Sunday 25 November: Feast of Christ the King

This Sunday the Church celebrates the Feast of Christ, the universal King, to whom the Cathedral in our diocese is dedicated. It is appropriate that we celebrate this Solemnity as we approach Advent, the season in which we wait in anticipation for the coming of the Messiah, our Saviour and King.

The readings today for the Mass speak of the everlasting kingdom of Christ as a kingdom of love. God loved us first, and it is for this reason that he gave us Jesus Christ as our Saviour and King. Through his suffering, death and resurrection, Jesus revealed the depth of his love for the human race, radically redefining the meaning of kingship. He is the humble king and faithful servant who loves us unconditionally, displaying this everlasting love by his sacrifice on the Cross. Each time we take part in the Eucharistic celebration, we can thank Jesus as our loving king, for giving us the bread of life, for through the gift of the Eucharist he renews us in his love, and invites us into an authentic friendship with him and each other as his beloved sons and daughters.

Speaking at the Vigil Mass in the Cathedral, Bishop Smith drew on the values of Christ’s kingdom, as described in the Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace. “Each of these descriptive words” the Bishop said “places before us the way to build up God’s kingdom.  But they provide a challenge to our conventional way of living.  A kingdom of truth and love requires us to reject all that manipulates the truth or gives false witness to the truth.  On the contrary, Christ’s way of justice, love and peace is exemplified for us by his personal witness to the truth on the Cross.”

Pope Benedict invites us to reflect on the kingship of love in Christ during the Year of Faith:

Let us make a journey to reinforce or rediscover the joy of faith, in the knowledge that it is not something extraneous, detached from daily life, but is its soul. Faith in a God who is love, who makes himself close to us by incarnating himself and by giving himself on the Cross, who saves us and opens the doors of Heaven to us once again, clearly indicates that our fullness consists solely in love.

This must be unequivocally reasserted today, when the cultural transformations under way frequently display so many forms of barbarity, passed off as “conquests of civilization”. Faith affirms that there is no true humanity except in the places, actions, times and forms in which the human being is motivated by the love that comes from God.

(Pope Benedict XVI, 17 October 2012)