Monday, November 25, 2013
I am grateful to Michael for noting yesterday's Feast of Christ the King. In my experience, preachers in Catholic parishes don't know quite what to do with this Feast. Usually, the day's "message" or "theme" has been (again, in my experience) somewhat privatized, and homilists have tried to translate the idea of Christ's "kingship" into (something like) the importance of making sure that our lives are not ruled by other gods and that we commit to "putting Jesus first in our lives" (and, certainly, we should).
And yet . . . especially in light of the current (and much needed) focus in the Church on religious liberty and the realities of both aggressive secularism and persecution, it's worth (re-)reading Quas Primas, the encyclical of Pope Pius XI that instituted the feast day in 1925, and remembering that this institution's purpose sounded more in political theology than in personal piety and devotion. This Feast is, among other things, a reminder that government is not all, that there are things which are not Caesar's, and that everything, in the end, is "under God.
This one-page bulletin insert, "That He Would Reign in Our Hearts," put out this year by the USCCB, does a good job, I think, of tying together the "public" and "private" dimensions of the Feast.
Viva Cristo Rey!