Vatican City, 22 November 2015 (VIS) – On the Solemnity of Christ the King, celebrated on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Pope devoted his reflection before today's Angelus prayer to the difference between Jesus' reality and that of the world, referring to the Gospel passage that narrates his appearance before Pilate, in which He affirms that He is King, but that His kingdom “is not of this world”.
“This does not mean that Christ is the king in another world, but rather that He is a different kind of king”, explained Francis. “Here there is a contraposition of two types of logic. Worldly logic is based on ambition and competition; it fights with the weapons of fear, bribery and the manipulation of consciences. The logic of the Gospel, that is, the logic of Jesus, is instead expressed in humility and gratitude. It is affirmed silently but effectively with the force of truth. The kingdoms of this world are at times sustained by arrogance, rivalries, oppression; whereas Christ's is a 'kingdom of justice, of love and of peace'”.
Jesus reveals Himself as King in the crucifixion, demonstrating the “surprising gratuitousness of love”. While the Cross may seem to some to be a failure, it is rather “the failure of sin that sin is a failure. In the failure of human ambitions, there is the triumph of the cross, there is the gratuitousness of love. … For a Christian, to speak of power and strength means to make reference to the power of the cross, and the strength of Jesus’ love: a love that remains firm and complete, even when faced with rejection, and which is shown as the fulfilment of a life committed entirely to the benefit of humanity”.
Paradoxically the truth of Jesus is indeed the challenge posed to him with irony by his adversaries: “He can’t save Himself!” “If Jesus had come down from the cross, he would have given in to the temptations of the Prince of this world. Instead, He does not save Himself so as to be able to save others, to give his life for us, for each one of us”. … One of the wrongdoers who was crucified with Him the 'good thief', understood this well, and pleaded with him, 'remember me when you enter your kingdom'. This criminal this was a criminal was a corrupt person, who had been condemned to death for all the brutalities he had committed in his life. But he saw love in Jesus' attitude and in His humility. Jesus' majesty does not oppress us, but rather frees us from our weaknesses and miseries, encouraging us to walk the path of the good, of reconciliation and forgiveness”.
“Faced with so many lacerations in the world, so many wounds in the flesh of man, let us ask the Virgin Mary to sustain us in our commitment to imitating Jesus, our King, making His kingdom present with gestures of tenderness, of understanding, of mercy”.
After the Angelus prayer, the Pope mentioned that yesterday in Barcelona, Spain, Federico de Berga and 25 companion martyrs were beatified. They had been “assassinated during the ferocious persecution of the Church during the last century. They were priests, young men who had professed their faith and were awaiting ordination, and lay brethren belonging to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Let us entrust to their intercession the many brothers and sisters of ours who unfortunately in our times, in many parts of the world, are still persecuted for their faith in Christ”.
Finally, the Holy Father commented that on Wednesday he will begin his apostolic trip to Africa to visit Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic, and he asked all present to pray for this trip, so that it may be a sign of love for all. “Together, let us ask Our Lady to bless these dear lands, so that there may be peace and prosperity there”.