In 1925, with the rise of dictatorships in Europe, Pope Pius XI instituted the feast of Christ the King to remind the faithful that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds and bodies.
At that time, Mussolini was the dictator in Italy and respect for Christ was diminishing, a problem that remains with us today. For many, personal wants and needs take precedence over God. Christ’s authority is rejected in favor of individualism.
Pope Benedict XVI has said that Christ’s kingship is based on loving and serving others, not on “human power.” He noted in 2006 that “the cross is the ‘throne’ from which He demonstrated the sublime regality of God-love.”
"After all the enemies – and in the last instance, death – have been defeated," the Pope said, Christ’s kingdom will be fully realized on earth. Until then, Christians should “freely accept the truth of God’s love,” he said.
The Virgin Mary’s humble and unconditional acceptance of God’s will in her life was the reason that “God exalted her over all other creatures, and Christ crowned her Queen of heaven and earth,” Benedict said.
The logic of Christ is not based on “criteria of efficiency and of human power,” he said, but on love and service to others.
The Solemnity of Christ the King is celebrated on the last Sunday of the liturgical year. It is followed by the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the new liturgical year. A solemnity is a principal holy day.
• Parishioner Julie Musselman offers a personal perspective in A Catholic Home Journal