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Christ the King, Year B
Homily. Readings: Readings: Daniel 7:13-14; Psalm 93; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33-37.


White Stole and Gospel
Readings: Daniel 7:13-14; Psalm 93; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33-37

Since Jesus Christ is Universal King, it is only fitting that we honor him as such. He has indeed professed himself to be King, “I am a king” (Gospel). He has come to free those who would be part of his kingdom and spared no sacrifice to rescue them from sin and death (Second Reading). Although he came in humility and poverty, amid silence and darkness and obscurity, he will come in glory and light, in all his majesty at the end of times to judge every soul, living and dead declaring an irreversible sentence of eternal life or eternal death for each individual (First Reading).

Pius XI teaches us in Quas Primas, the encyclical declaring Christ’s universal kingship, that “Jesus is King by right of nature and by conquest.” By right of nature, “he possesses … power over all creatures, not that he seized it by violence, nor received it from another, but he possesses it by his own nature and essence; his power comes from that wonderful union which is called by theologians hypostatic. For this reason Christ is to be adored not only as God by angels and men, but these angels and men owe submission and obedience to him also as man.” In fact, Christ as man participates fully in the royalty and sovereign majesty of Christ as God; since as man and as God, Christ is one Person, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is the summit of all creation: the beginning and the end, the King of all things; he holds “the primacy of all things” (see Colossians 1:18)

This perspective was continued in the Second Vatican Council, primarily in Gaudium et Spes which says:

“While helping the world and receiving many benefits from it, the Church has a single intention: that God’s Kingdom may come, and that the salvation of the whole human race may come to pass. For every benefit which the People of God during its earthly pilgrimage can offer to the human family stems from the fact that the Church is “the universal sacrament of salvation” (24), manifesting the mystery of God’s love.

“For God’s Word, by whom all things were made, was himself made flesh so that as perfect man he might save all men and sum up all things in himself. The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilization, the center of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings”(25). He it is whom the Father raised from the dead, lifted on high and stationed at his right hand, making him judge of the living and the dead. Enlivened and united in his Spirit, we journey toward the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God’s love: “To reestablish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth” (Ephesians 11:10).

The Lord Himself speaks: “Behold I come quickly and my reward is with me, to render to each one according to his works. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end (Revelation 22; 12-13)” (see GS 45).

When Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King, he was primarily responding to the excesses of Marxism and secular humanism, which sought to erase the name of Jesus Christ from human memory. Today, the Feast of Jesus Christ King of the Universe is the occasion to go deeper into this essential aspect of the Faith as well as revisit and re-evaluate the truth of Christ’s royalty in the context of the present day relations between the Church and the modern world. Christ has created us and redeemed us, thus making of us a royal priesthood, participants in his life and nature. Our participation in his royal governance should free us from every type of slavery in favor of a new elevated, purified, consolidated life in Christ (see LG 13).

“What could be more pleasing and agreeable than the thought that Christ is Ruler, not only by right of nature, but by right of conquest, which he acquired when he became our Redeemer! O that ungrateful men would remember how much we have cost our Savior! We were not redeemed at the price of gold or silver … but by Christ’s precious Blood. We no longer belong to ourselves, because Christ has paid a precious ransom for us” (Quas Primas). Christ has every right to rule over us. As Paul says “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25).

From all eternity, God the Father beheld in Christ, his only begotten Son, all humanity who would be created by him and handed over to his Son as fruits of his victory on the cross. St. Paul says that God Father has set Christ, “at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:20-21). We have been chosen in him, predestined in Christ “that we might sing the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:12). Just as the angels, we have been created to give God glory in Jesus Christ our King. We begin to do so by acknowledging his rights to our praise and gratitude, living in docile submission to his will – not as slaves, but in the freedom of children of God.

The laity, above all, have a special participation in Christ’s royal priesthood and are called to exercise it in works that promote the human person, acting as leaven in society spreading the Gospel spirit in their workplaces and homes. They are called to give witness to Christ’s kingship through their testimony and works of apostolate to the glory of Christ the King, Redeemer and Savior of humanity (see AA, 2).

Christ, the New Man, alone integrates society, elevating us and perfecting us in his paschal mystery. Our willing participation through prayer and apostolate, through lives given over to him and others is the only way to the peace that only Christ the King can give (see GS 22; 32-45; 77-78; 92-93).