Otherwise known as the Feast of Christ the King– was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. He rightfully saw a rise of nationalism within European countries at the time and instituted the feast to remind Christians of the divine sovereignty of Jesus Christ. In 1970 the observance of the feast was moved to its present location within the calendar on the final Sunday of ordinary time (the last Sunday before the start of Advent). The purpose of the feast day and its modern placement within the liturgical calendar gives the Reign of Christ a doubled-edged meaning, which is extremely fitting considering all of Christianity is riddled with double-edged meanings.
Father Travis spoke eloquently today about the first meaning of Christ the King. Jesus as the “visible face of the invisible God” is king of the universe and one day every knee will bow at His Name. Whether this majesty and power be rested in fear or love is a constant story within the entire Bible and all of Christian history for that matter. God is love, and Jesus is the action of that love and we in turn become that love and that action when we attach ourselves to the Body of Christ. Both physically through our shared Eucharist but also spiritually when we gather with the entire catholic church in communion during mass. And we live our lives in such a manner that Christ is the centre. As Fr. Travis put it so well, “our theology becomes our politics,” it becomes our whole lives.
The second meaning of Christ the King is less obvious and is due almost entirely to its placement before Advent and the preparations for Christmas. Ordinary time, or the X Sundays After Pentecost, are a dole-drum period within the liturgical calendar. There are feasts for certain Saints but for the most part it is a very quiet part of the season of the church. And this matches within the period within life, going through the long days of summer and back into school and the change in weather, etc. Suddenly winter is upon us, the days are short and we are smack in the middle of all of the preparations that come with Christmas– both temporal and spiritual. This feast is a reminder before the roller coaster dives down that all of this is for a meaning and purpose– we are preparing to celebrate the birth of the One who will go on to save the entire world. Christ the King!
“Christ has dominion over all creatures, …by essence and by nature.” His kingship is founded upon the hypostatic union. “…[T]he Word of God, as consubstantial with the Father, has all things in common with him, and therefore has necessarily supreme and absolute dominion over all things created.”Saint Cyril of Alexandria