The festival of ‘Christ the King’ was last week, the last Sunday of the liturgical year so, like Simchat Torah, the church year ends on a joyous note, looking forward to a time when the Kingdom will be fully realised, where there will finally be peace and justice, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” The feast of Christ the King encourages Christians to live under the kingship of Christ in our lives now.
“If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.”
Being relatively new to the liturgical church, I had assumed that the Feast of ‘Christ the King’ was an ancient tradition but in fact it is less than 100 years old, and is not celebrated widely by denominations other than Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican. It was only instituted (by Pope Pius XI) in 1925 and only set as the last Sunday before Advent as recently as 1970, and was conceived specifically to address encroaching secularism.
Nevertheless it seems to me to be a very nice way to end the liturgical year.
Readings this year (ending year C) were:
Psalms: Psalm 46
OT: Jeremiah 23:1-6
Gospel: Luke 23:33-43
Epistles: Colossians 1:11-20
“Eternal Father, whose son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven that he might rule over all things as lord and king, keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace, and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.”