VATICAN CITY, 22 NOV 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received pilgrims from the Italian archdiocese of Amalfi - Cava de' Tirreni, who have come to Rome in the company of their pastor, Archbishop Orazio Soricelli. Their pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter bearing the relics of St. Andrew, patron of the archdiocese, is intended to mark the eighth centenary of the translation of that saint's body from Constantinople to Amalfi.
The Pope pointed out that on 30 November, to mark the end of the Jubilee Year of the archdiocese of Amalfi - Cava de' Tirreni, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. will celebrate Mass in Amalfi cathedral. He also recalled how the culminating moment of the jubilee celebrations came on 8 May with a solemn commemoration presided by Cardinal Walter Kapser, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Throughout the Jubilee Year, he told the faithful from the archdiocese, "you have sought to give fresh impulse to your apostolic and missionary vocation, opening your hearts to the hopes for peace among people, and intensifying your prayers for the unity of all Christians. Vocation, mission and ecumenism are, then, the three keywords that have guided you through this spiritual and pastoral enterprise".
On Sunday 23 November, Feast of Christ the King, "the Word of God will also remind us that the face of Christ, universal King, is that of a judge, because God is at one and the same time the good and merciful Shepherd and the righteous Judge", said Pope Benedict.
"The criterion with which judgement is applied", he went on, "is of great importance. This criterion is love, real charity towards others, especially the 'little ones', people in greater need. ... Christ identifies Himself with the 'smallest of His brothers and sisters', and the final judgement will be a settling of accounts of what happened in earthly life".
God "is not concerned with historical kingship, He wishes to reign in people's hearts and from there over the world. He is the King of the entire universe, yet ... the area in which His reign is at risk is in our own hearts because there God encounters our freedom. We, and we alone, can ... hinder His kingship over the world, over families, over society and over history".
"Jesus wishes to associate us with His royalty. That is why He invites us to collaborate in the advent of His Kingdom of love, justice and peace. It is up to us to respond to Him, not with words but with deeds. By choosing the path of effective and generous love towards others, we allow Him to extend His lordship over time and space".
AC/CHRIST KING/AMALFI VIS 20081124 (470)