Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Vatican Congregation for the Clergy: Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King

By Vatican Congregation for the Clergy
November 21st, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In his Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente, Blessed John Paul II writes: "here we touch upon the essential point. it is not simply a case of man seeking God, but of God who comes in Person to speak to man of himself and to show him the path by which he may be reached" ( no 6).  In this way Christ, the eternal Word made man, is the full manifestation of the glory of God and the definitive fulfillment of the Father's project for humanity.

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - The celebration of the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King at the end of the liturgical year is like a symphony which celebrates, in its entirety, the mystery of God. 

The liturgical readings announce the kingship of God and his full reign over all reality.  They introduce into the cosmos God's saving power: "I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest - it is the Lord who speaks."  Through the words of the prophet Ezekiel they are introduced into the heart of the faith.

The Lord speaks to humanity, demonstrating his rightful lordship, firstly through the creation.  "Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made," (Romans 1:20). 

Furthermore, the Father has come to meet humanity through his prophets: in fact, "in partial and various ways" he has spoken his word to his people "through his prophets" (Hebrews 1:1).  But the entire creation and all prophecy were orientated towards the fulfillment of God's promise: "I shall look for the lost one. I am going to look after my flock myself."  This promise was realised when, in the fullness of time, God sends his only begotten Son in the flesh.

He is no longer the 'one' who seeks the sheep, caring for them "in the name of God" like the prophets; rather, Jesus Christ is God himself made man.  The Father, in his Son, is now found in the midst of the sheep who had strayed.

In his Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente, Blessed John Paul II writes: "here we touch upon the essential point. it is not simply a case of man seeking God, but of God who comes in Person to speak to man of himself and to show him the path by which he may be reached" ( no 6).  In this way Christ, the eternal Word made man, is the full manifestation of the glory of God and the definitive fulfillment of the Father's project for humanity.

The prophet Ezekiel reveals that the divine condescension towards humanity is shown in the search that the Lord makes for his creatures: "I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong."  In Jesus Christ, God the Father not only speaks to humanity, but he looks for us.  How mysterious is God's attitude towards humanity!

This is what Christianity is: the Father who is in Jesus Christ and the Spirit seeking humanity.  This search has its origins in the inscrutable intimacy of the Holy Trinity.  It has its origins in the decision of the Father to choose every one of us, before the foundation of the world, because we were "to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 1: 4-5). 

"God therefore goes in search of man who is his special possession in a way unlike any other creature. Man is God's possession by virtue of a choice made in love: God seeks man out, moved by his fatherly heart." (John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 7).

Why does God seek humanity?  Because, as the prophet teaches, we "have been scattered during the mist and darkness."  God the Father's search for humanity reaches its culmination in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Through Jesus of Nazareth, the man who has been sought for so long is finally found, the man who was lost for so long is finally brought home, the man who was wounded and sick for so long is healed and cured.  All this rests on the death and resurrection of Christ: "Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ." 

Christ, by dying, has destroyed the true enemy, death.  Rising, he has given us the true life and restored the dignity of humanity's origin.  In Jesus Christ, God has freed us from eternal death: "He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins," (Colossians 1: 13-14), making of us one people who are priests, prophets and kings.

What is the meaning of all this?  That "God will be all in all", as the apostle tells us.

The meaning of it all is that as God remains close to humanity so humanity can remain close to God.  The meaning of the Incarnation of the Son of God is that humanity can participate in the Father's life. 

This is what the Church's liturgy celebrates on this great day: the mystery of the Father who creates everything and who, in the Son, tirelessly seeks out every one of us, so that freed by the redeeming passion of Christ and the gift of the Spirit, each of us can become a participant through the Son in the same life of the Father.

Christ's regality consists in being able to present a redeemed humanity to the Father, and so they can become the sons of God. All of us are reunited in the one Church which is His spouse and His body.  The royal lordship of the Son is fulfilled in this marvelous plan in which we are called to participate right now, becoming ever more like Him, cooperating in the Church to His greater glory, and recognising Him truly and royally present in every one of us.

For this reason it is necessary that even temporal structures (with their legitimate autonomy) are directed by Christians to show the reign of Christ in his world.  The lordship of Christ is not just a spiritual reality.  There must be a real and concrete reign of Christ over and in history, which is visible to society in its own laws and in the knowledge that in everything we do, we will be called to give an account to the one true Lord.

Holy Mary and all the saints, in whom the royal power of Christ has worked miracles, sustain the Church in the difficult and permanent work of restoring all things in Christ the King

Citations
Ez 34,11-12.15-17:   www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9arcaobb.htm 
1Co 15,20-26.28:   www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9asuoao.htm
Mt 25,31-46:    www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9bp5uuy.htm

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)