Nov 09, SPI Newsletter: On November 22, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King in which we recognize the all-embracing authority of Christ as King and Lord of the cosmos. In 1925, Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King which was initially celebrated on the last Sunday of October. However, since the calendar reforms of 1969, the feast now falls on the last Sunday of Ordinary Time, which is also the Sunday before Advent. It is fitting that the feast celebrating Christ’s kingship is observed right before Advent, when we liturgically wait for the promised Messiah (King).
Unlike secular royalty, Christ’s kingship is one of humility and service. Jesus said:
“You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.
For the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45).
When Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?”... Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (John 18:33b, 36-37).
Thus, Jesus knew the oppressive nature of secular kings, and in contrast to them, he connected his role as king to humble service and commands us to be servants as well. While earthly rulers reign from a raised, royal seat, it is a great paradox that Jesus reigns from the cross. While Christ is coming to judge the nations, his teachings spell out a kingdom of justice and judgment balanced with radical love, mercy, peace, and forgiveness. Because Jesus “endured the cross, disregarding its shame, (he) has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2). When we celebrate Christ as King, we celebrate a king that gives us true freedom, a king willing to die for humanity and whose “loving-kindness endures forever.”
Catechists wishing to present a lesson on the Feast of Christ the King are reminded that the liturgical color of the feast is white. It is appropriate to place a crown of thorns on your prayer table or other prominent place during your opening prayer. A craft idea appropriate for most grade levels is as follows:
Using 12" x 18" strips of yellow construction paper, have students cut out triangles along one edge making points of a crown. Students write the words, “I show my love for Christ our King by…” on the paper and complete the sentence. Encourage your students to try to be specific in naming the ways they honor Christ’s kingship through their words and actions. Staple each paper into the shape of a crown.
Encourage students to bring their crowns home and invite other family members to add to the crown their own promises for honoring Jesus as King. The crown can be used as a centerpiece for the dining table. Then on Christmas, families can use the crown to top their tree, celebrating our newborn King.
By Christi Disher
Nov 09, SPI Newsletter: