This weekend marks the end of the Church’s liturgical year of 2021. We conclude the year with the celebration and solemn feast day of Christ the King, or as the official liturgical books call it…the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This solemn feast day was, prior to Vatican II, always celebrated on the last Sunday of October. Now this feast is kept on the last Sunday of the year, just one week before the new church year, which is the first Sunday of Advent.
The solemnity of Christ the King is always a challenge for some people, including Catholics. First, as American citizens raised to believe in the great achievements of our history, we recognize that we are a republic that successfully broke away from our British monarchical system of governance. Second, as individualists who believe in personal autonomy, the idea of having a king over and above us, is somewhat out of step with “modern” values. Finally, as followers of Jesus, we might prefer the gentle image of Christ as the merciful shepherd, rather than the almighty and all-powerful King, before whom we must be judged.
However, the feast day of Christ the King should be an occasion in which we look to Him in a very literal way as our king, our Lord, and our master in all things. When we call Christ the King, it is much more than just Christ as King in our own private, personal lives, or the lives of our families. Rather we look to Christ the King as King over the whole Church, the whole country, and the whole world! Every aspect of society and culture should likewise be subjected to Christ the King, without qualification or equivocation.
To call Jesus our King, we ought to realize that that KINGSHIP extends to all parts of the globe and all peoples, without exception! Christ is King over myself, my spiritual, physical, and moral life, and over all that I have or ever will have. Christ is King over my parish, my diocese, and my place of ministry and mission. Christ is King over Erie County, the state of New York, and all peoples who dwell herein. Christ is King over the United States of America, over all individual states, and over all parties and peoples herein. Christ is King over all nations of the earth and over all religions on the earth; it does NOT matter if those religions recognize Christ as their King. He is their King, their Lord, and their Savior, and there is no other. Period!
As we conclude this church year and stand on the threshold of a new year, let us all affirm our love, loyalty, and unflinching obedience to Him who is our King, our Lord, our Master, our Love, and our only source of Life and Salvation.
Laudetur Iesus Christus… In saecula saeculorum… Amen!
Praised be Jesus Christ… now and forever… Amen!
~Fr. Martin Gallagher