Christ The King

Today – this last Sunday of the Church Year – is the Sunday that is called “Christ the King Sunday” or “The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe”. For most of us the image of Christ as King is perhaps troublesome. We live in a democracy after all – and though our democracy may be a constitutional monarchy – our minds can’t quite wrap themselves around the whole concept of kingship, even when it is applied to Christ Jesus.

christ-the-kingIt may help us to appreciate what Christ the King Sunday is all about if we know a bit about how it came to be.
The title for this Sunday was created fairly recently – in 1925 in fact – by Pope Pius XI. Why did Pope Pius XI create this Sunday and suggest the readings that we have? Quite simply because the church needed the image of Christ the King at that moment in time.

On its first celebration, Mussolini had been the leader of Italy for three years; and a rabble-rouser named Hitler had been out of jail for a year. Hitler’s Nazi party was growing in popularity, and the world lay in a great Depression: a depression that would become far worse over the next fifteen years. In such a time, Pius XI asserted that, nevertheless, with all of those new dictators and false values in the world, Christ is King of the universe.

The feast of Christ the King, then, was and is basically a language thing, a symbol, a metaphor,designed to be a statement of life’s fundamental question for broken times such as ours. The question – who exercises dominion over whom? And the question: Who or what rules our lives and how? If we pick up on that theme, then the feast of Christ the King can makes sense for us today.[Living Liturgy 2013]

Who rules our lives? Who dominates culture? Today we assert the gospel message – the message that Christ is in charge. What makes Christ our King? He gave himself for the sake of others. Here is what it means for us to live under his reign:to give our lives for others. When we forgive those who have hurt us, reach out to those who are trying to change and grow, expand our hearts to welcome those who are marginalized. This is the way Jesus has shown us; this is what Jesus has saved us for; this is the way we embrace the kingdom of God.