|Christ the Pantocrator- Hagia Sophia|
The Feast of Christ the King is a relatively recent addition to the Church's liturgical calendar, having been instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical letter Quas Primas, in response to growing nationalism and secularism.
In 1969 Pope Paul VI gave the celebration a new title: "Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe". He also gave it a new date: the last Sunday in the liturgical year, before a new year begins with the First Sunday in Advent.
"He must reign in our minds...He must reign in our wills... He must reign in our hearts, so that we love God above all things, and cleave to Him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God." (Pope Pius XI)
For us Christians, we do not see Christ as a tyrant, ruling over us, but rather as our Savior, our teacher, our God who became our King by reigning in our daily lives. In Christ we find our path to holiness. .
But we ask how are these two great feast days connected? Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Feast of Christ the King and the last week of the year pass through the “secular” Feast of Thanksgiving. The word “Eucharist” means Thanksgiving and should be a reminder to us of the greatest gift we have been given as we are able to daily partake of the Body of Christ.
Also giving thanks tomorrow will be at least 4,000 Indians at the Vatican today to see Pope Francis officially declare Blessed Chavara Elias Kuriakose (1805-1871) and Blessed Euphraisa of Sacred Heart of Jesus (1877-1952) saints. The canonizations come six years after the canonization of India's first woman saint, Sister Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception. Both new saints are credited with spearheading a better spiritual and social awareness that have become the foundations of present-day Catholic life in Kerala, where our Father Mathew Thelly is from.
|Rumen Spasov- Bulgaria|
As we go through this last week of the year, with much hustle and bustle, as we prepare an earthly banquet, joining with those whom we love around the table in Thanksgiving, may we take the time to ponder how we will approach the new Liturgical season, Advent, preparing ourselves and the world for the coming of the King. On this last week of the Church Year, let us remember that in Christ the King, Thanksgiving and Advent become a way of life for us all.