From the Rector: Feast of Christ the King
Feast of Christ the King
The Feast of Christ the King is, as Catholic feasts go, a relatively recent one. It was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925, to remind Catholics (and the world generally) that Jesus Christ is Lord of the Universe, both as God and as Man.
Pius XI announced the feast in his encyclical Quas Primas, which was delivered on December 11, 1925. At the end of the encyclical, he declared that he expected three “blessings” to flow from the celebration of the feast: first, that “men will doubtless be reminded that the Church, founded by Christ as a perfect society, has a natural and inalienable right to perfect freedom and immunity from the power of the state”; second, that “Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ”; and third, that “The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal.”
HOW IS THE DATE OF THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING DETERMINED?
In Quas Primas, Pius XI established the celebration of the feast “on the last Sunday of the month of October—the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints.” He tied it to All Saints Day because “before celebrating the triumph of all the Saints, we proclaim and extol the glory of him who triumphs in all the Saints and in all the Elect.” With the revision of the Church’s liturgical calendar in 1969, however, Pope Paul VI moved the Feast of Christ the King to the final Sunday of the liturgical year—that is, the last Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent. As such, it is a moveable feast; the date changes every year.
From what Jesus said about His Father’s kingdom, some interesting facts emerge:
It is an eternal Kingdom. It existed in THE PAST. Jesus warned the Pharisees: “There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.” [LK 13;20]
It exists in THE PRESENT. He said: “The Kingdom of God is among you.”
It is a universal kingdom; not territorial or national, but worldwide. Jesus said: “People will come from the east and the west from north and south to sit at table in the kingdom of God.” [LK 12;30]
It certainly is not a political kingdom. Jesus said to Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world.” (Jn. 18;36]
It is a hidden kingdom. Jesus said: “The kingdom of God is like yeast which a woman took and kneaded into 3 measures of flour.” [pMT. 13;33] The Vatican Council puts it this way:
“The Kingdom of God is already present in mystery. When the Lord appears, it will be brought to full
flower. Then Christ will hand over to the Father a kingdom eternal and universal, a kingdom of truth and
life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace.” [Ch. In Mod. World, #39]
*Scott P. Richert & Douglas Pankhurst