Christ the King
Worthy is the Lamb to receive all honour and glory.
Tomorrow, on the feast of All Saints, we will consider Our Lord Jesus Christ glorified amidst the assembly of all the saints of the heavenly court, contemplating how that glorious reign will last for all eternity. By the grace of God, it is to that triumphal celebration that we are marching. Today, we proclaim with the full conviction of our minds and hearts, that Jesus Christ reigns already, here and now, on this earth, in our hearts. He is King, and to Him we pay our homage, prostrating ourselves before Him with love and sincere affection.
It is essential however to remind ourselves that the reason this feast was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 was to profess our faith in the social kingship of Jesus. This feast is not primordially about the reign of Jesus in Heaven for all eternity. We consider that in its inception on the feast of the Ascension, and on the feast of All Saints when He is surrounded with the crown of all the elect. Today, the Church professes loud and clear that Christ reigns on earth, in our societies. His reign is meant to be established in each of our hearts where we must prepare a bridal chamber for Him, a loving space where He can have dominion over all the faculties of our mind, soul and body, giving us to live holy lives in accordance with the moral law. But that reign of Christ in our soul, in each of our souls, is meant to be visible on this earth, just as His humanity was visible, for the Incarnation of the Son of God continues on earth through the Church. The reign of Jesus Christ must not remain in the privacy of the heart, but it must manifest itself by public profession of faith, both individually and collectively. This is why the Catholic Church has actual church buildings that make manifest the reign of Jesus, edifices that distinguish themselves by their order, beauty, harmony, that lift our minds and hearts to things divine and spiritual. This is why those churches must remain open at all times so that the Christian people can at all times and in all places pay homage to the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
The reign of Christ in the Church, however, is not to be confined to church buildings. Jesus Christ, by the very fact of His incarnation in the flesh, is King and Lord of all things human, and that includes our societies and governments. This is why the State has the sacred duty to not inhibit the action of the true Church of Christ in any way, but rather to protect and promote it, to guarantee to the Church full and complete liberty to worship, to preach, to teach, for that is the mission She has received from Christ himself. Humanity has only one path to salvation. When you lose your way, you have no option but to go back and find the path you lost. So today, we must remind our people, our leaders, our world: there is no answer but Christ. There is no solution to the world’s problems but a return to faith in Him and entrance into His Church. There is no salvation in any concerted human effort that is not based on Christ. For without Him, human attempts at saving the world are always vitiated by egoism and doomed to failure. Indeed, the State also has the grave duty to prevent public crimes or egregiously sinful acts that destroy the moral social order. If it does not, it thereby condones sin and draws down God’s curse instead of His blessing.
A State disregards the rights of Christ and His Church at its own peril, for Christ alone can save it from the ravages of sin and strife. It is commonly taught in our day that, up until the American and French revolutions, the countries of Europe lived under the dark, heavy yoke of religion, but that thanks to the what is called the Enlightenment they were finally freed from the darkness of the Middle Ages. In reality, the rejection of Christ from the public domain has led to catastrophes the magnitude of which even the worst of struggles in the Middle Ages pale in comparison. We need only consider the tens of millions of dead from the revolutionary wars, the Napoleonic wars, the Two World Wars of the last century, the death camps run by Nazis and Communists, the destructions of entire cities by bombing and fire, the ongoing genocide of the unborn, which has now reached its gory climax in the shameless murder and exploitation of innocent baby bodies. Finally, the current oppression of so many people through a global sanitary dictatorship which disregards the most fundamental rights guaranteed by the Natural Law: so many sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance, but which can be traced directly back to the rejection of the reign of Christ the King and His expulsion from the public life of nations.
A society that wants to last and prosper must acknowledge the sovereign rule of the one true God and of Him whom He sent, Jesus Christ. If the State does acknowledge that rule, then takes place what we read in this morning’s hymn at Lauds:
“O Thrice blest city of the Lord/ Wherein Christ rulers without dearth;/Fervently she doth execute /His heavenly edicts to the earth.
No fiery weapon can ever harm/The peace established by Jesus’ hand;/In happiness and unity,/The ranks of Christ secure do stand.
A marriage blest by faith in thee,/Yields virtuous offspring from the womb;/Like seed in fertile soil doth grow,/In virtuous homes do children bloom”
In today’s office we conclude the hymns with the doxology: Glory to Thee, O Lord, who holdest in Thy sway the sceptres of the world. And the Book of Proverbs tells us: the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; whithersoever he will, he shall turn it (Pr 21:10). And so we can be sure that nothing happens that is not allowed by Christ the King for our good. This gives us great consolation to know that the Lord Jesus Christ is in complete control, but it does not dispense us from playing our role in the battle for souls. Each of us is a knight of Christ the King. At His command we speak or remain silent, we march or stand. At His command we are and will remain, and that gives us imperturbable peace.
To fight with Christ is to take blows with Christ. You do not serve a crucified king without taking a few cracks of the whip and shedding some blood. Tomorrow we will meditate more on Christ’s program, the Beatitudes, and the immense cohort of saints who lived according to that program. For today, let’s remember that Christians have been the driving force in the world for the last 2,000 years. The Roman Emperors tried to drown them out in blood, but this tiny minority eventually conquered Rome. In modern times, as more and more fall under the charm of the father of lies and leave the ranks of the Church, those who remain inside her – and I mean really inside, professing the true faith without compromise –, they are the ones whom the enemies of Christ fear. Their tactic, however, is to let sleeping dog lie, for they know that when the true faithful of Christ wake up, they are an invincible power in any part of the world. Why are they invincible? Because they have in them the very power of Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. And because, unlike the Muslim hordes who imposed the faith with the sword, our only sword is the sword of truth, which cuts right through all the lies that deceive the world, and because, disciples of the crucified, we fear no one. A true Christian fears no one. No one at all.
Let us ever keep in mind the final words of today’s Gospel: Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. If you do not hear loud and clear the voice of Christ, then you are not of the truth. If the words of Christ take no hold on you, then you are not of the truth. If you hear them and they slide over you like water on a raincoat, then you are not of the truth. But if you do hear them, if they do touch your heart, if you let them transform you from the inside and take over and start a fire and let it blaze and catch others on fire, then I can assure you, there is no force on earth that will dare to take you on. The enemy will run away scrambling.
The only reason evil triumphs is because the true disciples of Christ are silent. The only reason things have gotten so bad in the last 60 years is because a false spirt of compromise with the world has infected the minds and hearts of too many Catholics. Let us never forget that there is no force in the world like that of those who stand with Jesus Christ the King. The powers that be know that, they know it very well, and that is why they will not dare to take us head on. They will always find ways of turning the real issues aside. And that is why every Christian, every single one, needs to stand up and be counted, and make it clear that when it comes to our faith and all that faith is built on, especially in the realm of the universal moral law and fundamental human rights and duties, we will brook no compromise. Australia is a Christian country and so it will remain. We will not let the enemies of Christ take our Christian heritage from us.
Let us stop believing the lies. Let us open wide to the truth. Only the truth will set us free.