Feast of Christ The King
My kingdom is not of this world.
But yes, I am a king.
I was born for this,
I came into the world for this:
to bear witness to the truth.
A criminal dying on a cross recognized that Jesus,
also dying in agony, was entering into his Kingdom.
In Jesus, he glimpsed something of
the extraordinary truth:
here nailed to a cross was the first-born of all creation.
Jesus was leading us into Paradise,
into the glory He had with His Father
before the world was made. ~John 17:5
The Evangelist Luke presents the Ascension of our Lord
as the occasion when Christ was taken up to Heaven
to the throne of God.
His enthronement at the right hand of the Father
in glory is the completion of the mysteries of His life
and marks His inauguration as
King of heaven and earth.
The Feast of the Ascension, then, for many centuries
was the occasion when
Christ's Kingship was celebrated.
It remains today the major celebration
of his victorious kingship.
Only relatively recently, in 1925, was a second celebration
of this mystery established by Pius XI
under the title of Christ the King.
While it is of lesser importance than the high
Feast of the Ascension, it partakes of its dignity.
It serves to bring out other aspects of that mystery more fully.
The Holy Father instituted it at a time
when atheism was growing more widespread
and politically stronger with the passing years.
He expressly affirmed Christ's
dominion over the whole of time and the entire world
in the face of this denial of God.
What could have appeared a powerless gesture
to the Church's enemies at that time
now rather shows itself to have been a prophetic act.
Accordingly, honoring the Lord Jesus
as a kingly figure who rules in heaven and on earth
grew naturally in the early Church.
While more prominent in certain periods, this devotion
has remained integral with tradition
throughout the centuries.
Another intent in creating this feast was to
counteract the strong current of secularism
that has been so characteristic of our century.
Resistance to this trend has proved less successful,
however, and increasingly society in the West
has taken on attitudes and practices that
banish the sacred and the holy from daily life.
Christ Himself made it clear that His kingship
is not of this world. He is truly king of earth as well
as of heaven, yet His manner of ruling is far different
from that of earthly rulers.
His authority derives from the Spirit and it is over
hearts and minds that He rules,
through faith, trust and love.
His authority is at variance with the manner
of the kings and rulers of nations.
He came to serve, even to give His life
for those over whom He would rule.
He seeks nothing for Himself;
rather it is for the good of his subjects
that He is our leader,
and for the glory of God, His Father.
To take Christ as King is to model our selves on Him
as well as to obey Him.
Obeying our Lord by a deliberate choice.
It is repeated daily in living out one's vows
and commitments in life and is a high expression
of the honor in which we hold Him.
His values and aims are those we set for ourselves in life.
Even more importantly, obedience is an act of love
when it is given from the heart.
By obeying we seek to please Him for His sake,
in order to give Him glory and to further His cause.
People who would become citizens of His Kingdom
must be formed according to
His teaching and example.
We must keep His commandments if we would love Him,
and then the Father too will love us
and receive us into the mansions
that the Lord Jesus goes to prepare for us.
Do good, avoid sin, and in this way
you will enter the kingdom of Christ, wrote St. Peter,
for the kingdom is holy and only the holy ones,
purified from all defilement of sin and disordered passion,
can find their way to enter it and dwell in it.
To serve Christ the King is to obey Him from the heart,
and to obey Him from the heart is to grow in freedom
and to realize our true independence
from all that enslaves us in this life.
Such obedience to His Word, His inspirations
and to the teachings of His Church practiced in faith
and with love is the best way to honor Christ as our King.
As we commemorate His Kingship,
let us resolve to pay Him the tribute of our free will
and to make our life a constant service
of His glory by obeying Him in all things
and by cooperating with one another
in carrying out His will day by day.
Thus we shall witness to our society that Christ the King
is the sole hero who can satisfy the human need
for a model Whose life passes into ours
and brings it to its proper completeness.
Prayer to Christ the King
O Christ, Jesus, I acknowledge Thee as Universal King.
All that has been made, was created for Thee.
Exercise over me all the rights that Thou hast.
I renew my Baptismal Promises, renouncing Satan,
his pomps and his works, and I promise to live as a good Christian.
Especially, do I pledge myself, by all the means in my power,
to bring about the triumph of the rights of God and of Thy Church.
Divine Heart of Jesus, I consecrate all my poor actions
to the cause of Thy Kingship,
that all hearts may recognize Thee their Ruler
and thus establish the Kingdom of Thy Peace
in all the world. Amen.