Once again, we have reached the end of the Roman Catholic Church liturgical year with the Feast of Christ the King also referred to as the Christ the King Sunday. Next week, the season of Advent begins, one that will be followed by Christmas.
Last Sunday’s feast is in commemoration of the Kingship of Jesus Christ, the King of all kings. It is to remind all the faithful that Christ is the king of the universe, nations, societies, families and our lives. But He is a different kind of King. His Kingdom is not that of power and wealth but of love, sacrifice, peace, and humility.
The observance of the Solemnity of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 for the Roman Catholic Church. Seeing the dim prospects for a lasting peace after the first world war, Pius XI observed: “Since the close of the Great War individuals, the different classes of society, the nations of the earth have not as yet found true peace…the old rivalries between nations have not ceased to exert their influence…Conditions have become increasingly worse because the fears of the people are being constantly played upon by the ever-present menace of new wars, likely to be more frightful and destructive than any which have preceded them. Whence it is that the nations of today live in a state of armed peace which is scarcely better than war itself, a condition which tends to exhaust national finances, to waste the flower of youth, to muddy and poison the very fountainheads of life, physical, intellectual, religious, and moral.”
According to Pius XI, society’s ills can be traced to concupiscence which he described as inordinate desire for pleasure, the inordinate desire for possessions, and the inordinate desire to rule or to domineer over others. He proclaimed that true peace can only be found under the Kingship of Christ as “Prince of Peace”. The absence of Christ in the hearts of man, and his delusional and misplaced reliance in himself, by raising himself to the level of god, and his obstinate and pathetic refusal to acknowledge Christ as the true king and His holy law is the chief cause of all the evils and difficulties under which humanity is labouring.
The struggle to remaining true to the straight and narrow path that Christ has willed us to follow has become much more difficult and challenging. In the 21st century, Christians face intense and grave challenges from within and without. The celebration of the Feast of Christ the King is a reminder to us all that Christ is the king who reigns in the entire world forever and to acknowledge His kingship and reign and His Sacred Heart in every aspect of our lives. As the Scripture says: If the Lord does not built the house, in vain do the builders toil. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. Truly, no matter how we labour to improve ourselves, everything will amount to naught without God’s protection because simply there can be no peace and contentment without Christ.
In the context of present day realities, the mission of us Christ’s Church is to impart the spirit of holy joy, to give ample testimony of our obedience and subjugation to the kingship of Christ; to fight with courage the spiritual and material battles under His lofty banner. We cannot remain blinded to the love of God who revealed Himself to us through Jesus Christ, who became flesh and dwelt amongst us in order to reconcile Himself to us and died on the cross for our salvation. When He came down took on the nature of man while remaining God; human but nevertheless God. Through Jesus Christ, God has given us an inestimable gift of grace that overflows forever.
I end this column with the solemn words of Pope Francis in his homily in Nagasaki, Japan last Sunday, celebrating with the Japanese faithful the feast of Christ the King: “Our faith is in the God of the living. Christ is alive and at work in our midst, leading all of us to the fullness of life. He is alive and wants us to be alive; he is our hope. Each day we pray: Lord, may your kingdom come. With these words, we want our own lives and actions to become a hymn of praise. If, as missionary disciples, our mission is to be witnesses and heralds of things to come, we cannot become resigned in the face of evil in any of its forms. Rather, we are called to be a leaven of Christ’s Kingdom wherever we find ourselves: in the family, at work or in society at large. We are to be a little opening through which the Spirit continues to breathe hope among peoples. The kingdom of heaven is our common goal, a goal that cannot be only about tomorrow. We have to implore it and begin to experience it today, amid the indifference that so often surrounds and silences the sick and disabled, the elderly and the abandoned, refugees and immigrant workers. All of them are a living sacrament of Christ our King.”
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