This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. A recent celebration, it was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 to counter several bad trends. First, there was an overly sentimental view of Jesus. The second trend was the idea or view that Jesus was irrelevant to this world. Religion was one thing; your politics and economics are another matter. Religion should not enter into the discussion. Third, it was a time when totalitarian governments were gaining ground—the Fascists in Italy under Mussolini, the Nazis in Germany, under Hitler, and the Communists in Russia under Lenin and Stalin. The people existed to serve the state and not the state to serve the people which is the way it should be.
Pope Pius XI placed the feast on the last Sunday of October. That was the Sunday closest to All Saints to show Jesus was the King of All Saints. When the liturgical calendar was reformed after the Second Vatican Council, it was moved to the last Sunday of the Church year. It serves as a reminder that at the end of our lives and at the end of the world, we will come before the throne of Jesus to be judged. “The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner, Christ’s royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations.” If we all understood this, how much better we and the world would all be. Let us do what we can do to recognize Jesus not just as the King of the World but also as the King of our lives.