From Sabine Schwartz, Catholic Chaplain:
The feast of Christ the King -the last Sunday in the year of the Church- has often puzzled me, as the idea of kingship can sometimes have a triumphalist ring about it that sits uneasy with my sensitivities (and those of many others). It does seem to be very odd title in the Western world of the 21st century, where democracy is among the highest values of society and kings and queens have at most a ceremonial role.
It might help to have a look both at the context in which this feast was established and the readings which were chosen for it: Both speak quite clearly about power and how we are called to use it. Pope Pius XI introduced the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 in the face of the various totalitarian ideologies such as fascism and communism striving for power at that time- as least as a reminder that all earthly power is relative and ultimately accountable to God and that as Christ’s followers we should not be seduced or cowed by it.
In today’s first Reading from the Prophet Ezekiel God denounces the rulers of the people as unworthy shepherds who exploit and oppress the flock and declares himself the Shepherd of his people who cares above all for the poor and vulnerable, while in the Gospel Jesus reveals himself as the King who identifies himself with exactly these people: “I was hungry and you gave me to eat …” and “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
So maybe in times of economic crisis this is still a very topical feast day for those in power and leadership – and a challenge for all of us: to ask ourselves how we use our own power, our resources, our time and our talents, and who or what it is that rules in our lives.