Solemnity of Christ the King (Year B): Gospel – John 18:33b-37
Under Pilate’s interrogation, Jesus declares that He does indeed have a Kingdom — not to be understood in the crass sense that the world knows, but an eternal, transcendent Kingdom.
Although not reduced to a political entity, the Kingdom nevertheless should break into, and transform, our culture and society, our political and economic systems. As the Lord told Pilate, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.”
In so far as we hear the Lord’s voice, and embrace His Kingdom, we will be formed by the Gospel truth. And as a direct result, we will shape our societies in accordance with this Truth, Christ Himself.
But if we fail to heed the Lord’s voice, and grow distant from His Kingdom, we will lose our grasp of the truth. We fall prey to other modes of thought that lead us further from the Lord, under the guise of apparent goods. But instead of simply espousing tolerance, we can slide into indifferentism, or even an outright secularism that rejects any presence of faith in the public square.
In 1925, Pope Pius XI was gravely concerned about the pervasive secularism at the root of the modern world’s problems. The Pontiff accordingly established the Feast of Christ the King, to emphasize the significance of Our Lord’s sovereignty over all.
In his encyclical Quas Primas, he wrote that “men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ” (1):
That these blessings may be abundant and lasting in Christian society, it is necessary that the kingship of our Savior should be as widely as possible recognized and understood, and to the end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ (21).
If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by His Precious Blood, are by a new right subjected to His dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from His empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts….He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls….If all these truths are presented to the faithful for their consideration, they will prove a powerful incentive to perfection (33).
Question for reflection: How might I work to advance Christ’s kingdom?