The Chicago Liturgy Training Sourcebook offers these thoughts on today’s feast of Christ the King. “Today is the Thirty-Fourth or last Sunday in Ordinary Time and the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe or foreshortened to simply say Christ the King. It was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925, an observance celebrating an aspect of Jesus’ identity rather than of his life. Conventional understanding of kingship and power are transformed. Rather than calling up images of Jesus dressed in kingly robes, the Gospel proclaims him as king by the sign over his head on the throne of a wooden cross (I.N.R.I) – Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Paradoxically it is the thief next to him on a cross who recognized Christ the Lord and Messiah.”
We recognize that his kingdom is not here; his Kingdom is with the Father, and yet it is being mysteriously built in our midst. As the Preface for the feast states: “His is an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.” This feast holds out to us an ideal of who and what we could be if we allowed Christ to be king over us and for us. As Isaiah suggests, he is born of regal lines, but he reigns as a suffering servant, one who came to serve us, serve humankind, to save us from sin and death. And so we come to the end of another church year and prepare to enter into Advent, the preparation season before the great feast of Christmas when Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. Christ is in our midst, encouraging us that we might transform the world from hate to love, from anger to patience, from lies to truth, from injustice to justice. These are always our goals and our ideals and with God’s grace we can make a difference in our world, one life at a time.
We gathered last Thursday on Thanksgiving, our National Day of Gratitude to share food and drink, prayer and conversation, walks or football games and thanked God for our many blessings this past year. Who led the prayer at your table? What were you grateful for this year? How has Christ’s love touched your lives? How did your life change in any way this past year?
Father Larry Hendel, Pastor