(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday celebrated Holy Mass in Saint Peter’s Square for the Solemnity of Christ the King.
During the celebration, the Holy Father raised six new saints to the honours of the altar:
Kuriakose Elias Chavara, a priest whose leadership saved the Church in Kerala from a schism and who was the founder of the Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate;
Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Mother of Carmel;
Amato Ronconi, Third Order Franciscan and the founder of the hospital known as the “Blessed Amato Ronconi Nursing Home”;
Giovanni Antonio Farina, the bishop of Vicenza and the founder of the Institute of the Sisters of Saint Dorothy, Daughters of the Sacred Heart.
Nicola da Longobardi, a professed oblate of the Order of Minims;
Ludovico da Casoria, a Franciscan priest who founded the Congregation of the Elizabethan Franciscan Sisters.
Listen to Christopher Wells' report:
“Today’s liturgy,” Pope Francis said in his homily, “invites us to fix our gaze on Christ, the King of the Universe. The Holy Father went on to explain how Jesus established His kingdom; how He brings it about in history; and what He now asks of us.”
Our Lord brought about His Kingdom through His closeness and tenderness, as the Shepherd of His flock. Pastors in the Church, the Pope said, cannot stray from Christ’s example if they do not want to become “hirelings.” “The People of God have an unerring sense for recognizing good shepherds and distinguishing them from hirelings.”
After His Resurrection, Pope Francis continued, the Kingdom of Jesus advances as “the Father, little by little, subjects all things to Jesus." In the end, when all things are under the sovereignty of Christ, Christ will consign His Kingdom to the Father so that “God will be all in all.”
Finally, Jesus’ Kingdom requires us to imitate Jesus’ works of mercy through which He brought about His Kingdom. The great Gospel parable of the Final Judgement “reminds us that closeness and tenderness are the rule of life for us also, and on this basis we will be judged.” Through His victory over sin and death, “Jesus has opened to us his kingdom,” the Pope said. “But it is for us to enter into it, beginning with our life now, by being close in concrete ways to our brothers and sisters who ask for bread, clothing, acceptance, solidarity. If we truly love them, we will be willing to share with them what is most precious to us, Jesus Himself and His Gospel.”
Turning to the newly canonized saints, Pope Francis said, “Each in his or her own way served the kingdom of God, of which they became heirs, precisely through works of generous devotion to God and their brothers and sisters.”
In the Rite of Canonization, the Pope concluded, “we have confessed once again the mystery of God’s kingdom and we have honoured Christ the King, the Shepherd full of love for His sheep."
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