Happy Feast Day! And Happy 89th Anniversary, Christ the King! Today is the Feast of Christ the King (or, more formally, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe; you can’t get much bigger than that!), and so it’s a special day for us to celebrate our parish and give thanks for being a part of this wonderful parish community. I hope you’re able to do something special to acknowledge this feast. (And don’t forget about our special Vespers service tonight at 7pm.)
The Feast of Christ the King is a relatively new addition to the Church calendar. It was established in the 1920’s by Pope Pius XI in the aftermath of World War I. This was a difficult time that led to the rise of fascists and Nazis, and the Church was in many ways being pushed to the side. In short, it was a time when many people were putting their hope in earthly powers rather than in Jesus Christ. It was in this environment that the Church sought to reaffirm that the power to overcome the ills of this world ultimately lies with Christ, and we ultimately owe our allegiance to Him more than to any earthly power.
In many ways, our world faces challenges similar to those that existed a century ago, when this feast was added to the calendar. Without going into a laundry list of social ills, with which we’re sadly all too familiar, it’s safe to say that our culture largely fails to worship Christ as Our King, and to put our ultimate trust in Him. Here at Christ the King Parish, though, we have an advantage. Every time we pull into our parking lot, we are reminded that Christ is Our King. Every time someone asks us what parish we belong to and we answer, “I belong to Christ the King”, we are reminded that we really do belong to Him, and that our souls and our very lives are completely in His care. I hope that as we celebrate this feast day, we all take some time to rededicate ourselves to loving, worshiping and serving Him above all else, especially if we can identify any earthly groups we’ve allowed to slip ahead of Him in our lives.
When he instituted the Feast of Christ the King, Pope Pius XI wrote, “We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ …may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior.” I think his prayer is every bit as appropriate today as it was when he first wrote it. And so it’s in that spirit that I wish all of you a Happy Feast Day. All hail, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe!