The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Sunday, November 20, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. This feast was established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI by his encyclical Quas Primas. The Pope was acutely aware of the secularization of society and culture. He wanted this feast and devotion to bring people a deep awareness that Christ is the center of all Creation.
The images, language and metaphors surrounding the feast are ones that spoke to the people in the early 20th century. They may ring differently to us. Concepts of “king”, “empire”, “dominion”, “subjection” tend to engender negative connotations for many of us. But our readings today can direct us to a deeper understanding of the characteristics Pius sought to highlight, ones that may speak more clearly to us in our time.
Our first reading from Samuel presents the anointing of David as King of Israel. Anointed by those who were “his own bone and flesh”, David prefigured the Incarnate Christ who, by the power of the Holy Spirit, took our flesh to redeem us.
The magnificent passage from Colossians offers exultant praise to the Creator for
…delivering us from the power of darkness
and transferring us to the kingdom of the beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption …
And our Gospel gives us our precious Jesus on the Cross, teaching us the paradoxical truth of what his “Kingdom” really means – not oppressive dominion, but rather a sacrificial love that gives everything for the life of the beloved.
Many cannot recognize such “kingship”. They cannot see the holy power within Christ’s sacrifice. They are, as Pius XI recognized for his time, blinded by a secularized culture and a dispirited life.
Let us pray today with the “justly condemned”, but spiritually enlightened, man in our Gospel who asked his Crucified King,
when you come into Kingdom!”
Poetry: As Kingfishers Catch Fire – Gerard Manley Hopkins
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; As tumbled over rim in roundy wells Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name; Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells, Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came. I say móre: the just man justices; Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces; Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is — Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places, Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his To the Father through the features of men's faces.
Music: Jesus Remember Me