The Feast of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in his 1925 encyclical letter Quas Primas in response to growing nationalism and secularism. At the time, secularism was rising, and many Christians, including Catholics, began to doubt Christ’s authority and existence, as well as the Church’s power to continue Christ’s authority. The world was witnessing the rise of dictatorships in Europe, and many Catholics had been brought into the fold of these earthly leaders. The Feast was intended to proclaim and celebrate the all-embracing authority of Christ as King and Lord over all individuals, families, societies, governments and nations. On this day, we pray for the conversion of all to Christ, and for all governments to recognize Him as King, and to conform their laws to His teachings. His is the one true way to peace!
In today’s world, as so many in society embrace the ideals of individualism, the idea of Christ as ruler and King continues to face the same obstacles that were identified by Pius XI. Many people reject the titles of “Lord” or “King” for Christ, as those titles are often linked to oppressive forms of government. However, we must remember that Christ’s kingship is one of humility and service. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus proclaims, “For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many”. Christ, our King, calls us to live by His example. Only by serving as He served can we know and love Christ and make Him known to and loved by others. To make the Kingdom of Christ a reality we must work to eliminate hatred and cruelty, and to spread Christ’s love throughout the earth. Let us ask our King today to help us to collaborate in the divine task of mending what is broken, saving what is lost, fixing what man has put out of order, and helping others to find the path to Christ!