Christ, The King of the Universe
Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 for the Universal Church, in his encyclical “Quas Primas”. He connected the increasing denial of Christ to the rise of secularism throughout Europe and so bring Christ, his rule and Christian values back into lives of Christians, into society and into politics. Although Emperors and Kings now exist mostly in history books, we still honour Christ as the King of the Universe by enthroning him in our hearts and allowing him to take control of our lives. This feast challenges us to see Christ the King in everyone, especially those whom our society considers the least important, and to treat each person with love, mercy and compassion as Jesus did.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus describes to his disciples the scene of the judgment of the Son of Man. All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates sheep and goats upon their return from the pasture. The judgments made by the Son of Man will be based upon the acts of mercy shown to the least ones—the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the ill, and the imprisoned. Indeed, Jesus, who suffered on the Cross, identifies himself with the least ones. Our judgment before God will be based on how we have extended ourselves in service to the least ones. Indeed, Jesus tells us that whenever we have served these least ones, we have served Christ himself. In accepting death on the cross, Jesus shows himself to be one of the hungry, the naked, the ill, and the imprisoned. To accept Jesus is to accept him who suffered and died on the Cross as one of the least ones.