The Meaning of the Celebration
+ This feast was introduced by Pope Pius XI in 1925 in response to the rising nationalism, secularism, and new forms injustice that emerged in the years after the First World War.
+ In the encyclical Quas Primas, Pope Pius reminded Christians that the Kingdom to which they belong is ““spiritual and concerned with spiritual things… it demands of its subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice and more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross” (no 15).
+ The prayers and readings assigned for this solemnity present a rich and varied presentation of Christ the King, drawing on numerous images from Sacred Scripture.
+ Falling as it does (in the Ordinary Form of the Mass) on the final Sunday of the year, this solemn celebration focus our attention on the One who is the “goal of human history, the focal point of the desires of history and of civilization, the center of humankind, the joy of all hearts, and the fulfillment of all aspirations.” (Gaudium et spes, no. 45).
For prayer and reflection
“When we try to visualize a king, what comes to mind is a powerful man seated on a throne with magnificent insignia, a scepter in his hand and precious rings on his fingers, speaking in solemn tones to his subjects… Looking at Jesus, though, we see the complete opposite. He is not comfortably enthroned, but hanging on a gibbet. The God who “casts down the mighty from their thrones” (Lk 1:52) appears as a slave executed by those in power. Appareled only with nails and thorns, stripped of everything yet rich in love, from his throne on the cross he no longer teaches the crowds by his words; he no longer lifts his hands as a teacher. He does more: pointing a finger at no one, he opens his arms to all. That is how he shows himself to be our king: with open arms, a brasa aduerte.”—Pope Francis
Almighty ever-living God,
whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of the universe,
grant, we pray,
that the whole creation, set free from slavery,
may render your majesty service
and ceaselessly proclaim your praise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.