Every year, on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, which is one week before the first Sunday of Advent, the Church celebrates the solemnity of Christ the King. This feast was instituted nearly 100 years ago in 1925 by Pope Pius XI in response to growing secularism and atheism. It was a time when aggressive secular regimes in Mexico, Russia and some parts of Europe threatened the Catholic Church.
When a society forgets God, someone always replaces Him. History attests to the fact that secular regimes work to intentionally keep God and religion out of the public arena. The faithful in any society must strive to vigilantly keep Christ in the public square because, in the end, without God a society has no lasting moral compass. Today’s feast reminds us that while governments come and go, Jesus Christ who is King of the universe reigns forever.
Christ’s reign also applies to our interior lives. There are many things competing for our attention and, if we are not vigilant, these things can take first place to the detriment of where we prioritize Jesus. This struggle is nothing new as people of faith all throughout salvation history have needed to be reminded to not worship false gods.
It is tempting to think that the worship of false gods is something of the past, a practice limited to people in the Old Testament. However, the worships of false gods is alive and well in our day. One practical way to discover one’s false gods is by the following formula. “I’m OK if (fill in the blank).” So, for example, you might tell yourself “I’m OK if I drive a nice car; I’m OK if I’m the best athlete; I’m OK if I have the nicest house; I’m OK if I’m liked by everyone.” The list goes on. Whatever it is with which you fill in the blank can be seen as your modern-day idol, the false god that you worship. These false gods are lies that most often relate to our identity, I’m OK if… The truth of the matter is that each of us, you and I, are OK (more than OK) because we are beloved sons and daughters of the heavenly Father. We find our true happiness when Christ the King has reign over our lives, not the lies we believe about our self-worth, the false identity beliefs that hold sway over us.
On this, the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, let us look to the One who is the source of our happiness and strive to reject anything that seeks to replace the reign of Christ the King over our hearts. In doing so, not only will there be greater harmony in our personal lives, but in larger society and the world as well.