In the Novus Ordo calendar, this Sunday – the last of the liturgical year – is the solemnity of Christ the King. In the traditional calendar we celebrated Christ the King on the last Sunday of October. There is an Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that can and should be recited in every parish.
It could be done immediately after Mass. There is a plenary indulgence available.
Speaking of last things, throughout November we also consider the Four Last Things: death, judgment, heaven and hell, and we pray for the Poor Souls in purgatory.
Each year Holy Church presents to us the history of salvation, from Creation to the Lord’s Coming (His First and also His Final). Sunday’s solemnity anticipates the joyfully penitential season of Advent, which focuses on different ways in which the Lord comes to us, especially in the Second Coming.
In the great Dies Irae prayed at Requiem Masses, Christ is identified as “King of Fearful Majesty” and “Just Judge”. Sunday’s Solemnity underscores that Christ will come as King and Judge, not as friend, teacher or optional role model. Christ Jesus will judge us all, dear friends, and submit all things to the Father (cf 1 Corinthians 15:28).
Having excluded some from His presence, our King will reign in majestic glory with “the many” who accepted His gifts and thereby merited eternal bliss.
Consider Sunday’s feast in light of 2 Peter 3: 10-12:
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire!
Not exactly hugs and fluffy bunnies for everyone.
This time of year reminds the Christian that the perfection of this world will not be accomplished by mere human efforts. Christ is the king of history. Our expectation of the parousia, the Second Coming, puts tension and strength into our hands as we live our vocations, praying Maranatha! “Come, Lord!” with all that we do.
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