VATICAN CITY, NOVEMBER 26, 2017 (Zenit.org).- Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
In this last Sunday of the Liturgical Year we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ King of the universe. His royalty of guide, of service, is also a royalty that at the end of time will be affirmed as Judgment. Today we have before us Christ as King, Shepherd, and Judge, which shows the criteria of belonging to the Kingdom of God. Here are the criteria.
The evangelical page opens with a grandiose vision. Turning to His disciples, Jesus says: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the Angles with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne” (Matthew 25:31). It’s the solemn introduction of the account of the Universal Judgment. After having lived His earthly existence in humility and poverty, Jesus presents Himself now in the divine glory that belongs to Him, surrounded by an angelic array. The whole of humanity is gathered before Him, and He exercises His authority separating one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
To those He placed on His right hand He says: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (vv. 34-36). The righteous are surprised, because they don’t remember having ever met Jesus, and even less so, having helped Him in that way, but He says: “as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (v. 40). This word never ends striking us, because it reveals to us to what point the love of God reaches: to the point of identifying Himself with us, but not when we are well, when we are healthy and happy, no, but when we are in need. And He lets Himself be found in this hidden way, He stretches His hand out as a beggar. Jesus thus reveals the decisive criteria of his Judgment, namely, concrete love of one’s neighbor in difficulty. And revealed thus is the power of love, the royalty of God: in solidarity with one who suffers, to arouse everywhere attitudes and works of mercy.
The parable of the Judgment continues presenting the King who sends away from Him those who during their life were not preoccupied about the needs of brothers. In this case, also they remain surprised and ask: “Lord, when did we see Thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to Thee?” Implying: “If we had seen You, we would certainly have helped You!” But the King will answer: “as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to Me” (v. 45). At the end of life, we will be judged on love, namely, on our concrete commitment to love and serve Jesus in our littlest and neediest brothers. That beggar, that needy one that stretches out his hand is Jesus; that sick person that I must visit is Jesus, that imprisoned man is Jesus, that hungry man is Jesus. Let us think about this.
Jesus will come at the end of time to judge all the nations, but He comes to us every day, in so many ways, and He asks that we receive Him. May the Virgin Mary help us to meet and receive Him in His Word and in the Eucharist, and at the same time in brothers and sisters suffering hunger, sickness, oppression, injustice. May our heart receive him in the today of our life so that He will receive us in the eternity of His Kingdom of light and peace.[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia m. Forrester]
After the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The news last Friday gave us great grief of the massacre that happened in a mosque in the north of Sinai. I continue to pray for the numerous victims, for the wounded and for all that community, so harshly stricken. May God free us from these tragedies and sustain the efforts of all those who work for peace, for concord and coexistence. Those people were praying at that moment; we too, in silence, pray for them.
Proclaimed Blessed yesterday in Cordoba, Argentina, was Mother Catherine of Mary Rodriguez, Founder of the Congregation of Sisters Slaves of the Heart of Jesus, first women’s Religious Institute of Apostolic Life in Argentina. Catherine, who lived in the 19th century, first married and then, remaining a widow, she consecrated herself to God and dedicated herself to the spiritual and material care of the poorest and most vulnerable women. We praise the Lord for this “woman passionate of the Heart of Jesus and of humanity.”
I greet you all, pilgrims from Italy and from different countries: the families, parish groups <and> Associations. In particular, I greet the Ukrainian community remembering the Holodomor tragedy, death by hunger caused by the Stalinist regime with millions of victims. I pray for Ukraine so that the strength of faith can contribute to heal the wounds of the past and promote ways of peace.
I greet the faithful of Cagliari, Matera, Potenza, Parma, Crotone, and Rossano, as well as the Italian Association of Accompaniers in the Marian Shrines of the world.
This evening I will begin my Apostolic Journey to Myanmar and Bangladesh. I ask you to accompany me with prayer so that my presence is a sign of closeness and hope for those populations.
I wish you all a happy Sunday. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye![Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
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