The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
1) 2 Sm 5:1-3
2) Col 1:12-20
Gospel: Lk 23:35-43
St. Paul speaks today about God’s “beloved Son.” What he tells us exceeds human understanding: “All things were created through him and for him.”
The Father has brought the universe into existence through his Son and — further exceeding our comprehension — the Son has become human, has died for humanity and has risen from death.
In this way, “he is the beginning” — the beginning of a new creation, “the firstborn from the dead” — the first of all those God will raise into life with himself forever (Col 1:16, 18).
This cosmic reality is the Christian message, the faith of the church.
Directly or indirectly, every Christian prayer, every celebration, declares that Jesus is Lord. But about a century ago, Pope Pius XI thought it would be helpful if Jesus’ dominion over all had a special moment of recognition in the annual cycle of feasts.
So at the end of every liturgical year, we have the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Pope Pius thought this celebration was fitting in view of the global turmoil of the early 20th century. The feast would serve as a reminder that when people “recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony.”
In establishing the feast, Pope Pius did not call Christians to a political program. He pointed to Jesus and encouraged faith.
He began his proclamation of the feast by mentioning an exhibition about missions that had just taken place in Rome. It had shown “the unremitting labor and self-sacrifice of missionaries.”
“What happiness” there would be, Pope Pius said, if all “individuals, families and nations would but let themselves be governed by Christ!” Peace between nations would come when “all freely acknowledge and obey the authority of Christ.”
The feast, Pope Pius said, gives Christians an opportunity to “gain much strength and courage” by meditating on Jesus’ lordship and the fact that all of us are by “right subjected to his dominion.”
This is a day to “freely acknowledge” that Jesus “must reign in our minds” through submission to the truth he has revealed. “He must reign in our wills,” as we obey him. “He must reign in our hearts,” as we love and cleave to him alone.
Today each of us can ask, Am I letting myself “be governed by Christ”?
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Perrotta is the editor and an author of the “Six Weeks With the Bible” series, teaches part time at Siena Heights University and leads Holy Land pilgrimages. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.