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Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Christ the King

Solemnity Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

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.


Mass Readings

First Reading

As the visions during the night continued, I saw one like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.
— Daniel 7:13-14

Responsorial Psalm

The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
And he has made the world firm, not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old; from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed;
holiness befits your house, O LORD, for length of days.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
— Psalms 93:1, 1-2, 5

Second Reading

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us an The d has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him. All the peoples of the earth will lament him. Yes. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, ” says the Lord God, “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.
— Revelations 1:5-8


Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
— John 18:33B-37


Do you know the word ‘Maranatha’? Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t: it is an Aramaic word. Aramaic was the language that Jesus spoke. Depending on how you pronounce it, it means “Come, Lord!” (marana-tha) or ‘The Lord is come’ (maran-atha).

‘Maranatha’ was an early Christian prayer for the return of Christ. St Paul used it in 1 Cor. 16:22. It also occurs in Rev. 22:20,21: “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Maranatha! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen.” Those are the closing words of the New Testament. In 1883 an early Christian book called the Didachè was discovered, which caused immense excitement; it was written in the first century, and was an unexpected glimpse into the early days of the Christian faith. Among other things it contains an account of the Mass. I quote a small part. Look out for the word maranatha.

Lord, remember your Church; deliver it from evil, perfect it in your love, sanctify it, and gather it from the four winds into the kingdom you have prepared for it.

Response: Yours is the power and the glory for ever and ever!

Let Grace [Jesus] come, and this present world pass away.

Response: Hosanna to the God of David!

Whoever is holy, let them approach. Whoever is not, let them repent.

Response: Maranatha. Amen.

Did they say maran-atha, or marana-tha? Either would make sense, and the Christian faith needs both senses. The kingdom of God is here and simultaneously it is yet to come; it is present but not completed.

The gospels tell us that “the kingdom of God is among you” (Lk 17:21). They also say that it is still to come: in the Our Father we say “May your kingdom come!” (Mt 6:10).

The kingdom of God is already here in the sense that Jesus lives within and among us now. But we know also that his presence is obscured by the continued presence of evil in the world. Individuals and institutions are very far from being aligned on the will of God, and so the kingdom is incomplete. St Paul imagines Christ eventually handing over a perfect kingdom to God his Father (1 Cor. 15:24), but since it is not yet perfect, his ultimate triumph is delayed. Origen (b. 185 A.D.) wrote the following: “Christ said, ‘I will not drink wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in the kingdom of my Father.’ For as long as we fail to rise to his level he cannot drink this wine all alone…. We delay his joy. Until I hand over my life to the Father his life is not fully handed over. Without you he cannot receive his full glory. Without you: that is, without his people, who are his body and his limbs.”

We are more inclined to think of the kingdom as still to come: a region beyond the grave. This is reinforced by the phrase ‘kingdom of heaven.’ The situation is even worse in some other languages, such as French and German, where the one word means ‘heaven’ and ‘sky’. We are tempted to think of God’s kingdom as up there somewhere. That phrase ‘kingdom of heaven’ comes from Matthew’s gospel; the other gospels say ‘kingdom of God.’ Matthew was writing specifically for Jews, and Jews did not like to use the name ‘God’, out of respect. Instead, Matthew wrote ‘kingdom of heaven’. But this should not suggest to us that it is somewhere above the clouds. Christ wants to be king here, not king of the clouds.

Readings for the Week

Monday: Dn 1:1-6, 8-20; Dn 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56; Lk 21:1-4
Tuesday: Dn 2:31-45; Dn 3:57-61 Lk 21:5-11
Wednesday: Dn 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28; Dn 3:62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 6; Lk 21:12-19
Thursday: Sir 50:22-24 27; Dn 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11; 1 Cor 1:3-9; Lk 17:11-19
Friday: Dn 7:2-14; Dn 3:75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81; Lk 21:29-33
Saturday: Dn 7:15-27; Dn 3:82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87; Lk 21:34-36