Our hearts are filled with inestimable joy as we celebrated the feast of Christ the King. It was Pope Pius XI who instituted this feast in 1925 in his encyclical QuasPrimas as an antidote to secularism, the rise of dictatorship and the people’s lack of respect for Christ’s reign and kingship. Thus, in the encyclical the Pope teaches that: Leaders and nations are bound to give respect to Christ (QuasPrimas, 31), nations must see that the Church has the right to freedom and immunity from the state (QuasPrimas, 32), the faithful must gain strength and courage from this celebration as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies (QuasPrimas, 33).
Above all these, the Holy Father teaches that the feast of Christ the King proclaims in a striking and effective manner Christ’s royalty over the whole universe. This royalty of Christ, so proclaimed, stems from the truth that he is God, the creator of the universe and wields a supreme power over all things since in him all things were created ( Col 1:6). He is our redeemer, who purchased us by his precious blood and made us his property and possession –we all belong to him and not to the devil or the world. God has bestowed upon him the nations of the world as his possession – hence, He is King and Lord of All. In addition to all these, the feast proclaims that Christ’s kingdom is supreme, universal, eternal and spiritual.
The supremacy of Christ’s kingdom implies that it extends not only to peoples but also to their kings and queens, princes and princesses because he is King of kings and Lord of lords. The universality of his kingdom means that it extends to all nations and to all places because the Lord’s is the earth and the fullness therein (Psalm 24:1), his kingdom is eternal- for the Lord shall sit as King forever because, in the words of the angel Gabriel “his kingdom will have no end” (Lk 1:32-33)), and his kingdom is spiritual because he himself said “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn. 18:36).
In the knowledge of this, we call out to the whole world in this celebration to proclaim glory, praise and honour be to thee, ‘Christ our King.’ My dear brothers and sisters, looking at the happenings around us today, we observe the obvious coronation of secularism, dictatorship by world leaders, gay culture, apparent death of the marriage institution, and complete loss of the sense of the sacred. In some countries of the world, Churches, monasteries, seminaries and convents have been leased or sold out while others have been converted to cinemas. While the casinos, pubs, clubs, stadiums and beaches are crowded to a point of stampede, many churches are empty and are closing down.
• Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos.