The author reflects on the importance of the solemnity of Christ the King in the context of the Season of Advent, revealing the meaning of kingship and messiah. Each Advent, we renew our hope that the King to come will free us from afflictions.
One of the most solemn feasts in the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church is the Solemnity of Christ, The King. The uniqueness of the feast lies in the fact that it belongs to the class of "idea-feasts." It celebrates no specific event as such in the history of salvation or the earthly life of Christ.
Instead, it solemnly honours Christ under the title of "King," bringing to a fitting close the Church's liturgical year and promptly opening a new liturgical year with the commencement of Advent on the first succeeding Sunday.
In this context, the most significant carol heard at Christmas is, What Child Is This…? based on a poem titled "The Manger Throne." Penned by the ailing Englishman William Chatterton in 1865, the poem in one sweep takes us through the purpose for which the Christ-child came to birth: to be king over fallen humankind and to save it through his very death.
It aptly reflects Sacred Scripture, which clarifies that intertwined with Jesus' role as Saviour-King is the priestly and prophetic dimension of God's plan of Salvation for His human creation. It gives Christmas an aura of incomparable significance. At present, it can be experienced only in the measure. During Advent, we prepare for the COMING of the Saviour-King at CHRISTMAS and END TIMES.
Essentially known as the 'hypostatic union,' there are two natures in Christ, i.e., divine and human. Further, his triple role in our redemption, known in Latin as munus triplex, isn't a figment of human imagination. But it is held by most mainline churches, including the Presbyterian and the Lutheran, as hardcore Christian doctrine rooted in the Old and New Testaments.
The gravity of Advent as a period of preparation for Christ's COMING is evident from the Gospel passage for the Feast of the Holy Innocents (December 28): Herod orders his men "to kill all the male children in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi" (Matthew 2:16) who had enquired of him, "Where is he that is born 'King' of the Jews?" (Matthew 2:2a) Little did they know that the same reference to the Second Person of the Godhead whom they were beholding with their earthly eyes would rattle Herod so much as to cause such mayhem among who knows how many young families.
Christ's Threefold office has deep Scriptural Roots - prophet: Deuteronomy 18:14-22; priest: Psalm 110:1-4; and king: Psalm 2. This triple function manifests itself in ways and means unique, not least significantly in Jesus' own words: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6). As 'priest' he is the Life, as 'prophet' he is the Truth and as 'king' he is the Way. The Word (Logos in Greek) is Light. As the true Light (John1:1-18), Christ the prophet enlightens humankind - "If thou wilt be perfect...come follow me" (Matthew 19:21). Thus, the term 'messiah,' meaning "anointed one," is closely linked with the concept of the threefold office. The office of the king is commonly associated with the Messiah. His role as priest is also prominent in the New Testament, explained in Hebrews (Chapters 7 to 10).
The Foundational element. If Easter is the raison d'être of the Christian Faith and Christmas its foundation, the roots of both run deep in the Kingship of Christ that we celebrate as a precursor to Advent. The Solemnity of Christ the King was introduced by Pope Pius XI on December 11, 1925, to combat the disturbing growth of the secular, atheistic ideology that had the world's rulers and the wealthy dangerously fall prey.
We are steeped in the notion that we humans could do without God. But diligent observance of Advent on our part makes us aware of the freeing power of Christ working among us for our uplift and of that of the poor and the needy. Indeed, Advent brings a breath of hope into a world of misery caused by human greed on the one hand and the Corona Virus that seems to continue holding the world in its clutches on the other.
May the wondrous love of Christ the Lord of light and life, the Prince of Peace - Eternal and the King of Kings illumine our minds and fill hearts with hope during the ensuing Season of Advent and Christmas.