34th Sunday of Year B
34th Sunday of Year B
NOVEMBER 25, 2018 – Angelus
The Solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe, which we celebrate today, is set at the conclusion of the liturgical year and recalls that the life of creation does not advance at random, but proceeds toward a final destination: the definitive manifestation of Christ, Lord of history and of all creation. The conclusion of history will be his eternal kingdom. Today’s Gospel passage (cf. Jn 18:33-37) speaks to us about this kingdom, the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of Jesus, recounting the humiliating situation that Jesus is in after being arrested in Gethsemane: bound, insulted, accused and led before the authorities of Jerusalem. And then, he is presented to the Roman prosecutor, as one who seeks to undermine political power, to become the king of the Jews. So Pilate conducts his inquest and, in a dramatic interrogation, twice asks Jesus if He is a king (cf. vv. 33, 37).
And Jesus initially responds that his kingship “is not of this world” (v. 36). Then he states: “You say that I am a king” (v. 37). It is evident from his entire life that Jesus does not have political ambitions. Let us recall that after the multiplication of the loaves, the people, excited by the miracle, would have sought to proclaim him king, to overturn the Roman power and reestablish the kingdom of Israel. But for Jesus the kingdom is something else, and it is certainly not achieved by revolt, violence and the force of arms. This is why he withdrew alone to pray on the mount (cf. Jn 6:5-15). Now, in responding, He makes Pilate take note that His disciples did not fight to defend Him. He says: “if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews” (Jn 18:36).
Jesus wants to make it understood that above and beyond political power there is another even greater one, which is not obtained by human means. He has come to earth to exercise this power, which is love, by bearing witness to the truth (cf. v. 37), the divine truth which ultimately is the essential message of the Gospel: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8); and he wishes to establish in the world his kingdom of love, justice and peace. And this is the kingdom of which Jesus is king, and which extends until the end of times. History teaches us that kingdoms founded on the force of arms and on the abuse of power are fragile and sooner or later collapse. But the Kingdom of God is founded on his love and is rooted in hearts — the Kingdom of God is rooted in hearts —, conferring peace, freedom and fullness of life upon those who embrace it. We all want peace; we all want freedom and we want fulfilment. And how do you do this? Allow the love of God, the Kingdom of God, the love of Jesus, to take root in your heart and you will have peace, you will have freedom and you will have fulfilment.
Today Jesus asks us to allow him to become our king. A king who, with his word, his example and his life immolated on the cross saved us from death, and — this king — indicates the path to those who are lost, gives new light to our existence marred by doubt, by fear and by everyday trials. But we must not forget that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. He will give new meaning to our life — at times even put to difficult tests through our mistakes and our sins — merely on the condition that we not follow the logics of the world and of its ‘kings’.
May the Virgin Mary help us to welcome Jesus as the king of our life and to spread his kingdom, by bearing witness to the truth which is love.
Dear brothers and sisters, yesterday Ukraine commemorated the anniversary of the Holodomor, a terrible famine brought about by the Soviet regime that caused millions of deaths. The image is painful. May the wound of the past be an appeal to all that such tragedy never again be repeated. Let us pray for that dear country and for the peace so greatly desired.
I greet all of you pilgrims, coming from Italy and from many countries: the families, parish groups, associations. In particular I greet the many choirs who have come for their Third International Conference in the Vatican, and I thank them for their presence and for their valuable service to the liturgy and to evangelization. Many thanks!
I greet those participating in the Congress on fertility, promoted by the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart on the 50th anniversary of Saint Paul VI’s Encyclical Humanae Vitae; as well as the law students of the ‘Università Roma Tre’ and the faithful from Pozzuoli, Bacoli and Bellizzi. I greet the members of the ‘Istituto Ranchibile’ of Palermo. And my compliments, because you have been brave! To come here in this rain! You are brave! Well done!
And I wish everyone a happy Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci!
SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website
NOVEMBER 25, 2015 – ANGELUS
On this last Sunday of the liturgical year, we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King. And today’s Gospel leads us to contemplate Jesus as he introduces himself to Pilate as king of a kingdom that “is not of this world” (Jn 18:36). This doesn’t mean that Christ is the king of another world, but that he is king in another manner, but he is king in this world. It is a contrast between two types of logic. Worldly logic is based on ambition, competition, it fights using the weapons of fear, extortion, and the manipulation of consciences. On the other hand, the logic of the Gospel, that is, the logic of Jesus, is expressed in humility and gratuitousness. It is silently but effectively affirmed with the strength of truth. The kingdoms of this world at times are sustained by arrogance, rivalries and oppression; the reign of Christ is a “kingdom of justice, love and peace” (Preface).
When did Jesus reveal himself as king? In the event of the Cross! Those who look at the Cross cannot but see the astonishing gratuitousness of love. One of you could say, “Father, that was a failure!”. It is precisely in the failure of sin — sin is a failure — in the failure of human ambitions: the triumph of the Cross is there, the gratuitousness of love is there. In the failure of the Cross, love is seen, a love that is gratuitous, which Jesus gives us. For a Christian, speaking of power and strength means referring to the power of the Cross, and the strength of Jesus’ love: a love which remains steadfast and complete, even when faced with rejection, and it is shown as the fulfillment of a life expended in the total surrender of oneself for the benefit of humanity. On Calvary, the passers-by and the leaders derided Jesus, nailed to the Cross, and they challenged him: “Save yourself, and come down from the cross!” (Mk 15:30). “Save yourself!”. But paradoxically the truth of Jesus is precisely what is hurled at him in a mocking tone by his adversaries: “he cannot save himself!” (v. 31). Had Jesus come down from the Cross, he would have given in to the temptations of the prince of this world. Instead, he cannot save himself precisely so as to be able to save others, precisely because he has given his life for us, for each one of us. To say: “Jesus gave his life for the world” is true. But it is more beautiful to say: “Jesus gave his life for me”. And today, in this Square, let each one of us say in his or her heart: “He gave his life for me, in order to save each one of us from our sins”.
Who understood this? One of the criminals who was crucified with him understood it well, the so-called “good thief”, who implored him, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingly power” (Lk 23:42). But this was a criminal, a corrupt person, and he was there in fact because he had been condemned to death for all of the brutalities that he had committed in his life. But he saw love in Jesus’ manner, in Jesus’ meekness. The kingship of Jesus doesn’t oppress us, but rather frees us from our weaknesses and miseries, encouraging us to walk the path of the good, of reconciliation and of forgiveness. Let us look at the Cross of Jesus, let us look at the “good thief”, and let us all say together what the good thief said: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”. All together: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”. Ask Jesus, when we feel that we are weak, that we are sinners, defeated, to look at us, and say to him: “You are there. Don’t forget me”.
Faced with so many lacerations in the world and too many wounds in the flesh of mankind, let us ask the Virgin Mary to sustain us in our commitment to emulate Jesus, our king, by making his kingdom present with gestures of tenderness, understanding and mercy.
SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website
November 25, 2012 – ANGELUS
Jesus’ entire mission consisted in proclaiming the Kingdom of God and putting it into practice among human beings with signs and miracles. However, as the Second Vatican Council recalls “this kingdom shone out before men … in the presence of Christ” (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, no. 5) and he established it through his death on the Cross and his Resurrection, with which he manifested himself as Lord and Messiah and Priest for ever.
This Kingdom of Christ has been entrusted to the Church which is its “seed” and its “beginning” and has the task of proclaiming it and spreading it among the peoples, with the power of the Holy Spirit (see ibid.). At the end of the established time, the Lord will consign the Kingdom to God the Father and will present to him all those who have lived in accordance with his commandment of love.
Dear friends, we are all called to extend God’s saving action, converting to the Gospel, following with determination the King who did not come to be served but to serve and to bear witness to the truth (see Mk 10:45; Jn 18:37). In this perspective I invite everyone to pray for the six new Cardinals whom I created yesterday that the Holy Spirit will strengthen them in faith and in charity and fill them with his gifts, so that they may live their new responsibilities as a further dedication to Christ and to his Kingdom. These new members of the College of Cardinals represent well the universal dimension of the Church: they are Pastors of the Church in Lebanon, in India, in Nigeria, in Colombia, and in the Philippines, and one of them has been for many years in the service of the Holy See.
Let us invoke the protection of Mary Most Holy upon each one of them and on the faithful entrusted to their service. May the Virgin help us all to live the present time in expectation of the Lord’s second coming, forcefully imploring God: “Thy Kingdom come”, and undertaking those works of light which bring us ever closer to heaven, in the awareness that, in the turbulent events of history God continues to build his Kingdom of love.
November 22, 2009 – ANGELUS
But in what does this “power” of Jesus Christ the King consist? It is not the power of the kings or the great people of this world; it is the divine power to give eternal life, to liberate from evil, to defeat the dominion of death. It is the power of Love that can draw good from evil, that can melt a hardened heart, bring peace amid the harshest conflict and kindle hope in the thickest darkness. This Kingdom of Grace is never imposed and always respects our freedom. Christ came “to bear witness to the truth” (Jn 18: 37), as he declared to Pilate: whoever accepts his witness serves beneath his “banner”, according to the image dear to St Ignatius of Loyola. Every conscience, therefore, must make a choice. Who do I want to follow? God or the Evil One? The truth or falsehood? Choosing Christ does not guarantee success according to the world’s criteria but assures the peace and joy that he alone can give us. This is demonstrated, in every epoch, by the experience of numerous men and women who, in Christ’s name, in the name of truth and justice, were able to oppose the enticements of earthly powers with their different masks, to the point that they sealed their fidelity with martyrdom.
Dear brothers and sisters, when the Angel Gabriel brought the announcement to Mary, he predicted that her Son would inherit the throne of David and reign forever (see Lk 1: 32-33). And even before she gave him to the world, the Blessed Virgin believed. Thus she must certainly have wondered what new kind of kingship Jesus’ would be; she came to understand by listening to his words, and especially by closely participating in the mystery of his death on the Cross and in his Resurrection. Let us ask Mary to help us too to follow Jesus, our King, as she did, and to bear witness to him with our entire existence.
November 26, 2006 – ANGELUS
Jesus answered the Roman governor’s questions by declaring that he was a king, but not of this world (see Jn 18: 36). He did not come to rule over peoples and territories but to set people free from the slavery of sin and to reconcile them with God. And he added: “For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice” (Jn 18: 37).
But what is the “truth” that Christ came into the world to witness to? The whole of his life reveals that God is love: so this is the truth to which he witnessed to the full with the sacrifice of his own life on Calvary.
The Cross is the “throne” where he manifested his sublime kingship as God Love: by offering himself in expiation for the sin of the world, he defeated the “ruler of this world” (Jn 12: 31) and established the Kingdom of God once and for all. It is a Kingdom that will be fully revealed at the end of time, after the destruction of every enemy and last of all, death (see 1 Cor 15: 25-26). The Son will then deliver the Kingdom to the Father and God will finally be “everything to everyone” (1 Cor 15: 28).
The way to reach this goal is long and admits of no short cuts: indeed, every person must freely accept the truth of God’s love. He is Love and Truth, and neither Love nor Truth are ever imposed: they come knocking at the doors of the heart and the mind and where they can enter they bring peace and joy. This is how God reigns; this is his project of salvation, a “mystery” in the biblical sense of the word: a plan that is gradually revealed in history.
The Virgin Mary was associated in a very special way with Christ’s kingship. God asked her, a humble young woman of Nazareth, to become Mother of the Messiah and Mary responded to this request with her whole self, joining her unconditional “yes” to that of her Son, Jesus, and making herself obedient with him even in his sacrifice. This is why God exalted her above every other creature and Christ crowned her Queen of Heaven and earth.
Let us entrust the Church and all humanity to her intercession, so that God’s love can reign in all hearts and his design of justice and peace be fulfilled.
November 23, 1997 – HOMILY
1. On this Sunday which closes the liturgical year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. In the Gospel we listened to Pontius Pilate’s question to Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?” (Jn 18:33). Jesus replies by asking in turn: “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” (Jn 18:34). And Pilate answers: “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?” (Jn 18:35).
At this point in the dialogue, Christ states: “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world” (Jn 18:36).
Everything is clear and transparent now. Faced with the priests’ accusation, Jesus reveals that his is another kind of kingship, a divine and spiritual kingship. Pilate asks for confirmation: “So you are a king?” (Jn 18:37). At this point, excluding every erroneous interpretation of his royal dignity, Jesus indicates his true kingship: “I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice” (Jn 18:37).
He is not a king as the representatives of the Sanhedrin understood it: he does not, in fact, aspire to any political power in Israel. On the contrary, his kingdom goes well beyond the borders of Palestine. Everyone who is of the truth hears his voice (cf. Jn 18:37) and recognizes him as king. This is the universal scope of Christ’s kingdom and its spiritual dimension.
2. “Bear witness to the truth” (Jn 18:37). The reading from the Book of Revelation says that Jesus Christ is “the faithful witness” (1:5). He is the faithful witness because he reveals the mystery of God and announces his kingdom, which is now present. He is the first Servant of this kingdom. By becoming “obedient unto death, even death on the cross” (Phil 2:8), he will witness to the Father’s power over creation and over the world. And the place for exercising his kingship is the Cross he embraces on Golgotha. His was a shameful death, but it represents a confirmation of the Gospel proclamation of the kingdom of God. In the eyes of his enemies, that death should have been proof that all he had said and done was false: “He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him” (Mt 27:42). He did not come down from the cross but, like the Good Shepherd, he gave his life for his sheep (cf. Jn 10:11). The confirmation of his royal power, however, came a little later when on the third day he rose from the dead, revealing himself as “the first-born of the dead” (Rv 1:5).
He, the obedient Servant, is King because he has “the keys of death and Hades” (Rv 1:18). And, because he is the conqueror of death, hell and Satan, he is “the ruler of kings on earth” (Rv 1:5). In fact, everything on earth is subject to death. Instead, he who has power over death opens the prospect of immortal life to all humanity. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the fulfilment of all creation (cf. Rv 1:8), so that every generation can repeat: Blessed is his kingdom that is coming (cf. Mk 11:10).
3. Dear brothers and sisters of Holy Trinity Parish in Castel di Lunghezza, I am pleased to be here with you today to celebrate the Eucharist on the Solemnity of Christ the King.
I affectionately greet everyone here, with a cordial thought for the Cardinal Vicar, for the Vicegerent and for your parish priest, Fr Bruno Sarto. I also greet the Monfort Missionaries with their seminarians, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux and all those who, in various ways, help with the guidance and pastoral service of your community. Lastly, I greet all of you, dear parishioners, extending a particularly affectionate word to the elderly, the sick and those who are alone.
I wish to assure all the inhabitants of this area, located on the edge of the municipality of Rome, that, even if they are physically distant from the Pope’s house, you are always close to me. Your suburb, which arose like so many others without precise planning, unfortunately still lacks many structures and especially social services for the elderly, young people and children. Here again the parish is the sole centre for coming together and it makes an essential contribution to the social life of the entire neighbourhood. I therefore encourage the Diocese of Rome to continue in its praiseworthy effort to provide suitable parish structures in those areas where not only places of worship, but the other services also are lacking. In this regard, I wish to take this occasion to urge you and all Roman citizens to generously support the project “50 Churches for Rome 2000”, which is meant to provide every district of Rome with a church.
4. I am aware that in this area the spiritual children of St Vincent de Paul have carried out a laudable work of evangelization, especially through popular missions. To them go my appreciation and my heartfelt acknowledgement of their generous pastoral zeal. These missions are still needed today not only in the Roman countryside but throughout the city of Rome. They must be organized in a renewed form, which expresses the real situation of the People of God as a “people-in-mission”. This is precisely what the Diocese is endeavouring to accomplish with the City Mission.
Next Sunday, as I open the year dedicated to the Holy Spirit in preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, I will give crosses to the men and women missionaries who in the coming months will visit families and proclaim the Gospel in the homes of this and of every Roman parish.
Dear catechists, dear members of the parish council, dear members of the various groups, I wish to extend a special invitation to each of you: generously continue your work of evangelization, even if at times it may be difficult and unrewarding for you! The Lord is with you and he will never abandon his Church.
I urge you, dear families, not to be afraid to live a demanding love that is marked, as the Apostle Paul writes, by patience, kindness and hope (cf. 1 Cor 13:4,7).
To you, dear young people, I wish to repeat that the Church needs you, and I would like to add: you need the Church, because the Church desires only that you meet Jesus, the One who makes man free to love and serve.
The Church needs you because, after having experienced the true freedom that Christ alone can offer you, you will be able to witness to the Gospel among your peers, with courage, with great creativity, using the sensitivity and talents characteristic of your youth. May the Youth Mission, within the great City Mission, foster this reconciliation between young people and Christ, between young people and the Church!
5. Dear brothers and sisters, today’s liturgy reminds us that the truth about Christ the King is the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. The prophet Daniel announces the coming of the Son of man, who has been given “dominion and glory and kingdom”. He comes served by “peoples, nations and languages” and his “dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed” (cf. Dn 7:14). We know well that all this was perfectly fulfilled in Christ, in his Passover of Death and Resurrection.
The Solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe, invites us to repeat with faith the prayer of the Our Father, which Jesus himself taught us: “Thy kingdom come”.
Thy kingdom come, O Lord! — “A kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace” (Preface).
© Copyright 1997 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana
November 26, 1978 – ANGELUS
- Today is the feast of Christ the King of the universe.
While I was thinking what to say to you today, beloved Brothers and Sisters gathered for the “Angelus”, it came into my mind that the words of the Gospel of St John should ring out in the first place here—yes, in this very place, in front of the facade of St Peter’s Basilica, in the heart of Rome.
Pilate said: “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered: “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world” (Jn 18:33-36).
These words remind us of past events, which took place in the distant outskirts of the great Roman Empire. They are not, however, without significance. Perhaps present-day, topical problems still resound in them. In this dialogue, perhaps, there could be found, at least from certain standpoints, the same discussions that happen today.
Christ answers the judge’s question and shows that the accusation brought against him is groundless. He does not aim at temporal power.
Shortly afterwards he will be scourged and crowned with thorns. He will be mocked and insulted, with the words: “Hail, King of the Jews!” (Jn 19:3). But Jesus is silent, as if he wished, by his silence, to express to the end what he had already replied to Pilate.
- But this was not yet the complete answer. And Pilate felt it. And for this reason he asked for the second time: “So you are a king?” (Jn 18:37).
A strange question, strange after all that Christ had declared so firmly. But Pilate felt that the accused man’s denial did not exhaust everything: in the depth of this denial an affirmation was hidden. What? And here Christ helps Pilate, the judge, to find it:
“You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice” (Jn 18:37).
We must all reflect carefully on Christ’s denial and affirmation.
Jesus’ affirmation does not belong to the trial that was once held in the distant territories of the Roman Empire, but is always at the centre of our lives. It is relevant today. Those who issue laws, and those who govern states and those who judge, must think it over.
Every Christian, every man, who is always a citizen, and who consequently belongs to a definite political, ,economic, national and international community, must reflect on this affirmation.
- “For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear .witness to the truth”—Christ the King says before the court of the governor-judge, while waiting for the sentence that would be passed shortly afterwards.
In this connection let us listen again to what the Second Vatican Council said: “The Church, by reason of her role and competence, is not identified with any political community nor bound by ties to any political system. It is at once the sign and the safeguard of the transcendental dimension of the human person'” (Gaudium et Spes, 76).
This is how the contemporary Church thinks and speaks.
The Church wishes to be faithful to what Christ said.
This is her raison d’etre.
In this connection, we think of those brothers of ours, who are tried, and perhaps condemned to death—if not to physical death, at least to civil death—because they profess their faith, because they are faithful to truth, because they defend real justice.
It must be recognized that, unfortunately, similar situations are not lacking also in the world of today. On this day of Christ the King, it is necessary, therefore, to stress the resemblance of those who are undergoing them, with Christ himself, tried and condemned before the court of Pilate.
Let us pray every day: Thy Kingdom come.
We must never forget those who pay for their faithfulness to the Kingdom of God with condemnation, discriminations, sufferings and death. This must be remembered by all of us on meeting in front of the facade of St Peter’s Basilica to recite the “Angelus”.
SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website