Feast of Christ the King
Sunday, November 26, 2017
11 a.m. mass in ‘The Chapel’ at Windermere on the Mount
1486 Richmond Street, London ON
12:30 p.m. - Reception in the Darryl. J. King Student Life Centre
1:30 p.m. - Student Awards Ceremony in the Joanne and Peter Kenny Theatre
* No mass at 5 p.m.
Staff and faculty are invited to join the procession into mass. Robes available from Erma Jacob.
Some Reflections on King’s Patron – Christ, the King
The feast of Christ the King is King's University College's "patronal" feast. The feast falls every year on the last Sunday of the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time which, this year, happens to fall on November 26. Having a "patron" saint (for practically anyone and anything) is a treasured Catholic tradition and our college, which began its life in 1954 as "Christ the King College," has been associated with this title of Jesus from the very beginning and has been proud that its patron is (to jest: not just this or that saint but, as it were) "the big boss" himself - Jesus Christ, the King.
The feast of Christ the King was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI at a time when the Catholic Church felt threatened by the rise of secularism and other troubling movements such as fascism and communism. In response to that, the pope hoped to emphasize that amidst the various forces struggling to control the destiny of the world, the real sovereign, the authentic ruler, the rightful king was no other than Jesus Christ himself. In 1969, Pope Paul VI, increased the importance of this feast by re-designating it as a "Solemnity." He further amended its official title to "Christ, the King of the Universe." We can see from this history that the "King's" part of our university-college's name is rooted in the Christian belief that Jesus Christ is "the King."
That's clear enough, but on the heels of that is the important question, what sort of king? The title "king," I think, should be linked with the title of "Lord" (Greek, Kyrios; Latin, Dominus) which is attributed to Jesus many times in the New Testament such as the famous line from St. Paul that "Jesus Christ is Lord" in Romans 10:9 and Philippians 2:11. One can say therefore that "Lord" with all its biblical nuances is the more proper title of Jesus.
And "Lord" as it is used in the New Testament does include the meaning 'Jesus is the true sovereign of the world and even of the cosmos' but (and here I'll add an important less frequently cited meaning) 'definitely not in the style of the (Roman) emperor, Caesar' who was called by the same title. Jesus is absolutely not a "king" in the style of Caesar; he does not establish peace and order through coercion and violence (as Caesar did) but through compassion, (distributive) justice, inclusiveness and an option for the weakest, poorest and most vulnerable members of the community. Jesus can only be correctly called king when he is understood as a king who, paradoxically, rules by being a servant characterized by self-sacrifice, love and forgiveness.
And lest there be any confusion about what kind of king Jesus was/is, we should remember that Jesus actually shunned the title during his life because it can be so compromised and misunderstood. John 6:15 portrays Jesus as escaping to a mountain when it seemed like the crowds would force him to be king.
I hope these thoughts put the celebration of Christ the King in a better, more biblically accurate perspective and help all members of the King's community to better emulate the traits of Jesus, the servant-king.
Julius-Kei Kato, PhD
Center for Advanced Research in Catholic Thought (CARCT)