Monday, November 21, 2005

Angelus Message on Cristo Rey

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Today, the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe, is celebrated. From the announcement of his birth, the only-begotten Son of the Father, born of the Virgin Mary, is defined as "king," in the messianic sense, that is, heir to the throne of David, according to the promises of the prophets, over a kingdom that will have no end (cf. Luke 1:32-33).

Christ's royalty remained totally hidden until he was 30 years old, spent in an ordinary life in Nazareth. Later, during his public life, Jesus inaugurated the new kingdom, which "is not of this world" (John 18:36), and he realized it fully at the end with his death and resurrection. Upon appearing, risen, to the apostles, he said to them: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28:18).

This power arises from love, which God has fully manifested in the sacrifice of his Son. The kingdom of Christ is a gift offered to people of all times so that whoever believes in the incarnate word "should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). For this reason, precisely in the last book of the Bible, Revelation, proclaims: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end" (22:13). "Christ, Alpha and Omega," thus is entitled the paragraph with which the first part concludes of the Second Vatican Council's pastoral constitution "Gaudium et Spes," promulgated 40 years ago.

In this beautiful page, which takes up some of the words of the servant of God, Pope Paul VI, we read: "The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilization, the center of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings." And he adds: "Enlivened and united in his Spirit, we journey toward the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God's love: 'To re-establish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth' (Ephesians 11:10)" (No. 45).

In the light of Christ's centrality, "Gaudium et Spes" interprets the condition of contemporary man, his vocation and dignity, as well as the realms of his life: family, culture, economy, politics and international community. This is the mission of the Church yesterday, today and always: to proclaim and witness to Christ, so that man, every man, may fully realize his vocation. May the Virgin Mary, associated by God in a singular way to the royalty of her Son, enable us to acknowledge him as lord of our lives to cooperate faithfully in the coming of his kingdom of love, justice and peace.



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