VATICAN CITY, NOV. 25, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Christ’s kingship over the world can be prevented insofar as men and women refuse to let him reign over their hearts, Benedict XVI says.
The Pope affirmed this in an address last Saturday to pilgrims from the southern Italian Archdiocese of Amalfi-Cava de’ Tirreni. The archdiocesan gathering occurred on the vigil of the feast of Christ the King.
“The Word of God that we will hear tomorrow will repeat to us that [Christ’s] face, the revelation of the invisible mystery of the Father, is that of the Good Shepherd, ready to take care of his scattered sheep, to gather them together so that they may graze and then rest in safety,” the Holy Father said. “[…] The Word of God will remind us too that the face of Christ, King of the universe, is that of the judge, for God is at the same time a good and merciful shepherd and a just judge.”
At the Last Judgment, the Holy Father continued, Christ “invites the just to enter into the inheritance that has been prepared for them from eternity, while he condemns the reprobates to eternal fire, prepared for the devil and for the other rebellious angels. The criterion of judgment is decisive. This criterion is love, the concrete charity to neighbor, and in particular to the ‘little ones,’ people in the greatest difficulties: the hungry, thirsty, foreigners, naked, sick and imprisoned.”
“Dear brothers and sisters,” the Pontiff added, “it is this that interests God. Historical kingship does not matter to him; but he wants to reign in peoples’ hearts, and from there, over the world: He is King of the whole universe but the critical point, the zone in which his Kingdom is at risk, is our heart, for it is there that God encounters our freedom.
“We, and we alone, can prevent him from reigning over us and hence hinder his kingship over the world: over the family, over society, over history. We men and women have the faculty to choose whose side we wish to be on: with Christ and his angels or with the devil and his followers, to use the same language as the Gospel.”
Benedict XVI said that each individual person has to decide “whether to practice justice or wickedness, to embrace love and forgiveness or revenge and homicidal hatred.”
“On this depends our personal salvation but also the salvation of the world,” he affirmed. “This is why Jesus wishes to associate us with his kingship; this is why he invites us to collaborate in the coming of his Kingdom of love, justice and peace.”
“It is left to us,” the Pope concluded, “to respond to him, not with words but with deeds: by choosing the path of effective and generous love for our neighbor we allow him to extend his lordship in time and space.”
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Full text: http://www.zenit.org/article-24366?l=english