The Feast of Christ the King
By Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.
The feast of Jesus Christ the Universal King was insituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and is observed on the last Sunday of the Roman Catholic Liturgical Year. It causes us to meditate on the Second and Final Coming of Christ, the last Judgment, and the end of the world.
It would seem that the second coming of Christ is an evangelical Protestant doctrine. You don’t see many mainline Protestant or Catholics pay much attention to it. Evangelicals, on the other hand, make millions selling book and movies about it.
But let’s take a look at the Catholic Eucharistic Liturgy–after the consecration the memorial acclamation proclaims “Christ has died, Christ has Risen, Christ will come again!” Or “when we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.” In the Our Father we pray “thy Kingdom Come.” If there were any ambiguity as to what this means, the priest’s next prayer clears it up: “as we wait and work in joyful hope for the coming of our savior Jesus Christ.” And the Nicene Creed proclaims the constant doctrine of the Catholic Church “he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.”
He came once in humility and obscurity, riding on an ass and wearing a crown of thorns. He will come again in glory, publicly, riding on the clouds and will decisively put an end to the culture of death, once and for all.
It all seems so real, so invincible, the political and military power of great nations and the ideological control exercised by the entertainment industry and the news media. But just recently, a parade of hurricanes reminded us of our impotence faced with the forces of nature, so called “acts of God.” Imagine the awesome power of that coming, that final act of God. As Isaiah 40:15 notes, “the nations are no more than a drop in the bucket, as dust on the scales.”
Should we be worried? If we are living a life of opposition to God, yes. Hell trembles at the thought of his coming. The stories of the flood and of Sodom and Gomorrah in the book of Genesis are inspired Scripture. They demonstrate what ultimately happens when unrepentant, stubborn sin confronts the holy majesty of God’s righteousness. He will come as King, to deal decisively and violently with evil (remember the cleansing of the Temple?). He will come as judge, to make clear what it is that each person has chosen as their destiny, to call all to accountability for their choices, which are in fact eternal choices with eternal consequences.
But what if you’ve sought to do His will and be his disciple? Then this coming will be an exciting rescue mission, even better than the marines saving Private Jessica. For the king comes as judge for some and savior for others. For those who welcome him, every tear shall be wiped away. They shall be from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation (Revelation 7:9) and will be ushered into a dimension of joy that can scarcely be imagined.
He is no local warlord, no regional ruler. He is the universal King and no one is outside his dominion. And he is no namby pamby either. I love the mosaic in the apse of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. There Christ the returning King is depicted with rippling muscles that would make Arnold Schwarzenegger look like a 98lb weakling. Jesus meek and mild looks in this rendering like someone you definitely don’t want to mess with. The face of the mosaic has a curious quality–one side of his face has a stern look intended for his enemies. But the other side of his face, though strong, is yet tender in compassion for his friends.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’d rather be counted among his friends.
For further reading on the Feast of Jesus Christ the king, be sure to check out:
Christ the King and the Last Judgment
Christ the King - Our Eucharist - by: Dr. D'Ambrosio
Feast of Christ the King
This article on the Feast of Christ the King originally appeared in Our Sunday Visitor and is reprinted here with permission.
Click here to download, print and share the Feast of Christ the King - Judge and Savior!
For more Catholic resources to feed your faith, visit the Crossroads Initiative Homepage.
To sign up for our free weekly e-mail with Dr. D'Ambrosio's commentary on the Sunday readings, liturgical feasts, updates on where Dr. D will be speaking, a chance to WIN a FREE CD and MORE, CLICK HERE!
Personal Prayer - Pathway to Joy - CD
Everyone knows that personal prayer is important. You can't expect to deepen a relationship with God talking with Him only once a week! But how, in the midst of the busy, noisy life we all lead, can we develop a pattern of daily prayer that really works? And if we are successful in carving out some moments for prayer, what do we do? How should we spend that time in way that would be most fruitful?
Taking Aim at the Tough Issues: Sex, Abortion, War and Capital Punishment - CD
A lot of people skirt the difficult issues. In this hard hitting series of two talks, Marcellino D'Ambrosio takes dead aim at the most controversial of moral issues sharing the wisdom of the Catholic tradition in a way that makes eminent sense.
Small Steps for Catholic Moms - Gift Set
This wonderful gift set includes both the Small Steps for Catholic Moms Book and Journal - This book includes thought provoking quotes, prayers and simple actions to take day by day. The journal has ample room to record thoughts, prayers and actions with supplemental material! Great gift idea for Mom for Christmas or to do with your study group through out the year!
SUGAR FREE - Winrgy®
Winrgy is an invigorating, citrus-flavored energy and mental performance drink loaded with vitamins, minerals and amino acids that will help you stay energized and focused — so you can work, play and perform at your best.
This Winrgy includes Food for Thought right in the mix!