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Christ, King of the Universe - Pope Benedict XVI

"He Defeated the Power of the 'Prince of This World'"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 26, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters:

On this last Sunday of the liturgical year we celebrate the solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe. Today's Gospel presents a passage of the dramatic interrogation to which Pontius Pilate subjected Jesus, when he was handed over to him with the accusation of having usurped the title "king of the Jews."

Jesus responded to the questions of the Roman governor affirming that he was King, but not of this world (cf. John 18:36). He did not come to dominate peoples and territories, but to free men from the slavery of sin and be reconciled 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. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice" (John 18:37).

But, what is the "truth" which Christ came into the world to witness? His whole existence reveals that God is love. This is, therefore, the truth of which he gave full testimony with the sacrifice of his own life on Calvary. The cross is the "throne" from which he manifested the sublime royalty of God-Love. By giving himself in expiation of the sin of the world, he defeated the power of the "prince of this world" (John 18:31) and established definitively the Kingdom of God. A Kingdom that is manifested in fullness at the end of time, after all his enemies and finally death, are subjected to him (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:25-26).

Then the Son will hand over the Kingdom to the Father and finally God will be "all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28). The road to achieve this goal is long and it is not possible to take short cuts. It is necessary that each person freely accept the truth of the love of God. He is Love and Truth, and love as well as truth never impose themselves: They knock on the door of the heart and mind and, where they enter, bring peace and joy. This is the way God reigns; this is his plan of salvation, a "mystery," in the biblical sense of the term, namely, a plan that is revealed little by little in history.

The Virgin Mary is associated in a very special way to Christ's royalty. God asked her, humble maiden of Nazareth, to become the Mother of the Messiah, and Mary corresponded to this call with her whole being, uniting her unconditional "yes" to that of her Son, Jesus, becoming with him obedient to the point of sacrifice. Because of this, God exalted her above all creatures and Christ crowned her Queen of Heaven and earth. We entrust the Church and the whole of humanity to her intercession, so that the love of God might reign in all hearts and his plan of justice and peace be fulfilled.

[At the end of the Angelus, the Pope greeted pilgrims in several languages. He began by saying in Italian:]

Dear brothers and sisters: As you know, in the next few days I will visit Turkey. From now on I wish to send a cordial greeting to the beloved Turkish people, of great historical and cultural richness. I express sentiments of esteem and sincere friendship to this nation and its representatives.

With heartfelt emotion, I wish to meet with the Catholic community, which is always present in my heart, and unite myself fraternally to the Orthodox Church, on the occasion of the feast of the Apostle St. Andrew.

With confidence, I wish to follow in the footsteps of my venerated predecessors, Paul VI and John XXIII, and I invoke the heavenly protection of Blessed John XXIII, who for 10 years was apostolic delegate in Turkey and felt great affection and esteem for that nation. I asked all of you to accompany me with prayer so that this pilgrimage may bring all the fruits willed by God.

Next December 1, World AIDS Day will be observed. I hope profoundly that it will serve to foster greater responsibility in curing the disease, as well as in the commitment to avoid all discrimination of those who have been affected. While I invoke the Lord's consolation on the sick and their families, I encourage the many initiatives which the Church supports in this field.

[In English, he said:]

I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors gathered for this "Angelus" prayer. On this Solemnity of Christ the King, let us pray for the spread of the Gospel, the triumph of God's reconciling love and the coming of his eternal Kingdom of holiness, justice and peace. May Christ's peace always reign in your hearts!

© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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