Here in the United States we are not used to having royalty as part of our system of governance, as are the United Kingdom and various European nations. We, as Americans, declared our independence from a nation ruled by a king.
Moreover, we as a people have just been though a seemingly endless and (sometimes brutal) democratic election process in which we elected our president and other civic officials. Democracy is part of the fabric of our nation.
So how do we in our society understand and react to this concept of Christ the King?
First of all, I have continually reminded people that truth is not subject to a democratic vote or to a popularity poll. For example, if we were to take a vote and popular opinion decided that there are now four persons in God and God is not a Trinity, would it make it so? Absolutely not. Our opinion of this matter is really insignificant because it can never supplant Divine Revelation.
When we call Christ our King, we acknowledge that He has absolute sovereignty over us as His people and we are subject to what He commands of us. While we always retain our free-will and can choose to be obedient or not, God is still ultimately in charge. Jesus the Christ announced to us that “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mk. 1:15)
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "The kingdom of Christ (is) already present in mystery", "on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom." (669) The Catechism continues: Though already present in his Church, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled "with power and great glory" by the King's return to earth. (671)
Our understanding and our attitude as the People of God have ultimately to conform to the will of God—not the other way around. From the very beginning, we as creatures seemed to think that we knew better and can do better than God, the Creator. This is the essence of the original sin. Various ongoing effects of this sin continue to manifest itself over and over again throughout history, right up to this very time: “Nobody is going to tell me what to do!”—to some, not even God Himself, I’m afraid.
May this Solemnity of the Church—Christ the King—remind us of the need to be humble, respectful and obedient to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ the King.
It is utter foolishness to do otherwise.
Fr. Ed Namiotka