with Christ was Mary, whom he himself crowned Queen of heaven and earth. The saints, whom the Church today presents to us for our veneration, looked to her as their constant model. We also look to her, so that she will help us to “reign” with Christ to build a world where peace “reigns.”
We must pray ceaselessly to obtain this great gift, which is peace, a gift of which humanity is in such great need. We will invoke it confidently, including with the two initiatives that I announced last Sunday: the day of fasting in December, and the January prayer meeting in Assisi with the representatives of the world´s religions. May Mary, Queen of Peace, intercede for us before her divine Son, immortal King and Lord of peace.
[Translation by ZENIT]