Father Koch: Christ is King of the visible and invisible realms

November 16, 2020 at 12:33 a.m.
Father Koch: Christ is King of the visible and invisible realms
Father Koch: Christ is King of the visible and invisible realms

The Word

Gospel Reflection for Nov. 22, 2020, The Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

We are all acutely aware how important a well-ordered and functioning government is for the maintenance of civil order and an overall sense of security. In these days of political turmoil, and with all the variables and uncertainties that are at play within our nation and throughout the world, this Solemnity of Christ the King provides us with a sense of balance and hope.

The celebration of this feast was inaugurated by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical “Quas Primas” (Dec. 11, 1925). There in paragraph 19 he writes: “When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. Our Lord's regal office invests the human authority of princes and rulers with a religious significance; it ennobles the citizen's duty of obedience… If princes and magistrates duly elected are filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by their own right, but by the mandate and in the place of the Divine King, they will exercise their authority piously and wisely, and they will make laws and administer them, having in view the common good and also the human dignity of their subjects. The result will be a stable peace and tranquility, for there will be no longer any cause of discontent. Men will see in their king or in their rulers men like themselves, perhaps unworthy or open to criticism, but they will not on that account refuse obedience if they see reflected in them the authority of Christ God and Man. Peace and harmony, too, will result; for with the spread and the universal extent of the kingdom of Christ men will become more and more conscious of the link that binds them together, and thus many conflicts will be either prevented entirely or at least their bitterness will be diminished.”

Pope Pius XI noted then, as we do today, in the very opening of this encyclical as he had written previously that: “… that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ; and that we promised to do as far as lay in our power. In the Kingdom of Christ, that is, it seemed to us that peace could not be more effectually restored nor fixed upon a firmer basis than through the restoration of the Empire of Our Lord. We were led in the meantime to indulge the hope of a brighter future at the sight of a more widespread and keener interest evinced in Christ and his Church, the one Source of Salvation, a sign that men who had formerly spurned the rule of our Redeemer and had exiled themselves from his kingdom were preparing, and even hastening, to return to the duty of obedience.”

It is when and as we draw our attention to the Kingdom of God and make it preeminent in our lives and in the political order that true peace will be known in the world. The political machinations, divisions, levels of corruption, and failed policies of all governments in the world are in dire need of a reorientation and a correction. The failure to recognize the sovereignty of Christ in the world leads to a diminishing of a fundamental respect for human life and welfare.

As Catholics we are feeling more and more alienated and isolated from the political order. Sixty years ago, when the first Catholic was elected as our nation’s president there was a great feeling among Catholics that their hard work and faithful citizenship had finally been recognized in what was often a culture hostile to Catholics. Now, having elected our second Catholic president, the response is less enthusiastic among Catholics, and for some reflects a sense of ennui and sadness. In both cases, we are reminded that we have put too much faith in the political powers of this world, relying less on God as the Lord of history.

It was Pope Pius’ intent then and our hope now, that this feast will help us all to come to understand the primacy of Christ in our lives, our minds, and our institutions, so that we might all be kept safe for eternal life.

Father Garry Koch is pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel.


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Gospel Reflection for Nov. 22, 2020, The Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

We are all acutely aware how important a well-ordered and functioning government is for the maintenance of civil order and an overall sense of security. In these days of political turmoil, and with all the variables and uncertainties that are at play within our nation and throughout the world, this Solemnity of Christ the King provides us with a sense of balance and hope.

The celebration of this feast was inaugurated by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical “Quas Primas” (Dec. 11, 1925). There in paragraph 19 he writes: “When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. Our Lord's regal office invests the human authority of princes and rulers with a religious significance; it ennobles the citizen's duty of obedience… If princes and magistrates duly elected are filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by their own right, but by the mandate and in the place of the Divine King, they will exercise their authority piously and wisely, and they will make laws and administer them, having in view the common good and also the human dignity of their subjects. The result will be a stable peace and tranquility, for there will be no longer any cause of discontent. Men will see in their king or in their rulers men like themselves, perhaps unworthy or open to criticism, but they will not on that account refuse obedience if they see reflected in them the authority of Christ God and Man. Peace and harmony, too, will result; for with the spread and the universal extent of the kingdom of Christ men will become more and more conscious of the link that binds them together, and thus many conflicts will be either prevented entirely or at least their bitterness will be diminished.”

Pope Pius XI noted then, as we do today, in the very opening of this encyclical as he had written previously that: “… that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ; and that we promised to do as far as lay in our power. In the Kingdom of Christ, that is, it seemed to us that peace could not be more effectually restored nor fixed upon a firmer basis than through the restoration of the Empire of Our Lord. We were led in the meantime to indulge the hope of a brighter future at the sight of a more widespread and keener interest evinced in Christ and his Church, the one Source of Salvation, a sign that men who had formerly spurned the rule of our Redeemer and had exiled themselves from his kingdom were preparing, and even hastening, to return to the duty of obedience.”

It is when and as we draw our attention to the Kingdom of God and make it preeminent in our lives and in the political order that true peace will be known in the world. The political machinations, divisions, levels of corruption, and failed policies of all governments in the world are in dire need of a reorientation and a correction. The failure to recognize the sovereignty of Christ in the world leads to a diminishing of a fundamental respect for human life and welfare.

As Catholics we are feeling more and more alienated and isolated from the political order. Sixty years ago, when the first Catholic was elected as our nation’s president there was a great feeling among Catholics that their hard work and faithful citizenship had finally been recognized in what was often a culture hostile to Catholics. Now, having elected our second Catholic president, the response is less enthusiastic among Catholics, and for some reflects a sense of ennui and sadness. In both cases, we are reminded that we have put too much faith in the political powers of this world, relying less on God as the Lord of history.

It was Pope Pius’ intent then and our hope now, that this feast will help us all to come to understand the primacy of Christ in our lives, our minds, and our institutions, so that we might all be kept safe for eternal life.

Father Garry Koch is pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel.

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