SOLEMNITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST THE KING. Origin and significance AV summary + full text.
Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in his encyclical letter Quas primas of 1925, in response to growing secularism and nationalism during the post World War I era which led to “manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations.” The Pope reminds us Christians that our allegiance is to our spiritual ruler in heaven as opposed to earthly supremacy.
Pope Benedict XVI remarked that Christ’s kingship is not based on “human power” but on loving and serving others.
According to Cyril of Alexandria, “Christ has dominion over all creatures,…by essence and by nature…the 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.”
“From this it follows that to Christ angels and men are subject. Christ is also King by acquired, as well as by natural right, for he is our Redeemer. …’ We are no longer our own property, for Christ has purchased us “with a great price”; our very bodies are the “members of Christ.”
A third ground of sovereignty is that God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as His special possession and dominion. “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18).
In Quas primas, Pope Pius XII wrote: “He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.“
The feast also has an eschatological dimension pointing to the end of time when Jesus “will come again to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end,” and will be established in all its fullness to the ends of the earth. It also leads into Advent, when the Church prepares for the arrival of the newborn king.
Let us pray.
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.
ORIGINAL PHOTOS FROM WIKI, PUBLIC DOMAIN.
AUDIO CREDIT: Jesu Rex Admirabilis (Palestrina) rendition by Coro Montecastello di Parma directed by Giacomo Monica
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