I am always grateful for the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, which always wraps up the end of the liturgical year. I believe in a previous year I had written about this feast day’s relatively young age (relative to Church feasts) and the context from which it came. Pope Pius XI became pope shortly after the Great War at the beginning of the 20th century, and was discerning how the various nation states were developing in ways apart from the Kingship of Jesus.
He discerned that the many evils of the previous years had come from, and prophesied how future problems in society would result from the fact that many “had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics” (Quas Primas, December 11, 1925). He therefore invited all Christians to renew their allegiance to the Kingship of Christ once again and instituted this feast day for the universal Church.
Certainly, our own time is not particularly a time of the peace that we would hope for with many conflicts throughout the world. I receive regular emails from the National Eucharistic Revival initiative that’s happening in the United States, and thought this would be an appropriate message to share with you on such an occasion as we pray to Christ our King for peace in the world. This comes from a message written by Sister Alicia Torres, F.E., about two weeks ago.
Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat. (Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands.)
Fr. Brian Trueman
“You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end.” (Mt. 24:6)
At a time in history when we are literally experiencing wars and rumors of wars, these words of Jesus are both unsettling and consoling. He told us what to expect. Even in our fallen world, men and women still have free will, and we can so readily turn against our Creator and one another for innumerable reasons.
As we confront this stark reality, Jesus doesn’t abandon us in our feelings of fear, anger, and helplessness. When he sits with his disciples at the Last Supper, Jesus says: “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” (Jn 16:33)
What is most important? That, no matter what, Jesus promises us that in him, we will find our peace. This past Sunday, the Office of Readings (part of the Liturgy of the Hours) included this timely excerpt:
“That earthly peace which arises from love of neighbor symbolizes and results from the peace of Christ which radiates from God the Father. For by the cross the incarnate Son, the Prince of Peace, reconciled all men with God. By thus restoring all men to the unity of one people and one body, he slew hatred in his own flesh; and, after being lifted on high by his resurrection, he poured forth the spirit of love into the hearts of men. For this reason, all Christians are urgently summoned to do in love what the truth requires, and to join with all true peacemakers in pleading for peace and bringing it about.” (Gaudium et Spes, no. 78)
War in Ukraine, war in the Middle East—in a very real way, wars on the streets of our own cities where gang violence, drug trafficking, and human trafficking are a daily reality. The only way to respond to this is through a radical act of love. And Jesus gives us the perfect model, “Take, eat, this is my Body.… Take, drink, this is my Blood.”
We are united with Christ, the Prince of Peace, every time we receive him in Holy Communion. Our bond with him deepens at Mass and in our personal prayer. Our relationship with Jesus, however, is not free. It costs us something now… and ultimately, it will cost us everything.
How is Jesus inviting you, today, to offer yourself as he does in the Eucharist? How is he calling you to be a peacemaker? How can we, united as his Mystical Body, intercede for peace, for the end of war, and for the universal brotherhood that our loving God so desires for his children?
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Let’s run to him now with all that weighs upon our hearts. He longs to hear from us and desires to help us.
-Sister Alicia Torres, F.E., in the Heart of Revival newsletter for the National Eucharistic Revival, Nov. 9, 2023