Monday, November 24, 2008

Quote of the Day

"The Word of God also recalls the face of Christ, the universal king, as that of the judge, for just as God is the good and merciful Shepherd he is likewise the just Judge. In particular, the Gospel page (Mt 25:31-46) presents to us the great scene of the final judgment. In this scenario the Son of Man in his glory, surrounded by his angels, presents himself as the shepherd, who separates the sheep from the goats, placing the just at his right hand and the wicked at his left. The good he invites to enter into the inheritance eternally prepared for them, while the guilty he condemns to the eternal fire, prepared by the devil and the other rebellious angels. Decisive in this judgment is its criterion. This criterion is love, concrete charity toward one's neighbor, particularly the "little ones," the people in greatest difficulty: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned. The king solemnly declares to all that those who have done this, or have not done it in their encounters [with others], have or have not done it to Himself. So Christ identifies himself with his "least brothers," and the final judgment will be the taking account of what occurred in one's earthly life.

Dear brothers and sisters, this is what interests God. The kingship of history is of no importance to him -- he wants to reign in people's hearts, and from these, in the world: He is the king of the entire universe, but the crucial point, the place where his reign is at risk, is our heart, for there God finds himself encountering our freedom. We, and only we, can block his reign over us, and so we put obstacles to his kingship in the world: in our families, in society, in history. We men and women have the ability to choose which we wish to side ourselves with: either with Christ and his angels or with the devil and his followers, to use the Gospel's exact language. It remains with us to decide whether to practice justice or iniquity, to embrace love and pardon or vendetta and the hatred that kills oneself. From this our personal salvation depends, but so, too, does the salvation of the world. Because here Jesus wants us to associate ourselves with his kingship; because here he invites us to work together for the coming of his Kingdom of love, of justice and of peace. It remains with us to respond to him, not with words, but with deeds: choosing the way of active love and generosity toward our neighbor, we ourselves allow Him to extend his dominion in time and space.... Let us renew with courage our decision to belong to Christ, to bring about in service his Kingdom of justice, of peace and of love.
--Pope Benedict XVI
Audience for Pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Amalfi-Cava de' Tirreni
Rome, 22 November 2008

PHOTO: Reuters