This weekend the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, more popularly known as the Feast of Christ the King. To help you prepare, we’re sharing ten of Bishop Barron’s best homilies on Christ the King. Enjoy!
At the end of the liturgical year, we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. But Christ’s kingship is different from any with which we’re familiar – his kingdom “does not belong to this world.” His kingship doesn’t demand violence, but truth. Following him brings us closer to God’s grace.
The new translation of the Roman Missal is more fit for the celebration of the liturgy because it helps us address Christ in language befitting a King.
Christ’s kingship cannot be properly understood outside Israel’s expectations for the Messiah. Jesus of Nazareth fulfills these expectations, yet in surprising and unexpected ways.
Our first reading for Mass this Sunday is taken from the opening chapter of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. There is no stronger statement of the absolute primacy, centrality, and importance of Jesus Christ in the entire New Testament. Jesus, Paul tells us, is the beginning and the end, the icon of the invisible God, the one in whom all things exist and for whom they are destined. And then the Gospel shows us this cosmic King nailed to the cross. This wonderful irony is at the heart of the Christian proclamation: the King of the Universe is a crucified criminal, who utterly spends himself in love.
The final Sunday of the Liturgical year is dedicated to Christ the King. One of the earliest forms of Christian proclamation was “Jesus is Lord.” This was meant to be provocative, since Caesar was customarily described as Lord of the world. The first Christians were saying that Jesus is the one who must in every sense command, direct, and order our lives. Is Jesus truly the King of your life? That’s the hard question which this feast raises.
Christ is indeed King, but an odd one. For he reigns, not from a throne, but from a cross, and he is crowned, not with laurel leaves, but with a ring of thorns. What this feast teaches us is the meaning of true power. The power that creates the cosmos is not domination, but rather self-forgetting and self-sacrificing love.
It is extraordinarily significant that the liturgical year ends with the feast of Christ the King. For this great fact—that Jesus Christ is the king of the world—is indeed the culmination of the biblical revelation. It is, in a very real sense, the point of the whole story the Bible is telling.
When Israel begins to long for a new David, the true David and true king of the world, we witness the longing for God. Jesus Christ is precisely this king: the Davidic king, and God ruling his creation. His ministry reveals the nature of his kingship, from the manger to the cross.
The liturgical year ends with the feast of Christ the King. This day reminds us what the Christian thing is all about: that Jesus really is the king, the Lord of our lives; that we belong utterly to him; and that we can say, with St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”
We celebrate, as the very last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Solemnity of Christ the King. Think perhaps of the way that a king would come last in a great formal procession: so this feast comes as the culminating moment of the Church year.What I should like to do in this sermon is to explore three dimensions of Christ’s kingship, one inspired by each of our three readings for today so that we might marvel at the sublimity of what a strange and surprising king he is.