On the last Sunday of each liturgical year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, or Christ the King. Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 with his encyclical Quas primas (“In the first”) to respond to growing secularism and atheism. He recognized that attempting to “thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law” out of public life would result in continuing discord among people and nations. This solemnity reminds us that while governments come and go, Christ reigns as King forever.
The Church calls us to acknowledge Christ’s kingship with our whole lives: 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.’ -Quas primas, 33
Today, religious freedom for many people means that we can believe whatever we want in private, but when we enter the public square or the marketplace, we may not speak of anything that relates to our faith. However, the Church acknowledges the reign of Christ, not only privately, but publicly. This solemnity encourages us the celebrate and live out our faith in public. “Thus by sermons preached at meetings and in churches, by public adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed and by solemn processions, men unite in paying homage to Christ, whom God has given them for their King” (Quas primas, 26). (taken from USCCB)
So, let us unite with one another and celebrate this great Feast Day and acknowledge that Christ is King in our lives, our hearts, our minds, and pray for the day that Christ the King will be King of all Nations!