Sunday, November 26, 2017

Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe - November 26, 2017

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. That’s a real mouthful, so let’s just call it by its common title of Christ the King. As important as this feast is, there are some interesting facts behind it that can give us an insight into what the feast is all about.

First of all, this seems like an obvious celebration for our Church. Jesus spoke frequently of “the Kingdom of God” and let it be known that He was the one to bring about this Kingdom. He is clearly our Lord and Savior, fully divine and fully human, and it is through Him that the Father created all things. Thus it should be obvious that we acclaim His as our King. So it may surprise us to learn that today’s feast is relatively new, less than 100 years old. Pope Pius XI instituted the celebration of Christ the King in 1925. Pope Pius was concerned with the rise of secularism and atheism in the society. If that was a concern in 1925, imagine how Pope Pius would react to our age. In a world where our culture tells us to keep our faith to ourselves and that does not want us to influence public policy, we can reflect on Pius’ words, “If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth... it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God.”

When Pope Pius created this feast, he put it each year on the last Sunday of October. In 1969, Blessed Pope Paul VI moved it to its current place in the calendar, on the last Sunday of the Church’s year. Next Sunday begins a new year in the Chard with the start of the season of Advent. That seems appropriate because the Church traditionally takes the end of the year to reflect on the end of time. While we believe that Christ’s death and resurrection truly instituted the Kingdom of God in the world, we also see that the kingdom will not be fully realized until the end of time, when Christ will return and when He will join us to Himself in the eternal glory of heaven. Until then, this feast represents our certain faith in Christ’s victory over sin and death.

As we celebrate Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, I remind you of the opportunity to spend some time in Adoration of our Lord in the Eucharist. We will have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament after the 11:00 Mass until the solemn Benediction at 3:00. Please join us to worship our Lord and King.

Finally, as I was double checking on a few of the details of this column, I also found a little bit of trivia that I leave you as a bonus. A number of Protestant churches have picked up the feast, and the Church of Sweden informally refers to this feast as “Sunday of Doom” since it reminds us of the last days when the world comes to an end. Furthermore, there is a statue of Christ the King in Swiebodzin, Poland. That statue holds the record for the largest statue of Jesus in the world. It is listed at 33 meters high, one meter for every year of Jesus’ earthly life. That puts it three meters taller than the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I don’t know if that means anything significant, but you may be able to use it to impress your Catholic or Polish friends.
                                                                                                Father H