The Pope stated this Sunday at a Mass for the Solemnity of Christ the King, which he concelebrated in St. Peter's Basilica with the 24 cardinals newly created in Saturday's consistory.
In his homily, the Pontiff said, "We know from the Gospels that the cross was the critical point of the faith of Simon Peter and of the other Apostles."
"It is clear and it could not be otherwise," he added. "They were men and they thought as men: They could not tolerate the idea of a crucified Messiah."
The Holy Father noted that "Peter's conversion was realized fully when he gave up trying to 'save' Jesus and accepted being saved by him."
"He gave up wanting to save Jesus from the cross and accepted being saved by his cross," he explained.
Benedict XVI affirmed, "Peter's ministry consists altogether in his faith, a faith that Jesus recognizes immediately, from the beginning, as genuine, as a gift from the heavenly Father; but a faith that must go through the scandal of the cross, to become authentic, truly 'Christian,' to become 'rock' on which Jesus can build his Church."
He noted that "participation in Jesus' lordship is verified concretely only in sharing in his abasement, with the Cross."
The Pope continued: "My ministry also, Dear Brothers, and, consequently, also yours, consists altogether in faith.
"Jesus can build his Church on us the more he finds in us that true, paschal faith, that faith that does not want to make Jesus come down from the Cross, but entrusts itself to him on the Cross."
He affirmed that "the authentic place of the Vicar of Christ is the Cross, to persist in the obedience of the Cross."
"This ministry is difficult," the Pontiff acknowledged "because it is not aligned with the way of men's thinking -- with that natural logic which, moreover, remains always active also in ourselves."
"But this is and remains always our first service, the service of faith," he added, "which transforms the whole of life: to believe that Jesus is God, that he is the King precisely because he went to that point, because he loved us to the end."
"And this paradoxical royalty, we must witness and proclaim as he did, the King," the Holy Father urged, "namely, following his same path and forcing ourselves to adopt his same logic, the logic of humility and service, of the grain of wheat that dies to bear fruit."
He stated, "The Pope and the cardinals are called to be profoundly united first of all in this: All together, under the guidance of the Successor of Peter, they must remain in the lordship of Christ, thinking and operating according to the logic of the Cross -- and this is never easy or to be taken for granted."
"In this we must be close," the Pope said, "and we are so because we are not united by an idea, a strategy, but we are united by the love of Christ, and his Holy Spirit."
He added that "the efficacy of our service to the Church, Bride of Christ, depends essentially on this, on our fidelity to the divine royalty of crucified Love."
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On ZENIT's Web page:
Full text: www.zenit.org/article-31053?l=english