Pope Francis' Homily "Here is our King, King of each of us, King of the universe..." and he Recommends the Daily Prayer - "Jesus, remember me." FULL TEXT + Video

Cathedral of Asti
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe - Sunday, November 20, 2022
We have seen this boy, Stephen, asking to be given the acolyte ministry on his way to the priesthood. We must pray for him, that he may continue in his vocation and be faithful; but we must also pray for this Church of Asti, so that the Lord sends priestly vocations, because as you can see the majority are old, like me: we need young priests, like some here who are very good. We pray to the Lord that he bless this land.
And from these lands my father left to emigrate to Argentina; and in these lands, made precious by the good products of the soil and above all by the genuine industriousness of the people, I have come to rediscover the flavor of the roots. But today it is once again the Gospel that takes us back to the roots of faith. They are found in the arid ground of Calvary, where the seed of Jesus, by dying, made hope germinate: planted in the heart of the earth, it opened the way to Heaven for us; with his death he gave us eternal life; through the wood of the cross he brought us the fruits of salvation. So let us look to him, let us look to the Crucifix.

Only one sentence appears on the cross: "This is the King of the Jews" (Lk 23:38). Here is the title: King. However, observing Jesus, our idea of ​​king is overturned. Let's try to visually imagine a king: we will think of a strong man sitting on a throne with precious insignia, a scepter in his hands and shiny rings between his fingers, while he speaks solemn words to his subjects. This, roughly speaking, is the image we have in mind. But looking at Jesus, we see that it is quite the opposite. He is not sitting on a comfortable throne, but hanging from a gallows; the God who "overthrows the mighty from their thrones" (Lk 1:52) works as a servant crucified by the mighty; adorned only with nails and thorns, stripped of everything but rich in love, from the throne of the cross he no longer teaches the crowds with the word, he no longer raises his hand to teach. He does more: he doesn't point a finger at anyone, but opens his arms to everyone. This is how our King manifests himself: with open arms, brasa aduerte.
Only by entering his embrace do we understand: we understand that God went as far as there, to the paradox of the cross, precisely to embrace all of us, even what was most distant from him: our death – he embraced the our death -, our pain, our poverties, our frailties and our miseries. And He embraced it all. He made himself a servant so that each of us feels like a son: he paid for our sonship with his servitude; he let himself be insulted and mocked, so that in every humiliation none of us is alone anymore; he let himself be stripped, so that no one feels stripped of their dignity; went up on the cross, so that in every crucifix in history there is the presence of God. Here is our King, King of each of us, King of the universe because he has crossed the most remote boundaries of humanity, he has entered the black holes of hate, in the black holes of abandonment to light up every life and embrace every reality. Brothers, sisters, this is the King we celebrate today! It is not easy to understand him, but he is our King. And the question to ask ourselves is: is this King of the universe the King of my existence? Do I believe in Him? How can I celebrate him Lord of everything if he doesn't become the Lord of my life too? And you who are starting this road to the priesthood today, don't forget that this is your model: don't cling to honors, no. This is your model; if you don't think you are a priest like this King, better stop there.
However, let us still fix our eyes on Jesus Crucified. You see, He doesn't just observe your life for a moment, he doesn't give you a fleeting glance as we often do with Him, but He stays there, brasa aduerte, to tell you in silence that nothing about you is extraneous to Him, that He wants embrace you, get up, save you as you are, with your story, your miseries, your sins. But Lord, is it true? With my miseries do you love me like this? At this moment everyone thinks about his own poverty: "But, do you love me with these spiritual poverty that I have, with these limitations?". And He smiles and makes us understand that He loves us and gave His life for us. Let's think a little about our limits, even about good things: He loves us as we are, as we are now. He gives us the possibility of reigning in life, if you surrender to his meek love which proposes itself but does not impose itself - God's love is never imposed - to his love of him who always forgives you. Many times we get tired of forgiving people and we cross ourselves, we do the social burial. He never tires of forgiving, never, never: he always gets you back on your feet, always restores your royal dignity. Yes, where does salvation come from? From letting ourselves be loved by him, because only in this way are we freed from the slavery of our ego, from the fear of being alone, from thinking we can't do it. Brothers, sisters, let us often place ourselves in front of the Crucifix, let us allow ourselves to be loved, because those brasa aduerte also open up paradise for us, as for the "good thief". We hear that phrase addressed to us, the only one that Jesus says today from the cross: "You will be with me in paradise" (Lk 23:43). This is what God wants and means to us, to all of us, every time we let ourselves be looked at by him. And then we understand that we do not have an unknown god who is up there in the heavens, powerful and distant, no: a close God, closeness is the style of God: closeness, with tenderness and mercy. This is God's style. He has no other style. Close, merciful and tender. Tender and compassionate, whose open arms comfort and caress. Here is our King!
Brothers, sisters, after looking at it, what can we do? The Gospel today presents us with two paths. In front of Jesus there are those who act as spectators and those who get involved. The spectators are many, the majority. They look, it's a show to see someone die on the cross. In fact – says the text – “the people watched” (v. 35). They weren't bad people, many were believers, but at the sight of the Crucifix they remain spectators: they don't take a step forward towards Jesus, but look at him from a distance, curious and indifferent, without really being interested, without asking themselves what to do. Perhaps they will have commented: "But look at this..." they will have expressed judgments and opinions: "But he's innocent, look at this like this..." someone must have complained, but everyone stood by and watched with folded hands, arms folded. But even near the cross there are spectators: the leaders of the people, who want to witness the bloody spectacle of Christ's inglorious end; the soldiers, who hope that the execution will end soon, to go home; one of the criminals, who unloads his anger on Jesus. They laugh, they insult, they let off steam.
And all these spectators share a refrain, which the text repeats three times: "If you are king, save yourself!" (see vv. 35.37.39) They insult him like this, they challenge him! He saves yourself, exactly the opposite of what Jesus is doing, who doesn't think of himself, but of saving them, who insult him. But saving yourself is contagious: from leaders to soldiers to people, the wave of evil reaches almost everyone. But we think that evil is contagious, it infects us: like when we catch an infectious disease, it infects us immediately. And those people talk about Jesus but don't tune in even for a moment with Jesus. They distance themselves and speak. It is the lethal contagion of indifference. Indifference is a bad disease. "This doesn't touch me, it doesn't touch me." Indifference towards Jesus and indifference also towards the sick, towards the poor, towards the poor of the earth. I like to ask people, and I ask each of you; I know that each of you gives alms to the poor, and I ask you: "When you give alms to the poor, do you look them in the eye? Are you capable of looking into the eyes of that poor man or woman who asks you for alms? When you give alms to the poor, do you throw the coin or touch their hand? Are you capable of touching a human misery?”. Everyone then give the answer today. Those people were indifferent. Those people talk about Jesus but don't tune in with Jesus. And this is the lethal contagion of indifference: which creates distances with misery. The wave of evil always spreads like this: it begins by distancing oneself, by watching without doing anything, by not caring, then one thinks only of what interests one and gets used to turning away. And this is also a risk for our faith, which withers away if it remains a theory and does not become practical, if there is no involvement, if we don't spend ourselves personally, if we don't put ourselves on the line. Then we become rose water Christians - as I heard at my house - who say they believe in God and want peace, but they don't pray and don't take care of their neighbor and also, they don't care about God, nor peace. These Christians only of their word, superficial!
This was the bad wave, that was there at Calvary. But there is also the beneficial wave of good. Among many spectators, one gets involved, that is the "good thief". The others laugh at the Lord, He speaks to them and calls them by name: "Jesus"; so many throw their anger at him, he confesses his mistakes to Christ; many say "save yourself", He prays: "Jesus, remember me" (v. 42). He only asks the Lord for this. This is a beautiful prayer. If each of us recites it every day, it is a beautiful road: the road to holiness: "Jesus, remember me." Thus a criminal becomes the first saint: he draws close to Jesus for an instant and the Lord keeps him with him forever. Now, the Gospel speaks of the good thief for us, to invite us to overcome evil by ceasing to remain spectators. Please, this is worse than doing evil, indifference. Where to start? From trust, from calling God by name, just like the good thief did, who at the end of his life finds the courageous trust of children, who trust, ask, insist. And in confidence he admits his mistakes, he cries but not on himself, but before the Lord. And we, do we have this trust, do we bring to Jesus what we have inside or do we disguise ourselves before God, perhaps with a little sacredness and incense? Please don't do makeup spirituality—that's boring. Before God: soap and water, only, no make-up, but the soul as it is. And that's where salvation comes from. Those who practice trust, like this good thief, learn intercession, learn to bring to God what he sees, the sufferings of the world, the people he meets; to tell him, like the good thief: "Remember, Lord!". We are not in the world just to save ourselves, no: but to bring brothers and sisters into the embrace of the King. Interceding, reminding the Lord, opens the gates of paradise. But do we intercede when we pray? “Remember Lord, remember me, my family, remember this problem, remember, remember….” Attract the attention of the Lord.
Brothers, sisters, today our King from the cross looks at us brasa aduerte. It's up to us to choose whether to be spectators or involved. Am I a spectator or do I want to be involved? We see today's crises, the decline of faith, the lack of participation... What do we do? Do we limit ourselves to making theories, do we limit ourselves to criticizing, or do we roll up our sleeves, take life in hand, pass from the "if" of apologies to the "yes" of prayer and service? We all think we know what's wrong with society, everyone; we talk every day about what is wrong in the world and also in the Church: many things are wrong in the Church. But then we do something? Do we get our hands dirty like our God nailed to wood or do we stand with our hands in our pockets and watch? Today, while Jesus, stripped naked on the cross, removes every veil on God and destroys every false image of his kingship, let us look to him, to find the courage to look at ourselves, to walk the paths of trust and intercession, to be serve to reign with Him. “Remember Lord, remember”: Let us pray this prayer more often. Thank you.
Source: Vatican.va