Note: Fr. Ed’s homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King is now available online! Click here to listen.
It was a time when many different ideologies were vying for dominance in the heart of man, supplanting the role and place of the King of Kings. The Holy Father, Pope Pius XI, addressed this in his first encyclical. Referring to that encyclical, he later wrote, “…these manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives.”
He subsequently wrote the encyclical that established the Feast of Christ the King, Quas Primas, in 1925. This is a great encyclical and certainly deserves to be read by all. It is available at http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_11121925_quas-primas.html.
Look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ
The communist revolution was proclaiming the supremacy of godless atheism. There were other great tumults and difficulties in many lands, especially in the aftermath of the First World War. The cure for that chaos, according to Pope Pius XI, was clear: “(A)s long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ.”
The peace that every human person and, indeed, every nation, longs for, can only truly be found in one place: in union with the King of Kings Himself. The Holy Father notes his hopes for the result of the establishment of this Feast: “If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society.…We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ…may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior.”
Christ must reign
The Holy Father cites many Scriptures in his encyclical demonstrating the fundamental importance of the Kingship of the Lord Jesus. While he addresses the importance even for nations to acknowledge this Kingship, his fundamental concern is that each of us, as individuals, would fully surrender to the Lord Jesus. He details some of the more salient aspects of that surrender:
If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.
As we celebrate this great Feast, now is a time for each of us to reflect on the Kingship of the Lord Jesus in our lives. Have we surrendered all to Him in the way the Holy Father invites? Is He also the center of our families and our family life? How do we as families acknowledge and honor His Kingship? How do we as a parish, especially a parish specifically dedicated to His Kingship, enhance that Kingship in all our actions as a parish family? The more we choose to have every aspect of our lives under the Kingship of the Lord Jesus, the better all will be for us, as individuals, as families, as a parish. Viva Christo Rey!—Fr. Ed