INTRODUCTION TO THE GREAT FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING

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Christ the King Sunday celebrates the divine dominion and authority of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords (cf. Revelation 19:16). The great feast is officially called “The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe” and is commonly known as the “Feast of Christ the King” which is annually observed on the last Sunday of the Ordinary Time in the Liturgical Calendar.

The feast was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 for the Universal Church through his encyclical, Quas Primas, in response to the increasing denial of the Son of God as King of the Universe that resulted from the rapid growth of secularism and the rejection of the temporal authority of the pope in relation to the governance of the established Papal States as seen in the so-called Roman Question, a historical dispute between the Holy See and the Italian Kingdom on Rome’s territorial right. In fact, in Quas Primas, the late pope stated that “leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ” (No.31); and, that “nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state” (No. 32).

However, in the end, the pope hoped that the “faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies” (Quas Primas, No. 33).

Nevertheless, it is in this celebration that the faithful are reminded that the true kingship must neither be authoritative nor oppressive; rather, be centered on service to others as driven by humility, mercy, and love. In Mark 10:42-45 (NAB), the Lord set Himself as an example of how a true ruler should be, as it reads: “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to become great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Though the King of the Universe is seated on the throne at the right hand of the Father in Heaven (cf. Hebrews 8:1) but He undoudtedly reigns on everyone’s heart.

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