This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King and it marks the beginning of the final week of Ordinary Time in the Church. Next Sunday we begin the Season of Advent. I pray that this past year of grace in the life of our Catholic Church has brought all closer to the riches of the merciful Heart of our Lord Jesus! It is truly right and just that we thank and praise Him each day for His exceeding goodness toward us! May we trust Him at all times to lead us on the path of holiness and onward toward Heaven!
Regarding today’s Solemnity of Christ the King, in Sacred Scripture we can read the doctrinal basis for our celebration of our Lord’s kingly authority: “Rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philipians 2:7-11)
In his encyclical letter, Quas Primas (1925), Pope Pius XI wrote: “Christ Himself speaks of His Own kingly authority: in His last discourse, speaking of the rewards and punishments that will be the eternal lot of the just and the damned; in His reply to the Roman magistrate, who asked Him publicly whether He were a king or not; after His resurrection, when giving to His Apostles the mission of teaching and Baptizing all nations, He took the opportunity to call Himself king, confirming the title publicly, and solemnly proclaimed that all power was given Him in Heaven and on earth. These words can only be taken to indicate the greatness of His power, the infinite extent of His kingdom. What wonder, then, that He Whom St. John calls the "prince of the kings of the earth" appears in the Apostle's vision of the future as He Who "hath on His garment and on His thigh written 'King of kings and Lord of lords!'." It is Christ Whom the Father "hath appointed heir of all things"; "for He must reign until at the end of the world He hath put all his enemies under the feet of God and the Father." It was surely right, then, in view of the common teaching of the sacred books, that the Catholic Church, which is the kingdom of Christ on earth, destined to be spread among all men and all nations, should with every token of veneration salute her Author and Founder in her annual liturgy as King and Lord, and as King of Kings. And, in fact, she used these titles, giving expression with wonderful variety of language to one and the same concept, both in ancient psalmody and in the Sacramentaries.” (Quas Primas, 11-12)
The early Church theologian, Origen (cir. 185-254), wrote about our Lord’s kingly power in a notebook on prayer. This reading is part of the Liturgy of the Hours of Church.
“The kingdom of God, in the words of our Lord and Savior, does not come for all to see; nor shall they say: Behold, here it is, or behold, there it is; but the kingdom of God is within us, for the word of God is very near, in our mouth and in our heart. Thus it is clear that he who prays for the coming of God’s kingdom prays rightly to have it within himself, that there it might grow and bear fruit and become perfect. For God reigns in each of His holy ones. Anyone who is holy obeys the spiritual laws of God, who dwells in him as in a well-ordered city. The Father is present in the perfect soul, and with Him Christ reigns, according to the words: We shall come to him and make Our home with him. Thus the kingdom of God within us, as we continue to make progress, will reach its highest point when the Apostle’s words are fulfilled, and Christ, having subjected all His enemies to Himself, will hand over His kingdom to God the Father, that God may be all in all. Therefore, let us pray unceasingly with that disposition of soul which the Word may make divine, saying to our Father who is in Heaven: Hallowed be Your Name; Your kingdom come. Note this too about the kingdom of God. It is not a sharing of justice with iniquity, nor a society of light with darkness, nor a meeting of Christ with Belial. The kingdom of God cannot exist alongside the reign of sin. Therefore, if we wish God to reign in us, in no way should sin reign in our mortal body; rather we should mortify our members which are upon the earth and bear fruit in the Spirit. There should be in us a kind of spiritual paradise where God may walk and be our sole ruler with His Christ. In us the Lord will sit at the right hand of that spiritual power which we wish to receive. And He will sit there until all His enemies who are within us become His footstool, and every principality, power and virtue in us is cast out. All this can happen in each one of us, and the last enemy, death, can be destroyed; then Christ will say in us: O death, where is your sting? O hell, where is your victory? And so what is corruptible in us must be clothed with holiness and incorruptibility; and what is mortal must be clothed, now that death has been conquered, in the Father’s immortality. Then God will reign in us, and we shall enjoy even now the blessings of rebirth and resurrection.”
Through the intercession of Mary, the Queen of Heaven and earth, St. Joseph, Sts. Ann and Joachim, and St. Columbkill, may the loving Heart of Jesus Christ our King reign over all human hearts!
In Christ through Mary, Fr. Kasel
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