As we move toward the holy season of Advent, in which we prepare for our King, Christ Jesus, we must remember the feast of Christ the King. Jesus Christ is King by virtue of His role in Creation; All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:3) The feast day seems to be an unofficial beginning of the holiday season. It was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925, to remind Catholics (and the world generally) that Jesus Christ is Lord of the Universe, both as God and as Man. Pius XI announced the feast in his encyclical Quas Primas, which was delivered on December 11, 1925. At the end of the encyclical, he declared that he expected three "blessings" to flow from the celebration of the feast: first, that "men will doubtless be reminded that the Church, founded by Christ as a perfect society, has a natural and inalienable right to perfect freedom and immunity from the power of the state"; second, that "Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ"; and third, that "The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal."
In Quas Primas, Pius XI established the celebration of the feast "on the last Sunday of the month of October—the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints." He tied it to All Saints Day because "before celebrating the triumph of all the Saints, we proclaim and extol the glory of him who triumphs in all the Saints and in all the Elect." With the revision of the Church's liturgical calendar in 1969, however, Pope Paul VI moved the Feast of Christ the King to the final Sunday of the liturgical year—that is, the last Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent. As such, it is a moveable feast; the date changes every year. The Feast of Christ the King, celebrated on the last Sunday of Ordinary Time, this year being Sunday 21st November, serves to remind us of his love. We are urged not to lose our perspective. Through the power of love, we can effect change in our world and continue to create a life filled with forgiveness and mercy in a world where justice and peace reign supreme.
In 1970 its Roman Rite observance was moved to the final Sunday of Ordinary Time. The earliest date on which it can occur is 20 November and the latest is 26 November.
The Feast of Christ the King establishes the titles for Christ’s royalty over humankind;
Christ is God, the Creator of the universe who has power over all things
Christ is our Redeemer, we are saved by his precious blood
Christ is the Head of the Church
God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as his possession and dominion
The Feast of Christ the King also describes the qualities of Christ’s kingdom;
God’s Kingdom is supreme, extending to all people
God’s Kingdom is universal, extending to all places and nations
God’s Kingdom is Eternal, it shall be forever
God’s Kingdom is spiritual, it is not of this world
While the encyclical that established this feast was addressed to Catholic bishops, Pope Pius XI wanted this feast to impact the laity.
“The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. 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, which should spurn natural desires and 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.”
Through the remembrance of this feast we can become, much like the original Apostles, extensions of the ministry of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must prepare for our King in order to spread His message.