Viva Cristo Rey!
The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man’s thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ’s royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations.
Today’s Mass establishes the titles for Christ’s royalty over men: 1) Christ is God, the Creator of the universe and hence wields a supreme power over all things; “All things were created by Him”; 2) Christ is our Redeemer, He purchased us by His precious Blood, and made us His property and possession; 3) Christ is Head of the Church, “holding in all things the primacy”; 4) God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as His special possession and dominion.
Today’s Mass also describes the qualities of Christ’s kingdom. This kingdom is: 1) supreme, extending not only to all people 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”. — Rt. Rev. Msgr. Rudolph G. Gandas
Before the reform of the Roman Calendar in 1969, this feast was celebrated on the last Sunday of October.
Read the Bible at Mass
First Reading: 2 Samuel 5:1-3
Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you that led out and brought in Israel; and the LORD said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.
Responsorial: Psalm 122:1-5
R. (cf .1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
which is bound firmly together,
to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Second Reading: Colossians 1:12-20
Brothers and Sisters:
…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Gospel: Luke 23:35-43
And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him,
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Petitions to Our King
A prayer to Christ the King, that can be prayed all year, but especially on the Solemnity at the end of the Liturgical year.
O Jesus Christ, I acknowledge Thee as universal King. All that has been made, has been created for Thee. Exercise all Thy rights over me. I renew my baptismal vows, renouncing Satan, his pomps and his works; and I promise to live as a good Christian. In particular do I pledge myself to labor, to the best of my ability, for the triumph of the rights of God and Thy Church.
Divine Heart of Jesus, to Thee do I proffer my poor services, laboring that all hearts may acknowledge Thy Sacred Kingship, and that thus the reign of Thy peace be established throughout the whole universe. Amen.
Prayer Source: My Catholic Faith: A Manual of Religion by Most Rev. Louis Laravoire Morrow, S.T.D., My Mission House, 1965
Almighty and merciful God, you break the power of evil and make all things new in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe. May all in heaven and earth acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Novena to Christ the King
Recite One Our Father, One Hail Mary and One Glory Be per day followed by the Novena Prayer:
O Lord our God, You alone are the Most Holy King and Ruler of all nations.
We pray to You, Lord, in the great expectation of receiving from You, O Divine King, mercy, peace, justice and all good things.
Protect, O Lord our King, our families and the land of our birth.
Guard us we pray Most Faithful One.
Protect us from our enemies and from Your Just Judgment
Forgive us, O Sovereign King, our sins against you.
Jesus, You are a King of Mercy.
We have deserved Your Just Judgment
Have mercy on us, Lord, and forgive us.
We trust in Your Great Mercy.
O most awe-inspiring King, we bow before You and pray;
May Your Reign, Your Kingdom, be recognized on earth.
via EWTN: Novena.
Litany to Christ the King
Lord, have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us, Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.God, our Heavenly Father, Who has made firm for all ages your Son’s Throne, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Jesus, our Victim-High Priest, True Prophet, and Sovereign King, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, poured out upon us with abundant newness, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, Three Persons yet One God in the Beauty of Your Eternal Unity, Have mercy on us.
O Jesus, our Eternal King, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, Most Merciful King, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, extending to us the Golden Scepter of Your Mercy, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, in Whose Great Mercy we have been given the Sacrament of Confession, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, Loving King Who offers us Your Healing Grace, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, our Eucharistic King, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, the King foretold by the prophets, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King of Heaven and earth, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King and Ruler of All Nations, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, Delight of the Heavenly Court, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Most Compassionate toward Your subjects, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King from Whom precedes all authority, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, in whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, we are One, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Whose Kingdom is not of this world, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Whose Sacred Heart burns with Love for all mankind, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who has given us Mary, the Queen, to be our dear Mother, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who will come upon the clouds of Heaven with Power and Great Glory, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Whose Throne we are to approach with confidence, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who made Mary the Mediatrix of All Graces, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who made Mary Co-Redemptrix, Your partner in the Plan of Salvation, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who desires to heal us of all division and disunity, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King wounded by mankind’s indifference, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who gives the balm of Your Love with which to console Your Wounded Heart, Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who is the Great I AM within us, our Wellspring of Pure Delight, Reign in our hearts.
Jesus, King of All Nations, True Sovereign of all earthly powers, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, subjecting under Your feet forever the powers of hell , May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, the Light beyond all light, enlightening us in the darkness that surrounds us, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose Mercy is so Great as to mitigate the punishments our sins deserve, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, recognized by the Magi as the True King, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, the Only Remedy for a world so ill, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Who blesses with Peace those souls and nations that acknowledge You as True King, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Who Mercifully sends us your Holy Angels to protect us, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose Chief Prince is Saint Michael the Archangel, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Who teaches us that to reign is to serve, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Just Judge Who will separate the wicked from the good, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, before Whom every knee shall bend, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose Dominion is an everlasting Dominion, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Lamb who will Shepherd us, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Who after having destroyed every sovereignty, May we serve You. authority and power, will hand over the Kingdom to Your God and Father,
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose Reign is without end, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose kindness toward us is steadfast, and whose fidelity endures forever, May we serve You.
Eternal Father, Who has given us Your Only Begotten Son, to be our Redeemer, One True Mediator, and Sovereign King, We praise and thank You.Loving Jesus, Sovereign King, Who humbled Yourself for Love of us and took the form of a servant, , We praise and thank You.
Holy Spirit, Third Person of the Trinity, Love of the Father and the Son, Who sanctifies us and gives us Life, We praise and thank You.
Mary, our Queen and Mother, who mediates to Jesus on our behalf, Pray for us.
Mary, our Queen and Mother, through whom all Grace come to us, Pray for us.
Mary, our Queen and Mother, Singular Jewel of the Holy Trinity, We love You.
Holy Angels and Saints of our Divine King, Pray for us and Protect us.
via EWTN: Litanies.
Christ the King as Represented in the Liturgy
The liturgy is an album in which every epoch of Church history immortalizes itself. Therein, accordingly, can be found the various pictures of Christ beloved during succeeding centuries. In its pages we see pictures of Jesus suffering and in agony; we see pictures of His Sacred Heart; yet these pictures are not proper to the nature of the liturgy as such; they resemble baroque altars in a gothic church. Classic liturgy knows but one Christ: the King, radiant, majestic, and divine.
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 in the Temple, 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.
We will overlook further considerations in favor of a glance at the daily Offices. How often do we not begin Matins with an act of royal homage: “The King of apostles, of martyrs, of confessors, of virgins — come, let us adore” (Invit.). Lauds is often introduced with Dominus regnavit, “The Lord is King”. Christ as King is also a first consideration at the threshold of each day; for morning after morning we renew our oath of fidelity at Prime: “To the King of ages be honor and glory.” Every oration is concluded through our Mediator Christ Jesus “who lives and reigns forever.” Yes, age-old liturgy beholds Christ reigning as King in His basilica (etym.: “the king’s house”), upon the altar as His throne.
Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Things to Do:
- Traditionally there would be a procession for Christ the King on this feast day. The Blessed Sacrament would be carried and the procession would end with a prayer of consecration to Christ the King and Benediction. Try to participate if your parish has a Christ the King procession. If not, try having one at home (minus the Blessed Sacrament).
- Read Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Quas primas (On the Feast of Christ the King) which shows that secularism is the direct denial of Christ’s Kingship.
- Learn more about secularism – read the Annual Statement of the Bishops of the United States released on November 14, 1947.
- Being a relatively newer feast on the Liturgical calendar, there are no traditional foods for this day. Suggested ideas: a wonderful family Sunday dinner, and bake an Easter Cake or King Cake in honor of Christ the King..
- A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who piously recite the Act of Dedication of the Human Race to Jesus Christ King. A plenary indulgence is granted, if it is recite publicly on the feast of our Lord Jesus Christ King.