Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
-Today’s Gospel Reading from JN 18:33B-37
See emerge now clearly, dear Brothers, the first and fundamental message that the Word of God says to us today: to me, Successor of Peter, and to you, cardinals. It calls us to be with Jesus, like Mary, and not to ask him to come down from the cross, but to stay there with Him. And this, in regard to our ministry, we must do not only for ourselves, but for the whole Church, for all the People of God. 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: they were men and they thought “as men”: they could not tolerate the idea of a crucified Messiah. 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. “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:32), says the Lord. 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. Participation in Jesus’ lordship is verified concretely only in sharing in his abasement, with the Cross. 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. In this connection the authentic place of the Vicar of Christ is on the Cross, to persist in the obedience of the Cross.
The Holy Father was speaking to the newly created cardinals, but his message applies to each one of us, who are called, in love, to become joyful servants of Christ the King, Lord of the Universe. He is Lord of all, and while everyone and everything is subject to Him, we are gifted with free will to embrace His Kingship or to reject it.