The catholic church all over the world celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Commonly called “Christ the King.”
The holy day has an important lesson for all Christian believers.
Unfortunately, whatever lesson that might be, it is easily lost among Christians today because they see the Catholic Church as still living in the past.
This is confirmed by the way in which regal concepts and language are used. For believers today, such a use of regal paraphernalia comes across as peculiar and unhelpful to their real lives and the actual challenges to their faith.
To begin with, the feast day of Christ the King is a comparatively recent holy day. It was instituted by Pope Blessed Pius XI at the end of the Jubilee Year of 1925.
This was a well-timed and much-needed jubilee for the Church. It came after the destruction of the First World War and the tidal wave of secularism that followed the devastation.
The jubilee was a praiseworthy attempt by the Catholic Church to address post-war secularism and answer some of humanity’s questions about human nature, evil, God’s providence, and the future of the human family.
Regrettably, the Catholic effort was choked by dated pageantry, unhelpful theological language and a condescending approach by church leadership.
The church show the world a king who does not lust for power but who is self-described as “meek and humble of heart.” The Church can glorify a king who does not want a crown of domination, but who lovingly accepts a crown of thorns in service to others.
Church leadership can praise a scepter that imparts kindness and compassion rather than vengeance and annihilation.
The more the Catholic Church exercises its spiritual authority and extols the higher impulses of humanity, the more it has a voice and is a true teacher and witness to humanity.
As the Church relinquishes its own claims of power, the more it will regain its moral authority within the human family and the more effective it will be in fulfilling the mission given to it by Christ who is King and Servant of all.