Feast of Christ the King, and acknowledge and honor Jesus as our personal king and the king of the universe. Pope Pius XI introduced the Feast of Christ the King into the liturgy in 1925. The Pope intended to bring Christ, His rule and Christian values back into lives of Christians, into society and into politics. Although Emperors and Kings now exist mostly in history books, we still honor Christ as the King of the Universe by enthroning Him in our hearts and allowing Him to take control of our lives. The feast is also given to us as a model for people, especially for those in power, to follow the example of Christ the King. Jesus, by washing the feet of His disciples, became a model for us, because power is given to serve. This feast challenges us to see Christ the King in everyone, especially those whom our society considers the least important, and to treat each person with love, mercy and compassion, just as Jesus did.
Because this Sunday marks the end of Liturgical Year Cycle A, the readings also remind us of the end of times. We need to prepare and be vigilant for the end of times. No one knows the coming of the Lord but we do know that the Lord will come one day. If we are prepared and remain vigilant He will say to us as He said to the good and faithful servants in the Gospel reading: “’Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.”
The first reading from Ezekiel introduces God as a Shepherd, which reminds us of Christ’s claim that He is the good-shepherd-king, leading, feeding and protecting His sheep. In the second reading, St. Paul presents Christ as the all-powerful ruler-king who raises the dead and to whom every form of power and authority must eventually give way. Today’s Gospel describes Christ the King coming in His Heavenly glory to judge us, based on how we have shared our love and blessings with others through genuine acts of charity in our lives. Jesus is present to us now, not only as our good shepherd leading, feeding and healing His sheep, but also in dwelling in those for whom we care. In the parable of the separation of the sheep from the goats at the Last Judgment, every person to whom we give ourselves, “whether hungry, thirsty or a stranger, naked, sick or in prison,” is revealed to us as having been the risen Jesus. Our reward or punishment depends on how we have recognized and treated this risen Jesus in the needy and how we have shared our God-given blessings with others.
Therefore, the Feast of Christ the King invites us to live the kingdom values of love, peace, justice and forgiveness. By doing so, we make the feast a living reality, making Christ a model for us to follow and emulating His selfless love. The feast is also an invitation to all those who have power, including parents, to use their power to serve and to use it as an opportunity to guide and shepherd people to the right path, the path of love and service.
The Solemnity of Christ the King is not just the conclusion of the Church year. It is also a summary of our lives as Christians. On this great Feast, let us resolve to make Christ the centerpiece of our lives and honor our King by living and practicing the kingdom values. The Feast invites us to give the best place at the table to the King. We just celebrated Thanksgiving, a great family feast, which was also an opportunity to consider the many blessings we have received from God.
One way of considering and acknowledging those blessings is to see how we have shared them with others. As you all know, the parish is focusing on an important project in the coming year: the reroofing of the church, the House of God. The church’s roof has been leaking for more than 30 years. An examination of the condition of the roof indicates that we must act immediately or risk irreparable damage to the roof. We have to fix it, and we have to fix it now. I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your encouraging remarks and positive response to the appeal that I made a few weeks ago at the weekend Mass. I am encouraged by your support and thank you for it.