The Solemnity of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI with the encyclical Quas primas. The Holy Father speaks directly to the problem of what he referred to as “anti-clericalism,” by which he meant the attitude of those who were seeking to eliminate Christian influence from political life. We see a version of anti-clericalism today, for example, when it is suggested that belief in Catholic teachings renders a person unfit for a judicial appointment.
When our nation is beset by civic unrest, racial tension, and a pandemic, we do well to turn to Our Lord, who reigns over every people and nation.
Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, the Incarnate Lord.
His kingship is founded upon the ineffable hypostatic union. From this it follows not only that Christ is to be adored by angels and men, but that to him as man angels and men are subject, and must recognize his empire; by reason of the hypostatic union Christ has power over all creatures. – Quas primas, 13
Jesus is fully God and fully man. He is both the divine Lord and the man who suffered and died on the Cross. In him, one person of the Trinity unites himself to human nature through the Incarnation and reigns over all creation as the Incarnate Son of God.
Jesus shares a law of charity to show the way to communion with God.
Not only do the gospels tell us that he made laws, but they present him to us in the act of making them. Those who keep them show their love for their Divine Master, and he promises that they shall remain in his love. -Quas primas, 14
By being close to sisters and brothers who are suffering, we draw close to Jesus. We Catholics, as individuals and as parishes, can look for opportunities to minister to the needs of people who are hurting and, by doing so, we will be acknowledging the kingship of Christ.
The Church acknowledges the reign of Christ, not only privately, but publicly.
Thus by sermons preached at meetings and in churches, by public adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed and by solemn processions, men unite in paying homage to Christ, whom God has given them for their King. -Quas primas, 26
Today, religious freedom for many people means that we can believe whatever we want, but when we enter the public square or the marketplace, we must conform to secularist orthodoxy. For Christians, when our faith is repeatedly marginalized in public life, we can fall into the habit of compartmentalizing our lives. We love Jesus in our private lives, but we shrink from acknowledging the kingship of Christ in social life. When we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, we declare to the world and remind ourselves that Jesus is the Lord, not only of the Church, but of the universe.
Quas primas © 1925, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City State. Used with permission. All rights reserved.