WE WANT CHRIST TO REIGN!
That must be our anthem. We need Him to reign over us more than ever! In 1925 when Pope Pius XI instituted this feast (in Quas Primas), the world was in upheaval, just as it might seem today. This feast was a major finger in the eye of the up and coming Fascist governments that were setting themselves up as the ultimate powers in the world.
The Jewish people were waiting for a king to rule them on the earth. This Messiah would overthrow the Roman Empire and oppressive regimes. The Jewish people were not waiting for some hippy or home boy to come along.
This King was different. He was born in a manger, kings came to adore Him when He was born. He does not deny his kingship when He stands before Pilate. Pilate, a pagan, is forced to acknowledge the truth that Jesus is King—Pilate doesn’t fully understand it. When the good thief turns to our Lord on the cross, He promises that today they will meet in paradise.
His Kingdom is not of this earth—it lasts forever.
His Kingdom is eternal and universal. It is a kingdom of holiness, grace, justice, love, and peace. This great king went to such lengths in order to make you and I His heirs. No sin is too big for Him; the only thing too big is our own refusal to allow Him to reign over us. He doesn’t force our hand. I don’t know about you, but I have never died and returned in a glorified body, so I will trust the one who has done just that.
His Kingdom is in this world, however. He is raised up, on a cross. He wears a crown of thorns. Now he reigns gloriously in Heaven and will come at the end of time to judge the living and the dead. This glorious reality is seen in the beauty of the liturgy. This is why the closer we get to the Eucharist, the more precious the vessels and the vestments should be.
He invites us to accept His reign over our lives. We cannot pick and choose how we follow Him. If He is king, that means you and I are not the King. We don’t make up the rules. We cannot be Cafeteria Catholics. We do not change the terms. Our Faith has implications in our lives. We must allow Christ to form our conscience through the clear teaching of the Church. Those lighthouse CDs can be very helpful for this.
Every kingdom has boundaries and and a visible presence. We see this in the Church, where he remains with us in the Sacraments and moral teaching. Even having Judas in His midst did not change His mind. We have experienced wolves in sheep clothing in the Church, but that does not change the fact that Christ is King and He remains with us.
This is a King who calls us to be free from the reign of this world, from the reign of sin and death. Free from the reign of disordered passions. He raises us up to make us heirs of this kingdom that lasts forever. So many turn to kings of other kinds, and the result is never good. The kings of addiction, vice, sin he conquers. This king conquers and reigns with a force more powerful: love. He beckons each of us to respond. An encounter with God is to have an encounter with a person: Jesus of Nazareth. As He tells Pilate, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
If we wish to share in this inheritance of this eternal and glorious King, we must allow Him to truly be King. He conquers sin especially in confession. He reigns over us in the Blessed Sacrament. Do we even acknowledge this or do we completely ignore Him? Can we watch hours and hours of television, and watch and attend sports, but where do prayer and confession come in? Are they after thoughts? Are we afraid that “God could never forgive me” or that “I can’t stop falling into this sin, so I won’t even bother”? We should immediately hear the voice of the Holy Spirit instead: “his kingship shall not be destroyed.” Nothing is more powerful than the love of God. NOTHING. Come back to confession. Make it a regular part of your life of faith—every month.
After we have tried every other thing and still find that emptiness, we know that nothing and nobody can give us what Christ offers. I know this from my own experience.
In 1927 a 36 year old man stretched out his arms in the form of the cross. He had refused the blindfold as he faced the firing squad. His trumped up crime was that he attempted to assassinate the president of Mexico, but his real crime was that he was an ambassador of the true king. He was a Catholic priest who had labored to the point of exhaustion bringing the sacraments to people and assisting the poor. As he was about to be shot, Father Miguel Pro shouted out “Long live Christ the King!” In one hand was a crucifix, and the other was a rosary. He had great freedom laboring in the kingdom—as his death was approaching, he told somebody that if he met any sad saints in heaven he would cheer them up with a Mexican hat dance. The saints are free from the reign of sin and death, because they allow Christ to reign in their lives.
Our lives must be formed by the cross, for the heirs of the king share in His life—the resurrection is the fruit of the cross. Confession, the Blessed Sacrament—great and powerful ways to allow Christ to have true reign over our lives. Do not listen to the voice of the devil who tries his best to keep us away from our Lord in the Sacraments. The rosary is the great prayer of Mary, the Queen Mother, who has powerful sway over her son the King. We must be armed with this great weapon as we fight the spiritual battle of daily life. Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.