Christ the King is the name of the parish where I grew up in Des Moines, IA. It’s actually a fairly simple church with a brick exterior and a wooden beam interior. The stained glass windows have a block pattern, but do not depict any stories of the saints. Rather, than a crucifix, the risen Jesus comes with outstretched arms from the cross declaring I am Christ the King. I come to you through this most Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of your life. I am the beginning and the end. The Alpha and the Omega.
In this humble church, I received my first Confession, my first Holy Eucharist, the sacrament of Confirmation and Marriage.
I attended weekly school Masses here and Sunday Mass with my family. All the while, having little understanding that these acts where the centrality to my life’s purpose. As an adult, Christ the King now calls me to evangelization through this feast day and the seeds planted in my life at this church.
Pope Pius XI, instituted this feast in 1925 with his encyclical Quas Primas (“in the first”) in response to the growing nationalism and secularism. He recognized that these societal ills would breed increasing hostility against the Church. His encyclical reminds the faithful that while the governments and philosophies come and go, Christ reigns as King forever (USCCB).
Throughout history, in 1925 as well as today, the Church has had her struggles, yet Christ continually guides her through his kingship.
The Catechism states, “The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church (CCC 2105).
Pope Francis stated in his homily on the Solemnity of Christ the King, November 24, 2013,
“Jesus is the center of creation, and so the attitude demanded of us as true believers is that of recognizing and accepting in our lives the centrality of Jesus Christ, in our thoughts in our words and in our works.”
During Mass, when the priest prays the Doxology “Through him, and with him and in him, O God almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,” I now know that the seeds planted in my younger days through the sacraments continue to imbue my whole life to go and share the greatness of Christ the King.