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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Christ The King Sunday












This Sunday is the last Sunday of the church year. Next Sunday is the beginning of Advent ans is the fist Sunday of the new church year. For many the last Sunday of the church year is known as, Christ The King Sunday. I want to share the history of this day and some information about it.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Christ the King, a detail from the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck.Christ the King is a title of Jesus based on several passages of Scripture and used by all Christians. Many denominations, including Catholics, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and some Lutherans and Methodists, celebrate, in honour of Christ under this title, the Feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, before a new year begins with the First Sunday of Advent (the earliest date of which is 27 November). The Feast of Christ the King is thus on the Sunday that falls between 20 and 26 November, inclusive (however, the Catholic calendar of pre-Vatican II had this feast on the last Sunday of October).


The name is found in various forms in scripture: King Eternal (1 Timothy 1:17), King of Israel (John 1:49), King of the Jews (Mt. 27:11), King of kings (1 Tim 6:15; Rev. 19:16), King of the Ages (Book of Revelation 15:3) and Ruler of the Kings of the Earth (Rev. 1:5).

The ideological movement of Christ's Kingship was addressed in the encyclical Quas Primas of Pope Pius XI, published in 1925, which has been called "possibly one of the most misunderstood and ignored encyclicals of all time." The Pontiff's encyclical quotes with approval Cyril of Alexandria, noting that Jesus' Kingship is not obtained by violence: "'Christ,' he says, 'has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence nor usurped, but his by essence and by nature.'"

Pope Benedict XVI has remarked that Christ's Kingship is not based on "human power" but on loving and serving others. The perfect exemplar of that acceptance, he pointed out, is the Virgin Mary. Her humble and unconditional acceptance of God's will in her life.


You can read the encyclical of Pope Pius XI here:
QUAS PRIMAS (On the Feast of Christ the King)
Pope Pius XI





Here are the scripture readings for this Sunday:
Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
Psalm 23:1-3, 5-6
1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
Matthew 25:31-46


Take some time today and read these passages of scripture and see what you can learn about Christ as King.


A Catholic source said it this way:

Sunday's Mass also describes the qualities of Christ's kingdom. This kingdom is: 1) supreme, extending not only to all peoples but also to their princes and kings; 2) universal, extending to all nations and to all places; 3) eternal, for "The Lord shall sit a King forever"; 4) spiritual, Christ's "kingdom is not of this world".
With an ever-growing desire, all Advent awaits the "coming King"; in the chants of the breviary we find repeated again and again the two expressions "King" and "is coming." On Christmas the Church would greet, not the Child of Bethlehem, but the Rex Pacificus — "the King of peace gloriously reigning." Within a fortnight, there follows a feast which belongs to the greatest of the feasts of the Church year -- the Epiphany. As in ancient times oriental monarchs visited their principalities (theophany), so the divine King appears in His city, the Church; from its sacred precincts He casts His glance over all the world....On the final feast of the Christmas cycle, the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, holy Church meets her royal Bridegroom with virginal love: "Adorn your bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ your King!" The burden of the Christmas cycle may be summed up in these words: Christ the King establishes His Kingdom of light upon earth!

If we now consider the Easter cycle, the luster of Christ's royal dignity is indeed somewhat veiled by His sufferings; nevertheless, it is not the suffering Jesus who is present to the eyes of the Church as much as Christ the royal Hero and Warrior who upon the battlefield of Golgotha struggles with the mighty and dies in triumph. Even during Lent and Passiontide the Church acclaims her King. The act of homage on Palm Sunday is intensely stirring; singing psalms in festal procession we accompany our Savior singing: Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe, "Glory, praise and honor be to Thee, Christ, O King!" It is true that on Good Friday the Church meditates upon the Man of Sorrows in agony upon the Cross, but at the same time, and perhaps more so, she beholds Him as King upon a royal throne. The hymn Vexilla Regis, "The royal banners forward go," is the more perfect expression of the spirit from which the Good Friday liturgy has arisen. Also characteristic is the verse from Psalm 95, Dicite in gentibus quia Dominus regnavit, to which the early Christians always added, a ligno, "Proclaim among the Gentiles: the Lord reigns from upon the tree of the Cross!" During Paschal time the Church is so occupied with her glorified Savior and Conqueror that kingship references become rarer; nevertheless, toward the end of the season we celebrate our King's triumph after completing the work of redemption, His royal enthronement on Ascension Thursday.

Neither in the time after Pentecost is the picture of Christ as King wholly absent from the liturgy. Corpus Christi is a royal festival: "Christ the King who rules the nations, come, let us adore" (Invit.). In the Greek Church the feast of the Transfiguration is the principal solemnity in honor of Christ's kingship, Summum Regem gloriae Christum adoremus (Invit.). Finally at the sunset of the ecclesiastical year, the Church awaits with burning desire the return of the King of Majesty.
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> posted by Trevor Hammack at

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