Weekly Reflections For November 21, 2021


The Feast of Christ the King, also called Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, the festival is celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church in honor of Jesus Christ as Lord over all creation.  Essentially a magnification of the Feast of the Ascension.  In order to acknowledge perpetually the supremacy of Jesus over all men, nations, and earthly allegiances, and to contradict the growing statist of Communist and Fascist movements that would give the civil authority pre-eminence over all human affairs, Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical Quas Primas, which added the feast to the annual Church liturgical calendar in 1925.

The Pope saw that people were denying Jesus in favor of a lifestyle dominated by secularism, material advantage, and false hope created by tyrants.  Many considered the basics of morality and the teachings of the Church to be out of date and no longer relevant.  At most, Jesus might be king in the private life of the individual, but certainly not in the public world.  “We have no king but Caesar.”

Originally, feast day was celebrated on the last Sunday in October.  This date, a week before All Saints’ Day and four weeks before Advent, was carefully chosen.  It reminded the people that Jesus Christ is not only King of this world, reigning among nations today; but He is also the eternal King, glorified by the saints in heaven, who will one day come to judge all mankind.  The Pope instructed the faithful to use this annual celebration is a time to consecrate themselves or renew their consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, explicitly tying the celebration to devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the living Jesus in the Eucharist.  He also called for Catholics to make reparations for the widespread atheism being practiced in many countries.

In 1969, Pope Paul VI took several steps to enhance the witness of the feast day. To emphasize Jesus’ universal reign, he changed the name of the celebration to the feast of “ Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of All, changed the date to the last Sunday in the liturgical year, emphasizing even more strongly the connection between Jesus’ kingship and His second advent (coming) to judge the world, and raised the feast to the highest rank of celebration on the Church calendar, that of a “solemnity.”

This festival is also observed in Lutheran, Anglican, and other Protestant churches.

Copied almost verbatim, but shuffled and reduced to the bare essentials, from two articles in Catholic Answers on The Solemnity Of Christ the King.  One by Father George W. Rutler and one by D.D. Emmons.   – MAC