Solemnity of Christ the King
(Celebrated the Sunday before Advent,
the last Sunday in Ordinary Time)

christ_king2.jpg (439958 bytes)

'Christ the King', or 'Christ in Majesty', or 'Christ in Glory', or 'Christ Pantokrator' - 'Pantokrator' is largely an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic Theological Conception. In the Western Church, Christ is seated on a Throne as Ruler of the World, always seen Frontally in the Centre of the Composition, and often Flanked by other Sacred Figures, whose Membership changes over Time and according to Context. In the Byzantine Church, the Image developed slightly differently into the half-length Christ Pantocrator depicted above, "Christ, Ruler of All", a usually Unaccompanied Figure; however sometimes a full-length Enthroned Christ is entreated by Mary and St John the Baptist, and other figures.

 

Gospel Reading
Matthew 25:31-46

judgement_sm.jpg (15515 bytes) Jesus said to His Disciples: "When the Son of Man comes in His Glory, Escorted by All the Angels of Heaven, He will sit upon His Royal Throne, and all the Nations will be Assembled before Him. Then He will Separate them into Two Groups, as a Shepherd separates Sheep from Goats. The Sheep He will place on His Right Hand, the Goats on His Left. The King will say to those on His Right: 'Come. You have My Father's Blessing! Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the Creation of the World. For I was Hungry and you gave Me Food, I was Thirsty and you gave Me Drink. I was a Stranger and you Welcomed Me, Naked and you Clothed Me. I was Ill and you Comforted Me, in Prison and you came to Visit Me'. Then the Just will ask Him: 'Lord, when did we see You Hungry and Feed You or see You Thirsty and give You Drink? When did we Welcome You away from Home or Clothe You in Your Nakedness? When did we Visit You when You were Ill or in Prison'? The King will answer them: 'I assure You, as often as you did it for One of My Least Brothers, you did it for Me'.

"Then He will say to those on His Left: 'Out of My Sight, you Condemned, into that Everlasting Fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels! I was Hungry and you gave Me no Food, I was Thirsty and you gave Me no Drink. I was away from Home and you gave Me no Welcome, Naked and you gave Me no Clothing. I was Ill and in Prison and you did not come to Comfort Me.' Then they in turn will ask: 'Lord, when did we see You Hungry or Thirsty or away from Home or Naked or Ill or in Prison and not Attend You in Your Needs'? He will answer them: 'I assure you, as often as you Neglected to do it to one of these Least Ones, you Neglected to do it to Me'. These will go off to Eternal Punishment and the Just to Eternal Life".

 

The Kingdom of God is in the World, but not of the World. God Rules not by Physical Force in the Conquest of Nations, but by the Conquest of Minds and Hearts by means of Divine Grace Infused by the Holy Spirit into Men's Souls. It is a Kingdom in which Subjects Submit-to the Will of God not by Force, but Freely out of Love. We shall not be in a Position to Work Adequately for the Spread of the Kingdom of God, unless-and-until, the Kingdom is First Established in our own Souls. All are Subject-to God's Kingship, even though some Refuse to accept Him as King, or Submit-to Him. At the End of Time, Christ’s Temporal Power will be Manifest, and all will Submit to His Rule, Willingly or not, to the Eternal Anguish of those who Refused to Recognize and Submit to His Authority during their Life on Earth.

The Kingdom of God exists in the Supernatural Order in the Essence of Men's Souls.

 

Supernatural Order
( If you are in the State of Sanctifying Grace,
the Holy Ghost dwells 'in-you'
in a very Special and Personal way.
)

Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Natural
Order

Supernatural
Order

Natural
Body
(Subordinate-Partner)

Natural
Soul
(Dominant Partner)

Supernatural Grace/
Infused Virtues
and Gifts of the
Holy Ghost

The Supernatural Order is the Ensemble of Effects exceeding the Powers of the Created Universe, and Gratuitously produced directly by God for the purpose of Raising the Rational Creature above its Natural Sphere to a God-like Life and Destiny.

 

 

Christ, the King and Judge

by Father Charles Irvin, M.Div, J.D.

angelbar.gif (3645 bytes)

It is no Secret that there is a Great Distrust of Authority these days, a Distrust of our Basic Institutions and their Leaders that, in many cases, arises from Understandable Reasons. In Reaction, Individualism has been Advocated to such an Extreme, that for many People, the only Acceptable Authority is the Individual Self. Many are therefore Uncomfortable with the Idea of Christ as Ruler. With the Exception of a Fascination with Englandís Royal Family, we Balk at the Idea of Kings and Queens, Believing them to be Oppressive. The Titles of "Lord" and "King" for Christ are Unsettling for some Folks because they Believe that such Titles are Borrowed from Oppressive Systems of Government.

I am Troubled by all of this Hesitancy because it Casts Christ as being a Threat. Jesus is Hardly a Threatening Figure; He is quite the Opposite! This Hesitancy about Christ the King may cause many to Miss-the-Point that Christ's Kingship is one of Humility, Service, and Compassionate Care. He is not a King who Imposes, rather He Invites. He is not a King who Coerces; rather He Leads. He is not a King who Issues Directives from afar; rather He Speaks from Within our Hearts and Souls. He is not an Imperial King; rather He is a Shepherd King. He is not a King filled-with Anger and Wrath; rather He has a Heart filled-with Compassion and Mercy. What He asks of us, He has done Himself.

In Saint Markís Gospel we find Jesus telling us:

You know that those who are recognized as Rulers over the Gentiles Lord it over them, and their Great Ones make their Authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to become Great among you will be your Servant; whoever wishes to be First among you will be the Slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be Served, but to Serve, and to give His Life as a Ransom for many (Mark 10:42-45).

In Saint Johnís Gospel we read:

Pilate said to Jesus, "Are You the King of the Jews"? ... Jesus answered, "My Kingdom does not belong to this World. If My Kingdom did belong to this World, My Attendants would be Fighting to keep Me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, My Kingdom is not here". So Pilate said to Him, "Then You are a King"? Jesus answered, "You say I am a King. For this I was born and for this I came into the World, to Testify to the Truth (John 18:33b, 36-37).

Jesus knew the Oppressive Nature of Secular Rulers Ė He was put to Death by one of them. In Contrast to Secular Kings, He defined His Role as King to Humble Service, and Commanded His Followers to be Servants as well. In the New Testament we find that His Kingdom is Connected to His Suffering and Death. Even though Christ is Coming at the End of the Ages to Judge the Nations, His Teachings spell out a Kingdom of Justice and Judgment that are Balanced with Radical Love, Mercy, Peace, and Forgiveness. So when we Celebrate Christ as King, we are not Celebrating an Oppressive Ruler, but One Willing to Die for Humanity and Whose "Loving-Kindness endures Forever". Christ is the King that gives us True Freedom, Freedom in Him. We must never forget that Christ Radically Redefined and Transformed the Concept of Kingship.

Pope Pius XI instituted The Feast of Christ the King in 1925 at a time when World Rulers had been organizing Human Society without any Reference to God. People in Europe had been Ravaged by a Number of Totalitarian Claims to own them. Napoleon had Instituted the Draft of Soldiers, claiming the State owned the Bodies of young French Men and Boys, and that therefore France could Conscript them into her Armies. This was a Logical Result of the French Revolution which claimed that the Rights of Man came not from God but from the Government. Even unto today, we Suffer from the Residual Effects of such thinking. Many among us look to Washington to Solve all their Problems while leaving God out of the Equation.

Earlier, the Royal Houses of Europe claimed that they Ruled Men and Women by 'Divine Right'. Following them later, the Philosophies of Capitalism and Communism claimed that Political-Economic Systems exercised Ownership and Control over the Labor of Men and Women, as well as over Men and Women in their very Nature. Rulers of People had in effect Taken-over the Prerogatives of God and Substituted their own Dominion over Human Life.

Into all of this comes Christ, claiming to be our King. Oh, not in terms of Political or Governmental Dominance, Power and Control, but rather in terms of what really matters, in terms of where we find our Hearts and Souls.

I once heard of a little boy who was being Disciplined by his mother. She had just told him to sit down and stay in his chair and not move. Said the little boy: "I may be sitting in this chair but Inside I'm standing up"! Not bad, for a little boy! That's exactly the Freedom that has given many Prisoners of War the Power to make it through their Torturous Ordeals.

What Christ came to give us is what the Tyrants of this World Fear the most, namely Power and Freedom, Power and Freedom to be in Possession-of our Inner Selves. That's the Power the 'Thought Police' of any Totalitarian System want to have over us, and never can have because Christ is our King.

There are other Tyrants lurking around today that also want to Own and Control us, Spiritual and Inner Tyrants. Fear is one, Fear filling us with Timidity; along with a Lack of Initiative; Procrastination and Lethargy. It causes us to Withdraw into Defensive Isolation.

Guilt is another of the Tyrants that wants to Control us. Often it is accompanied with a sense that everything is Ruined and Nothing is Good. It leads us to Play the Blame Game, finding Fault in everyone else around us and Demeaning everyone around us.

Hurt and Resentment is another. It causes us to avoid others, to Bury of our Care and Concern for others, to have our own little Pity-parties, along with a sense of Self-Entitlement leading to various forms of Sensual Gratification.

Christ would be King of your Soul but in order to let Him you must Dethrone the False Gods that seek to Own you and Manipulate you. But you must be the Actor, you must Take the Initiative. Christ will not do it all for you, but He will do everything with you. He tells us that with Men, Dethroning these Tyrants is Impossible. But with God, all things are possible, even moving the mountains, both External and Internal, that seek to Crush us.

What a Blessing we have in Christ our King! What a Blessing to be able, with Christ, to Walk in the Glorious Freedom of the Sons and Daughters of God.

 

- End of Homily by Father Charles Irvin -

 

Christ the Pantokrator

by Father Anthony Zimmerman, STD
Professor of Moral Theology

angelbar.gif (3645 bytes)

[Pantokrator - "Ruler of All" or "Sustainer of the World". A Compound Word formed from the Greek for "all" and the Verb meaning "To accomplish something" or "to sustain something" (κρατεω).]

We offer Christ Faint and Inadequate Praise if we Honor Him as the Redeemer Whose function is Reductively Spiritual, but Fail to Recognize Him as Ruler of the Cosmos. We view Christ Narrowly, if in our Small Minds we Consign His Kingship to the Sacristy and Church, but keep Him out of the Marketplace. For He is now King of the Universe, whether He came in Response to the Sin of Adam, or whether He Stood-by to Assist in the Design of the Cosmos in the First Place. In either case, the Cosmos is His from End to End; from Sea to Shining Sea; from Plain to Mountain; from Pole to Pole and around the Circle of the Equator; to Him belong all Government; His are the Workings of the Economy; His the Psychology of the Human Mind; keylock1.gif (10078 bytes) His any True Statistics compiled by Demographers and Sociologists; His is the Art of Medicine insofar as it is not abused by Unprincipled Manipulators of His Creation; He is Master of Culture, of Human Dress and Styles, of the Dance, of Poetry, of Art, of Drama, Entertainment, the Circus, of Tourism, of Diplomacy, even of Just Wars; He has been Active in all Human History which belongs to Him; His are the Times Past, Present, AND Future; His is the Key which Opens the Door when Men Pass from this World to the Next.

In Principle, we Refrain from Coercing People to Practice the True Religion; but we also recognize the Principle that both Church and State belong Equally to Christ. To do Justice and Honor to Christ, we must Endeavor to Help Him shape the State to Conform Freely to His Eternal Laws. Individuals, Families, Nations, the United Nations, Village Earth - all owe their existence to Christ, all are Obliged to Obey Him, to keep His Laws, and to Conform themselves to Truth. Individuals are bound to do this Individually; Collectivities are also bound to do this Collectively. For Christ is not our Redeemer only; He is the Pantokrator, the Almighty Ruler of the Cosmos, the One "through Whom (God) First Created the Universe" Who "sustains all things by His Powerful Word" (Hebrews 1:2,3).

 

- End of Homily by Father Anthony Zimmerman -

 

Audio Clip on
Christ the King


by Father Paul Hinnebusch, O.P., STM