The Feast of Christ the King is liturgically referred to as The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This feast was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925, through his encyclical, Quas primas, to be celebrated by the Roman Catholic faithful to emphasize the true and actual kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The pope was countering the growing nationalism, atheism, and secularism that was fast spreading at that time. This was majorly ignited by the serious debate about the Roman Question, which was a dispute regarding popes having civil power over a territory.
People wanted to push out religion, Jesus Christ, and his holy law out of civil governance. They wanted to separate government and way of public life from religion.
Therefore the pope saw that this would entrench evil acts and catalyze discord among people and nations. He instituted this solemnity to remind everybody that Christ reigns as King forever but governments rule for a while then go.
The pope’s encyclical came in handy to restore hope in the Christians, amid persecutions by sitting governments, that it is Jesus Christ the King who shall reign forever.
Initially, the feast was celebrated on the last Sunday in the month of October but after the liturgical reforms in 1969, it was moved to the last Sunday of the liturgical year which mostly falls between November 20 and November 26. This is usually the Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent or the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Pope Pius XI consecrated the first parish in the world in honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The King of the Universe in Mount Lookout, Cincinnati, Ohio, in November 1926.
This feast manifests the truth and fact that Jesus Christ has dominion and power over all creatures. Jesus neither usurped nor seized this dominion, but is naturally his.
The Kingship of Christ is grounded upon the fact that Jesus Christ is both true God and true man. He is perfectly divine and perfectly human and exists in these two natures at once (hypostatic union).
Therefore, Christ is to be served, adored, praised, and glorified by men and angels, who must be subject to him and recognize His empire.
Although the religious freedom that we enjoy today entails believing in whatever we want in private but refraining from speaking about it in the public domain, with this feast, the Church reminds us of the power we possess of publicly proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the King of the entire universe.
The liturgical vestments for The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe is white as it is a solemnity.
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