"By coming here I have been able to visit the monument to Christ the King situated on top of the Cubilete. ... This monument represents Christ the King. But His crowns, one of a sovereign the other of thorns, indicate that His royal status does not correspond to how it has been or is understood by many. His kingdom does not stand on the power of His armies subduing others through force or violence. It rests on a higher power that wins over hearts: the love of God that He brought into the world with His sacrifice and the truth to which He bore witness. This is His sovereignty which no one can take from Him and which no one should forget". - Pope Benedict XVI
Vatican City, 25 March 2012 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in the Parque Bicentenario of the city of Leon. He reached the venue by helicopter from Miraflores College where he is staying during his apostolic visit to Mexico. On arrival he was welcomed by the governor of the State of Guanajuato before boarding the popemobile to greet the 500,000 faithful.
The Holy Father concelebrated Mass with Mexican cardinals and bishops, the presidents of the twenty-two episcopal conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean, and some 3,000 priests. The ceremony was accompanied by a 200-strong choir and the faithful were able to follow the event on giant screens.
Extracts from the Holy Father's homily are given below.
"We said, “A pure heart, create for me, O God” during the responsorial psalm. This exclamation ... helps us to look deeply into the human heart, especially in times of sorrow as well as hope, as are the present times for the people of Mexico and of Latin America.
"The desire for a heart that would be pure, sincere, humble, acceptable to God was very much felt by Israel as it became aware of the persistence in its midst of evil and sin as a power, practically implacable and impossible to overcome. There was nothing left but to trust in God’s mercy and in the hope that He would change from within, from the heart, an unbearable, dark and hopeless situation".
"This should remind each one of us and our peoples that, when addressing the deeper dimension of personal and community life, human strategies will not suffice to save us. We must have recourse to the One Who alone can give life in its fullness, because He is the essence of life and its author; He has made us sharers in the same through His Son Jesus Christ.
"Today’s Gospel takes up the topic and shows us how this ancient desire for the fullness of life has actually been achieved in Christ. ... On the cross ... His “glory” will begin, because of His sacrifice of expiation for all, as the grain of wheat fallen to the ground that by dying germinates and produces abundant fruit. ... Our Lady of Guadalupe showed her divine Son to St. Juan Diego, not as a powerful legendary hero but as the very God of the living, by Whom all live, the Creator of persons, ... of heaven and earth. At that moment she did what she had done previously at the wedding feast of Cana. Faced with the embarrassment caused by the lack of wine, she told the servants clearly that the path to follow was her Son: “Do whatever he tells you”".
"By coming here I have been able to visit the monument to Christ the King situated on top of the Cubilete. ... This monument represents Christ the King. But His crowns, one of a sovereign the other of thorns, indicate that His royal status does not correspond to how it has been or is understood by many. His kingdom does not stand on the power of His armies subduing others through force or violence. It rests on a higher power that wins over hearts: the love of God that He brought into the world with His sacrifice and the truth to which He bore witness. This is His sovereignty which no one can take from Him and which no one should forget".
"From this park, foreseen as a memorial of the bicentenary of the birth of the Mexican nation, ... we ask Christ for a pure heart, where He as Prince of Peace may dwell “thanks to the power of God Who is the power of goodness, the power of love”. But for God to dwell in us, we need to listen to Him; we must allow His Word to challenge us every day, meditating upon it in our hearts after the example of Mary. In this way we grow in friendship with Him, we learn to understand what He expects from us and we are encouraged to make Him known to others.
"At Aparecida, the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean saw with clarity the need to confirm, renew and revitalise the newness of the Gospel rooted deeply in the history of these lands. ... We need to overcome fatigue related to faith and rediscover “the joy of being Christians, of being sustained by the inner happiness of knowing Christ and belonging to His Church. From this joy spring the energies that are needed to serve Christ in distressing situations of human suffering, placing oneself at His disposition and not falling back on one’s own comfort”. This can be seen clearly in the saints who dedicated themselves fully to the cause of the Gospel with enthusiasm and joy without counting the cost, even of life itself. Their heart was centred entirely on Christ from Whom they had learned what it means to love until the end".
"Let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to assist us in purifying our hearts. ... And let us also ask her to continue accompanying and protecting her Mexican and Latin American children, that Christ may reign in their lives and help them boldly to promote peace, harmony, justice and solidarity".