St. Peter's Square
Sunday, November 25th, 2018
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
The solemnity of Jesus Christ King of the universe, which we celebrate today, is set at the end of the liturgical year and recalls that the life of creation does not advance by chance, but proceeds towards a final goal: the definitive manifestation of Christ, Lord of history and of all creation. The conclusion of the story will be its eternal kingdom. Today's Gospel passage (cf. Jn 18,33b-37) tells us about this kingdom, the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of Jesus, telling the humiliating situation in which Jesus was found after being arrested in Gethsemane: bound, insulted , accused and brought before the authorities of Jerusalem. And then, it is presented to the Roman prosecutor, as one who is attentive to political power, to become the king of the Jews. Pilate then makes his inquiry and in a dramatic interrogation asks him twice if he is a king (see verses 33b.37).
And Jesus responds first that his kingdom "is not of this world" (verse 36). Then he says: «You say it: I am king» (v.37). It is evident from his whole life that Jesus has no political ambitions. We recall that after the multiplication of the loaves, the people, enthusiastic about the miracle, wanted to proclaim him king, to overthrow Roman power and restore the kingdom of Israel. But for Jesus the kingdom is something else, and certainly not achieved with the revolt, violence and force of arms. Therefore he had withdrawn alone on the mountain to pray (cf. Jn 6: 5-15). Now, responding to Pilate, he points out that his disciples did not fight to defend him. He says: "If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have fought because I was not handed over to the Jews" (v.36).
Jesus wants to make it clear that above the political power there is another much greater one, which is not achieved by human means. He came to earth to exercise this power, which is love, bearing witness to the truth (see verse 37). This is the divine truth that is ultimately the essential message of the Gospel: "God is love" (1 Jn 4: 8) and wants to establish in the world his kingdom of love, justice and peace. And this is the kingdom of which Jesus is the king, and which extends to the end of time. History teaches us that the kingdoms founded on the power of arms and on the prevarication are fragile and sooner or later collapse. But the kingdom of God is founded on his love and is rooted in the hearts - the kingdom of God is rooted in the hearts -, giving to those who welcome peace, freedom and fullness of life. We all want peace, we all want freedom and we want fullness. How do you do? Let the love of God, the kingdom of God, the love of Jesus take root in your heart and you will have peace, you will have freedom and you will have fullness.
Jesus today asks us to let him become our king. A king who with his word, his example and his life immolated on the cross has saved us from death, and indicates - this king - the way to the lost man, gives new light to our existence marked by doubt, by fear and from the tests of every day. But we must not forget that the kingdom of Jesus is not of this world. He will be able to give a new meaning to our life, sometimes put to the test even by our mistakes and our sins, only on condition that we do not follow the logic of the world and its "kings".
May the Virgin Mary help us to welcome Jesus as the king of our life and to spread his kingdom, bearing witness to the truth that is love.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
Yesterday Ukraine commemorated the anniversary of the Holodomor, a terrible famine caused by the Soviet regime that caused millions of victims. The image is painful. The wound of the past is a call for all because such tragedies are never repeated again. We pray for that dear country and for the much desired peace.
I greet all of you pilgrims who have come from Italy and from different countries: families, parish groups, associations. In particular, I greet the numerous choirs that came for their Third International Conference at the Vatican, and I thank them for their presence and for their precious service to the liturgy and evangelization. Thank you very much!
I greet the participants in the Congress on fertility, promoted by the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart on the 50th anniversary of the Encyclical Humanae vitae of Saint Paul VI; as well as university law students of the Roma Tre University, and the faithful of Pozzuoli, Bacoli and Bellizzi. I greet the members of the Ranchibile Institute of Palermo. And congratulations, because you have been brave! Come with this rain! You are brave! Bravi!
And I wish everyone a good Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!