¡Pax et bonum!
This Sunday we say goodbye to Ordinary Time and begin to look forward to a new liturgical year starting in Advent. This Sunday is the Solemnity of Cristo Rey.
In 1925 the Pope ordered this solemn feast to celebrated as a way combatting the atheism that was creeping into the world’s culture and governments. This feast is a reminder that empires rise and fall, trends come and go, human power wanes, but Christ forever remains the one, true King of the Universe!
That’s a reminder we very much need today. We say that a lot about aspects of our religion, that they are “reminders.” A feast day “reminds” us about this, a Bible verse “reminds” us of that. Rosaries are a “reminder” of Mary, a crucifix is a “reminder” of Jesus, etc. But that word, “reminder,” has lost its meaning in our modern world.
The Solemnity of Christ the King is not a “reminder” the way a text message from your husband or wife is a “reminder” to buy milk. We have plenty of “reminders” all around about many different things, important things. Notifications on our phones, emails, notes on the fridge, pictures on our walls, family heirlooms, all of these and more are “reminders” of people, places, and responsibilities. But these reminders are temporary. They are in our mind for a moment and then they pass.
A reminder, the way the world means it, cannot be enough to describe Christ. The “reminders” we find all around us in life remind us of things we have to do, places we’ve been and people we care about. But the “reminders” that come from our holy religion remind us about who we are in God’s eyes and what we are called to do for love of him and our neighbor! These “holy reminders,” like the Solemnity of Christ the King, actually transform us into what we are reminded of!
By Christ’s grace and our faithful obedience, we ourselves become “living reminders” to the world of God’s dominion of love over the entire Universe. We can proclaim “Viva Cristo Rey,” because Christ the King lives through us! You and I and our fellow disciples are the Mystical Body of Christ in this world. Our faithful obedience is nourished and strengthened from heaven by the celebration of the Sacraments especially the Eucharist! That strength becomes a part of us forever and lives through us by the love we give our neighbor.
May we never take these “holy reminders” for granted, but let them continue to transform our hearts. So that you and I and all our brothers and sisters may truly become “living, holy reminders” that Christ is the one, true King of the Universe!
Viva Cristo Rey!
Father Charles Ravert serves as pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Philadelphia.
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