Posté par diaconos le 17 novembre 2021



The feast of Christ the King is a Catholic feast day, established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 with the encyclical Quas primas, to emphasise the idea that nations must obey the laws of Christ. It was originally celebrated on the last Sunday in October before All Saints’ Day, and is still celebrated in the Tridentine form of the Roman rite. Since the 1969 liturgical reform, Catholics celebrate it on the last Sunday of the liturgical calendar, towards the end of November, the Sunday before the first Sunday of Advent, which is the beginning of the liturgical year). In addition, the centre and name of the feast were changed to the Feast of Christ King of the Universe, which emphasises the idea that in Christ all creation is recapitulated.

The Catholic Church teaches that the world is transformed by the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. This feast day was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925; eleven years later he asked for the dedication of the first cathedral with this name. He placed it immediately before the feast of All Saints (symbolically, the king leads his subjects to victory; he must reign so that his subjects can enjoy the kingdom). Then comes the season of Advent, which precedes Christmas by four weeks.

The feast of Christ the King was established thanks to the dedication and hard work of Georges and Marthe de Noaillat. At the request of Benoît XV, and then Pope Pius XI, they collected the signatures of hundreds of bishops and thousands of faithful for six years, calling for the establishment of a feast of Christ the King accompanied by an encyclical proclaiming his « universal kingship ».

The Pope’s intention was to prepare the Christian peoples to receive the solemn definition of this great dogma, so despised in the 19th and 20th centuries. An immense movement began at Paray-le-Monial, with Providence uniting the demands of the Sacred Heart to his reign over all societies, and leading to the first solemn feast of Christ the King and the promulgation of the encyclical Quas primas on 11 December 1925. It is celebrated no earlier than 20 November and no later than 26 November.

From the Gospel according to John

33 Pilate went into the Praetorium and called Jesus, saying, « Are you the king of the Jews? » 34 Jesus asked him, « Do you say this about yourself, or have others spoken to you about me? » 35 Pilate answered, « Am I a Jew? Jesus said, « My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, I would have guards who would fight lest I should be handed over to the Jews.

For my kingship is not of this world. 37 Pilate said to him, « So you are a king? » Jesus answered, « You yourself say that I am a king. I was born and came into the world for this, to bear witness to the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth hears my voice. (Jn 18:33b-37)

Jesus before Pilate

Pilate went into the Praetorium, called Jesus and said to him : « Are you the King of the Jews ?  » (Jn 18, 33) The tone of these words was one of amazement and irony. But this question of Pilate, for which there is no reason in the above, can only be understood if we admit that the Jews, despite their pretence, ended up articulating their accusation, which was reported by Luke. The main accusation was that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, the King.

The iniquity of the Jews’ procedure consisted in transforming the religious accusation for which they condemned Jesus into a political accusation, which they strengthened with this slander : « He forbids paying tribute to Caesar » Jesus answered : « Do you say this about yourself, or have others told you about me? (Jn 18, 34)

Jesus’  request was interpreted in different ways. Meyer thought that Jesus was making use of the right of every accused to know his accusers, since he could not suppose that Pilate took the title of king in any other sense than the political one. But what was the purpose of such a question ? If Jesus wanted to know his accusers, why did he ask Pilate : « Do you say this about yourself ? Others think that Jesus wanted to make Pilate suspicious of an accusation coming from his enemies.

Pilate concludes from these words that Jesus is really attributing to himself a kind of kingship, the nature of which he does not understand, and exclaims with amazement : « Are you then a king?  » Is he still speaking with irony or with contempt ? Or has he become more serious, impressed by the words and dignity of the Saviour, as the rest of these operations seem to indicate? Interpreters are divided on this point, which is difficult to decide.

Jesus adds with solemnity: I am a king, and explains in what sense he is a king, bearing witness to the truth. To be king through the truth is the only true kingship. To be of the truth is to depend on it, to feel in harmony with it, to submit joyfully to its influence, just as to be of God is to belong to him in one’s heart. In this way Jesus designated those whom the Father draws to himself; and they listen to his voice and acknowledge it with happiness.

With these words Jesus explained his kingship; he declared that he is king and by what destination he is king; on the other hand, what are the subjects of his kingdom; and thus he fully resolved the question posed by Pilate. ( Meyer) Pilate said to him : « What is truth ?  » Pilate, in this question, which he threw out with haughty indifference, without waiting for an answer, manifested all the presumptuous lightness of the man of the world, together with the short-sighted wisdom of the statesman, who believed only in the kingdom of violence and cunning.

After this, Pilate, seeing Jesus as a harmless exalted man, declared him innocent of the political charge against him. But instead of sending him free, for fear of the Jews, whom he did not want to alienate further, he resorted to various expedients to free him. The first was to send Jesus back to Herod; the second was to offer Jesus’ release to the Jews, taking advantage of the privilege they had of asking for the release of a prisoner at the feast of Passover.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

◊ Hermanos de la Sagrada : klick here to read the paper → XXXIV SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

◊ PASTOR, FR. CARMELO JIMÉNEZ  : klick here to read the paper →  JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE – St. Michael Catholic church

Homily of Father Bob « Jesus Christ, King of the Universe »

Image de prévisualisation YouTube


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