Having prayed the Angelus from the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI reflected some current ways that the Kingdom of God is realized or frustrated.
Despite the persecution of the Japanese shoguns, 188 Japanese Christians stood firm against the insistence that they renounce their faith. Pope Benedict noted that these martyrs from the 17th century will be beatified in Nagasaki tomorrow and said, "In this circumstance, so significant for the Catholic community and for the Land of the Rising Sun, I assure my spiritual closeness."
The Holy Father also mentioned that next Saturday, “Brother José Olallo Valdés, of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God, will be proclaimed blessed in Cuba. To his heavenly protection I entrust the Cuban people, especially the sick and health care personnel."
When the Word of God is ignored, the world goes to ruin the Pope said minutes before in his reflections on the coming of Kingdom of God.
In this vein, the Pope recalled the 75th anniversary of Holodomor -the "great famine"- which caused millions of deaths in the Ukraine and other regions of the Soviet Union, from 1932 to1933.
The Holy Father lamented the tragedy that took place at the hands of the Communist government, saying, "May no political regulation, in the name of ideology, ever deny the human person his rights, liberty and dignity.”
He also prayed: “for all the innocent victims of that inhuman tragedy and invoke the Holy Mother of God so that she might help the Nations proceed along the way of reconciliation and build the present and the future out of mutual respect and on a genuine search for peace. Praised be Jesus Christ!"