Pope Francis at Angelus: we enter God’s Kingdom through the door of humble service

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Marking the Solemnity of Christ the King on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, Pope Francis reflected on the parable that, he said, unfolds the mystery of Christ. Addressing the faithful during the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said “He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of history” and he explained that today’s liturgy focuses on the “Omega”, that is, on the final goal. “The meaning of history is understood by keeping its culmination before our eyes: the goal is also the end,” he said.

Taking his cue from the Gospel according to Matthew (25:31-46) that places Jesus’s discourse on the universal judgement at the end of His earthly life, the Pope observed that “He, the one whom men are about to condemn is, in reality, the supreme judge.”

“In His death and resurrection, Jesus will manifest Himself as the Lord of History, the King of the Universe, the Judge of all. But the Christian paradox is that the Judge is not vested in the fearful trappings of royalty, but is the shepherd filled with meekness and mercy,” he said.

The Pope explained that Jesus, in this parable of the final judgement, uses the image of a shepherd, recalling the prophecy of Ezekiel who had spoken of God’s intervention in favour of His people against the evil pastors of Israel. They had been cruel exploiters, he said, preferring to feed themselves rather than the flock. Therefore, he continued, “God Himself promises to personally take care of His flock, defending them it from injustice and abuse.”

The Pope said that this promise God made on behalf of His people is fully accomplished in Jesus Christ, who says of Himself: “I am the good shepherd” (Jn 10:11, 14). “In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus identifies Himself not only with the king-shepherd, but also with the lost sheep, that is, with the least and most in need of His brothers and sisters,” he said.

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