Today is our last Sunday of Ordinary Time for this liturgical year, as we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King.
This feast was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925, at a time when the world was experiencing a rise of secularism, materialism and individualism and an increasing denial of Christ’s existence and authority. The hope was that the establishment of this feast would accomplish three goals: that nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, that leaders and nations would see that they are required to give respect to Christ, the King of kings, and that the faithful would be strengthened and encouraged by the reminder that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies.
Our First Reading, from, Daniel, predicts a time when Christ will indeed “receive dominion, glory and kingship” and “all peoples, nations, and languages will serve him in an everlasting dominion that will never be destroyed.”
The Second Reading, from Revelation, describes Christ as ruler of the kings of the earth and describes the day when He will come “amid the clouds and every eye will see him.” In the Gospel we hear the words of Christ Himself. As He is questioned by Pilate, Christ declares, “My kingdom does not belong to this world” but that He “came into the world to testify to the truth.”
This feast is needed more than ever for all people and for us especially, as Christian stewards. It reminds us of three vital truths.
First, even when it seems the world is spinning out of control, we need not fear because we have a King of kings who is very much in charge and who is loving, merciful and just. Second, if Christ is king of all, then He is also king of me, personally. I am not “lord” of my time, talents, and treasure. He is. I am a servant of the King and a steward of His gifts to me. Third, as His disciple, I am called to imitate my King. Christ’s kingship is characterized by humble service, by emptying Himself for the good of others, The Scriptures tell us He went about doing good and He says of Himself, “I came not to be served but to serve.” How can I live in any other way than as a humble servant like my King?
We are on the verge of a new Church year and the holy season of Advent, and this week is an ideal time to take stock of our priorities, to see if we really are allowing Christ to reign in all aspects of our daily lives; to ask if He comes first in our schedules, our budgets, the use of our skills and talents. It’s also a great moment to celebrate! We are not only servants of Christ the King, but we are also His brothers and sisters. This should fill us with great joy. After celebrating the Holy Eucharist, take some time to celebrate at home, too. Bake a cake, take a walk, put on some music and dance with your kids. Christ is King!