The Archdiocese of Birmingham - The Parish of the Immaculate Conception

All times, all seasons obey your laws - the Solemnity of Christ the King.

This feast marks the end of the Church’s year and, although this is not liturgical, it is also celebrated as Youth Sunday. It gives us an occasion to reflect on the role that Jesus plays as the King of all creation, as the King of our society, be that our world, our country, our Church, our school, our family and so on, and finally the role that Jesus plays as King of ourselves as individuals. Is he really the most important thing in our lives or are their other distractions?

Christ’s Kingship is summarised in the beautiful Preface for the Feast addressed to God the Father: “You anointed Jesus Christ, your only Son, with the oil of gladness, as the eternal priest and universal king. As priest he offered his life on the altar of the cross and redeemed the human race by this one perfect sacrifice of peace. As king he claims dominion over all creation, that he may present to you, his almighty Father, an eternal and universal kingdom: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.”

This feast is the most recent in honour of the Lord and was created as recently as 1925 by the Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI “Quas primas”, although the idea of Christ as King is much older – think of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday when Jesus is acclaimed as a king by the crowd, or of the prayer used on Holy Saturday when the Paschal Candle is being prepared to be lit for the first time: “Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, all time belongs to him, and all the ages, to him be glory and power through every age for ever.” In the Lord’s Prayer we ask Jesus that His Kingdom may come and that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Coming as it does just before the start of Advent, the theme of this feast nicely dove-tails with the theme of the coming season when we reflect on the coming of Christ at the end of time when He will reclaim His kingdom and hand all creation back to the Father.