Christ the King

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Christ, King of the Universe is the closing reading of a liturgical year. Next week starts Advent, which begins the next calendar year. Superimpose the two, just for a moment. The King is a mature figure, and the feast clearly points to the return of Christ. Advent, is the awaiting of the Nativity of Christ, but also points towards Christ the King. One a conclusion, the other a beginning; yet both address the eternal. One can’t separate the Christ that majestically returns from the one that humbly enters creation. They are the same. The Christ of Christ the King might hint towards judgement, and that judgement gives hint of the reason for Advent. Both these days also speak to history. The Nativity was an historical event, the day the solemnity of Christ the King was instituted also was a reaction to history. 1929 was an era of changes for the Christendom of Europe. Monarchies were collapsing, and dictators were filling the void. The religious day was counterpoint to the political turmoil, a flock’s reminder of who the true King is. Read that reading where Pontius Pilot questions Christs Kingship. Politics are there too, and a monumental change is set into motion.

Did I say anything new? I don’t think so, I am just pondering this day. With one thought a year ends and a new one begins. In another thought there is a link of unbroken continuity. Does one day point towards the LORDS judgement, and the other HIS mercy? Does one gain importance over the other, does the feast of the King emphasize the importance of the Advent as a time of preparation? Does today serve as a reminder not only of that second coming of Christ, but does it also contrast two natures of the same Christ; judgement and forgiveness? Shouldn’t one also be reminded of the lessons of history, our history? The battles of yesterday and today, there is a political context to this day after all.

This is one of those days that raises more questions that it does to provide answers a day reminiscent of the same parables “Christ the King” preached. This day can’t be the conclusion of something eternal, yet one day hints towards an end and the other a beginning. Paradoxically, Christ has neither beginning nor end. How can we await the return of a God that never abandoned us? Perhaps in this day lies the meaning of the word majesty? Ours is a majestic King, a mysterious King, a King of justice, and of mercy. A King of wisdom and understanding.

Christ the King

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It is the last Sunday of the Liturgical year, and also the Sunday of the feast “Christ the King.” It is a hint of what the advent season is awaiting for, Christ the King in a manger. It is also a Feast day that was established with a clear purpose. The feast day was initiated in1925 by Pope Pius XI to combat the rise of secularism. Secularism is informally the separation of Church and state, it also separates the moral and ethical norms of a community from a religious institution. Pope Pius wished to remind Catholics of Christ as the true and supreme King, and also of the supremacy of the Kingdom of God. How important is that to remember! It is Christ the King, not the presidents, prime ministers, dictators, corporate executives, governments, armies, educators. It is that Kings law’s that are supreme, not the whims of any politician that managed to rise to power. That is important to remember as World War One drew to a close, and the Second World War was on the horizon. With this feast of Christ the King, there also is that reminder of the qualities of a fitting King. Christ the King is also the Good Shepard, and the shepherd in the ancient world was the symbol of a true king. It is a reminder of his Kingdom against the manifestos of so many earthly Kings. It is a reminder of one kingdom, against all of the boundaries that were, and are, being drawn on this earthly kingdom. All of the reasons for this day in 1925, truly do to exist today. Secularism today is not a rising force, it is a fully mature and entrenched part of the landscape. Today politicians have no qualms with going against the teaching of Churches, there is little reason for them to fear a pontiff’s rebuttal. Today morals, ethics, beliefs are shaped by the state, not the Church. The objection is that the Church should not interfere in the States affairs; there is no argument for the State interfering with the Church’s teachings. Today most issues that were discerned by Church, today are decided by a political system based on popular vote and its associated lobbyist system. Most often it is not discerned through truth, but bartered for through a capitalist machinery. These are good reasons to remember Christ as King, and the laws and ways of that divine and eternal Kingdom. His kingdom is so much better than our bickering little parcels of land. His kingship is so much better than our feeble heads of state. The problem though is that we do live in this world and are affected by its laws, demands, and realities. Secular society does try to lure us away from Christ Kingdom and into the ideologies of the day. We do battle here, though with all of the advertisements of the earthly fractions of society, days like the feast of Christ the King are needed as a reminder of the true kingdom worth fighting for. The Kingdom of God is at hand, and Jesus Christ is its King.

9-Salt

 

Christ the King

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From: World War One (click)


1921
·         21/02/1921 France and Poland make a secret military agreement, specifying that if Germany attacks either nation, the other will assist in defence. If Poland is attacked by Soviet Russia, France is to hold Germany in check on land and at sea.

·         29/07/1921 Adolf Hitler becomes the leader of the Nazi party.
 

·         13/10/1921 The Treaty of Kars is signed between Bolshevik Russia and Turkey.

·         06/02/1922 A treaty limiting naval armament is signed by the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan. The limits set for total tonnage of major naval ships are: USA 525,000, Great Britain 525,000, France 175,000, Italy 175,000, Japan 315,000.

·         10/04/1922 The Genoa Conference begins with representatives of 34 countries discussing ecomomics in the wake of the Great War.

·         16/04/1922 Treaty of Rapallo is signed between Germany and Bolshevik Russia to normalise diplomatic relations.
1922
·         19/05/1922 The Genoa Conference ends.

·         11/09/1922 Treaty of Kars is ratified in Yerevan, Soviet Union.
 

·         24/10/1922 Benito Mussolini calls for Italian Blackshirts to march on Rome.

·         29/10/1922 King Victor Emmanual III appoints Mussolini as Premier of Italy.

1923
·         The Treaty of Lausanne is signed between the Allies and Turkey, successor State to the Ottoman Empire. It supersedes the Treaty of Sèvres.
1924
·         27/01/1924 The Treaty of Rome is signed between Italy and Yugoslavia. Fiume is annexed by Italy and the neighboring town of Sušak is assigned to Yugoslavia.
1925
·         03/01/1925 Mussolini dismisses the Italian Parliament and assumes total control of Italy.

·        12/11/1925 Christ the King Encyclical(click)

Begin: World War Two(click) timeline

Sometimes you can look at a liturgical day simply by what it is called; and relating that days title to the bible passages that illuminate it. Christ as King can certainly be referenced numerous times in the bible and that title describing Christ can fill countless volumes describing precisely what it means.

This day, the solemnity of Christ the King, can and should also be referenced historically to the day that it was declared part of the liturgical calendar. POPE PIUS XI declared this day in 1925 , and a review of the timeline in European history gives clear indication of why that Pope thought it so important to reflect on the proclamation of Christ as King of the Universe. This is the period after world war 1, and just prior to world war two. It is a time of hatred, and dictators trying to claim that title themselves. With that type of political environment so dominated by Nazi and Fascist propaganda and all of the power and control they both managed to gain, it was and is wise to remember Christ as King. It also is wise to view that King in the light of all of the so called earthly kings, presidents, prime ministers, generals, and dictators. It is wise to view the kingdoms that these earthly leaders preach in light of that kingdom of God preached by Christ. It is wise to look at their preaching’s in the light of Christ’s, their commands and laws and decrees in his light. His is the way the truth and the light. In the darkness of 1925 Europe that light was desperately needed.