WITH ST. MARY'S
THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING
Let Christ reign in our hearts.
FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING
The passion and death of Jesus Christ was a testament to the glory and kingship of the Son of God. He was placed on trial because he dared to equate himself with God. He was sentenced to death after claiming that his kingdom was not of this world. He offered himself for his subjects as an act of love, and his eventual victory over death three days later indicated that our king is a king of triumph and glory. This Sunday, we end the liturgical season by celebrating the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. However, we do not do so by focusing on the victory of our king over his enemies of sin and death; rather, we focus on the undying and sacrificial love he has for his people, that he was willing to go to his death for those under his rule simply out of love.
READ THIS SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
This Sunday’s Gospel is a profoundly beautiful reading when we consider that we are particularly celebrating the kingship of Jesus Christ this weekend. We do not read about the resurrection, nor do we read from the book of Revelation which describes his kingship in Heaven in all of its glory. Instead, we read about Jesus at the lowest moment in his earthly life - when he is on the cross. The soldiers who put him on the cross cannot recognize his glory or power. Even one of the criminals who had been crucified alongside him ridicules and reviles him. Christ is our king, yet at this moment, no one recognized him. No one except for the good thief. Tradition tells us that this man’s name was Dismas, a lifelong criminal who was put to death for his crimes, who just so happened to be crucified alongside his heavenly king. When no one else recognized the kingship of Christ, Dismas initially recognized the innocence of Christ. In this simple act of humanity, Dismas’ eyes were opened to realize that the man being executed next to him was not just an innocent soul; he was the king of kings who had all the power in the universe, yet still allowed himself to be put to death for the sins of his subjects merely out of love. Dismas’ heart is stirred, and he asks Jesus for a simple request: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” That very day, Christ was restored to his kingship in full glory; the choirs of angels rejoiced at his sacrifice and at the defeat of sin and death. For the very simple fact of recognizing the humanity of an innocent soul, Dismas’ heart was opened to recognize Christ’s kingship. On that day, Christ invited him into paradise alongside him. Christ is King of the Universe, but he continues to present himself in a humble manner, under the appearance of bread and wine. Be like Dismas. Be open to recognizing who is actually in front of you. Your heart will be open, and you will not just be permitted to witness the glory of Christ the King; you will be invited to participate in his glory.
Family activity to do at home: Catholics love processions - they are a unification of our bodies and our spirits, and they allow our prayer to become something physical. We do them all the time as a Church community, but there is no reason why we cannot also participate in processions in the Domestic Church - the home among our family. God loves to see us orient the bodies He gave us to honor and glorify Him, and there is no better day to honor and glorify Him than on the Solemnity of Christ the King. In fact, there is already a tradition of Catholics processing together on this Solemnity. In the activity below, you will find an instruction and explanation of a procession for Christ the King that can be done at home with the family.