Preacher’s Sketchbook: Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

November 18, 2013

Preacher’s Sketchbook:

Sketchbook_Logo6Each week, a Dominican member of the Province of St. Joseph’s Preaching Advisory Board prepares this Preacher’s Sketchbook in anticipation of the upcoming Sunday Mass. The idea of the Preacher’s Sketchbook is to take quotations from the authority of the Church–the Pope, the Fathers of the Church, documents of the Councils, the saints–that can help spark ideas for the Sunday homily. Just as an artist’s sketchbook preserves ideas for later elaboration, so we hope the Preacher’s Sketchbook will provide some ideas for homiletical elaboration.

Didache, Chapter 14

But every Lord’s day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: “In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.” (Mal. 1: 11,14)

Pope Pius XI, Quas primas, 13

Let Us explain briefly the nature and meaning of this lordship of Christ. It consists, We need scarcely say, in a threefold power which is essential to lordship. This is sufficiently clear from the scriptural testimony already adduced concerning the universal dominion of our Redeemer, and moreover it is a dogma of faith that Jesus Christ was given to man, not only as our Redeemer, but also as a law-giver, to whom obedience is due. Not only do the gospels tell us that he made laws, but they present him to us in the act of making them. Those who keep them show their love for their Divine Master, and he promises that they shall remain in his love. He claimed judicial power as received from his Father, when the Jews accused him of breaking the Sabbath by the miraculous cure of a sick man. “For neither doth the Father judge any man; but hath given all judgment to the Son.” In this power is included the right of rewarding and punishing all men living, for this right is inseparable from that of judging. Executive power, too, belongs to Christ, for all must obey his commands; none may escape them, nor the sanctions he has imposed.

Pope Pius XI, Quas primas, 15, 17

This kingdom is spiritual and is concerned with spiritual things. …It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power. Nevertheless, during his life on earth he refrained from the exercise of such authority, and although he himself disdained to possess or to care for earthly goods, he did not, nor does he today, interfere with those who possess them. Non eripit mortalia qui regna dat caelestia.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Homily for Christ the King (2010)

The drama that unfolds under the cross of Jesus is a universal drama; it regards all men before God who reveals Himself for what He is, namely, Love. In Jesus crucified divinity is disfigured, stripped of all visible glory, but it is present and real. Only faith is able to recognize it: Mary’s faith, who also united in her heart this last tile of the mosaic of the life of her Son; she still does not see the whole, but continues to trust in God, repeating yet again with the same abandonment, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord” (Luke 1:38). And then there is the faith of the good thief: a barely sketched faith, but enough to assure him of salvation: “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” Decisive is that “with me.” Yes, it is this that saves him. Of course, the good thief is on the cross like Jesus, but above all he is on the cross with Jesus. And, as opposed to the other evildoer, and of all the others who mock him, he does not ask Jesus to come down from the cross or to make him come down. Instead, he says: “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He sees him on the cross, disfigured, unrecognizable, and yet he entrusts himself to Him as to a king, more than that, as the King. The good thief believes what is written on that plaque above Jesus’ head: “The King of the Jews”: he believes and entrusts himself. That is why he is already subject to the “today” of God, in paradise, because this is paradise: to be with Jesus, to be with God.

Manual of Indulgences

A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who on the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, publicly recite the act of dedication of the human race to Christ the King: Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before you. We are yours, and yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with you, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to your Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known you; many, too, despising your precepts, have rejected you. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to your Sacred Heart. Be King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken you, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned you; grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and the unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd. Grant, O Lord, to your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give tranquility of order to all nations; make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever. Amen.


Sunday Preacher’s Resource

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (2007)


Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Additional Preaching Resources

Image: Boccaccio Boccaccino, Christ in Majesty

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