It’s a high, holy day without a lot of history. Or rather, without a long history. Unlike other days on the Christian calendar that date back to the early church, or at least several hundred years, Christ the King Sunday isn’t even 100 years old yet.
This day was added in 1925 by Pope Pius XI as the Feast of Christ the King. Pope Pius began to notice that people were becoming very secular. In his encyclical to the Bishops of the Catholic Church, Pope Pius wrote this: “He [Christ] 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.” In other words, we must allow Christ to be the King of our lives if we are going to live as Christians.
Christ the King Sunday ends the Christian year and sets us up nicely for the start of Advent. In Matthew 25:31-46, we look ahead to the time of judgment, when Jesus will serve as the judge between those who have served him and those who have merely said they serve him. In Advent, we look not only to the birth of the baby Jesus but we look towards the second coming of Christ. The Matthew reading reminds us that when Christ comes again, he will be the king and judge of all creation. Our lives are to reflect the life of Jesus, the one who lives and reign with God on high.
Tomorrow ends our series on the offices of Christ, as Prophet, Priest, and King. As we are reminded that Christ is the King, we must ask ourselves, “Whom do I serve?”