On this Solemnity of Christ the King, it is good to ponder the origin of this celebration. It is quite recent in the Church liturgical calendar. Consider the world in 1925. There was atheistic Communism in Russia, Fascism in Italy, and soon to be Nazism in Germany. North America was heading toward the Great Depression.
That is when Pope Pius XI with inspiration and courage announced Jesus as the Universal King. What was behind this?
We hear in the Gospel (John 18, 36) , Pontius Pilot asking Jesus “are you really a King?” Jesus answers him “yes I am a King but not of this world.” In other words the kingdom of Jesus does not depend on military might, economic strength or political power.
The Kingdom of Christ is not a kingdom that seeks to increase its wealth, expand its borders, or inflate its image. Rather, it is a kingdom that promotes peace, justice where there is exploitation, and freedom where there is oppression.
The Kingdom of Christ has very definite characteristics:
1. It is an enduring and eternal kingdom. The book of Daniel reminds us that human kingdoms collapse because of changes in culture and human weakness.
2. It is also a universal kingdom. It is wide enough and strong enough to embrace, heal and bring forgiveness to every human being.
3. It is also a personal kingdom i.e. it is not about grand military battles or pageantry of pomp and ceremony. Instead, it is the liberation of our soul from sin and about setting us free to be the person God created us to be.
So at the end of this liturgical year 2019, it is good for each one of us to look back over the last year. Ask God to show you how you have grown spiritually. What special lessons have you learned? (Sometimes we learn the most from our failures.)
Also this Sunday is a special opportunity to look forward to the new liturgical year: what is the next step for me to prepare my heart for Jesus in Advent?
Pope Pius XI boldly stated to a confused world in 1925 that Jesus is the “centre of the universe and of human history.” Dictators and economic crises will come and go but only Jesus Christ is the same, “yesterday, today and forever”. (Hebrews 13, 8) This is the message the world needs today more than ever.
– Fr. Galvon