Christ’s role King of creation was the major theme of a brief address Pope Benedict gave to throngs of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square Sunday, to pray the weekly Angelus. Yesterday was the liturgical Solemnity of Christ the King--the final Sunday in the liturgical year before the beginning of Advent.
The Holy Father told the crowd that "During His public life, Jesus inaugurated the new Kingdom which 'is not of this world,' finally realizing it in full with His death and resurrection."
"Having risen from death," the Holy Father said, "He appeared before the Apostles and said 'all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.' This power springs from the love which God showed totally in the sacrifice of His Son."
He added that "The Kingdom of Christ is a gift offered to men and women of all times so that everyone who believes in the Word incarnate may 'not perish but have eternal life'."
Pope Benedict then went on to cite concluding paragraph of the first part of the Vatican Council II Pastoral Constitution, ‘Gaudium et Spes, which is titled "Christ, Alpha and Omega."
This section, the Holy Father said reads: "’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.’"
"Enlivened and united in His Spirit," the document continues, "we journey toward the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God's love: To reestablish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth'."
The Pope said that "'Gaudium et spes' interprets, in the light of the central position of Christ, the condition of contemporary man; his vocation and dignity, and all areas of his life: family, culture, economics, politics and the international community."
"This", he stressed, "is the Church's mission yesterday, today and always: to announce and bear witness to Christ so that mankind, all men and women, may fully realize their vocation."
The Vatican II documents have been finding their way into many of the Pope’s recent addresses, as the Church continues to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the influential council throughout this fall.