Saturday, November 23, 2013

Feast of Christ the King of the Universe

Today is the last Sunday of the Church Year, the Solemnity of Christ the King.  I always feel like standing up and asking the choir to sing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah on this day.  The lyrics, amid many Hallelujah's and repetitions, bespeak the feast:  "For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth..The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ...And He shall reign for ever and ever...King of kings and Lord of lords."  Of course, a mighty organ and a few trumpets with a hundred or so voices also add to the glory of this proclamation of Jesus Christ our Sovereign King.

The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925.   In 1970, this Feast was moved by Pope Paul VI to the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year to signify its' eschatological importance, and was raised to the rank of Solemnity.

What does the Kingship of Christ mean for us?  If Jesus Christ is our Lord and King, we must belong completely to him.  We allow Him to reign over our minds by firmly believing revealed truths.  We allow Him to reign over our wills by choosing to obey the laws and precepts of God.  We allow Him to reign over our hearts by loving Him above all things.  We allow Him to reign over our bodies by using created things as instruments for our sanctification.
And how blessed we are that we belong to Jesus Christ, who is our Sovereign King.  He is "my Father, my merciful God, my great King, my good Shepherd, my only Master, my best helper, my beloved friend of overwhelming beauty, my living Bread, my eternal priest, the guide to my heavenly home, my one true light, my holy joy, my true way, my shining Wisdom, my unfeigned Simplicity, the peace and harmony of my soul, my perfect safeguard, my bounteous inheritance, my everlasting salvation." (True Devotion to Mary, 66)  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End of all things.  He is the Way we must go, the Truth we seek to know and the Life we strive to live.  

Pope Benedict tells us that "Christ is so intrinsically king that the title 'King" has actually become his name.  By calling ourselves Christian, we label ourselves as followers of this King."

Let us rejoice as we give thanks and praise to God for all our many blessings.  Let our grateful lives evidence our faith and love in the Almighty who so marvelously created, redeemed and sanctifies us.  May we prove worthy of so good and great a King!
Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus Imperat!

"It has long been a common custom to give to Christ the metaphorical title of "King," because of the high degree of perfection whereby he excels all creatures. So he is said to reign "in the hearts of men," both by reason of the keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge, and also because he is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind." (Quas Primas, Pope Pius XI)

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