This upcoming Sunday we celebrate “The Feast of Christ the King.” Historically speaking, this is a relatively new addition to our liturgical calendar. Most of our “Feast Days” are centuries old, deeply rooted in the historical church – Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost; Trinity and All Saints’. These are our seven “Principal Feasts,” celebrated by God’s people for hundreds of years, holy days reminding us of God’s gracious activity in our lives.
The Feast of Christ the King, however, was not a part of the church calendar until the 1900’s. Pope Pius XI instituted it within the Roman Catholic Church in 1925, and within 50 years most other liturgical churches did the same. Pope Pius did this in response to the global rise of secularism, and the local rise of a nationalism that was moving into fascism in Italy. His words explaining the need for this new Feast Day have a striking applicability to our world today:
The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences: the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin.
We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in the future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior… When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony.
Let’s gather together this Sunday, ready to realign ourselves with our Crucified and Resurrected King, through whom alone will come “the healing of the nations” (Revelation 21:1-5; 22:1-5).
Your Pastor in Christ,
P.S. Remember to keep working on your lists of Gratitude and Expectations! (See the Transition Corner below.)