Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Since this is an extremely important election year, it is appropriate to reflect on our belief in Christ, the King of the Universe, whose teachings must inspire public policy if we are to have true peace and justice in our country and in the world.
The Scripture readings for the last two weeks of the liturgical year focus in on the last things. And on the last Sunday of the liturgical year the Church focuses in on the kingship of Christ, which will be manifested in all its glory at the end of time. There are many references and allusions to the kingship of Christ in Sacred Scripture. When the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he told her that the son to be born of her would take the throne of His father David, that He would be king of the house of Jacob forever, and that His kingdom would have no end. When He was born in a stable at Bethlehem, the Magi from the Orient said that they came to adore the newborn king of the Jews. They brought Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, gifts fit for a king. So, already in the crib, He was recognized as a king. His apostle to be, Nathaniel, proclaimed Him to be the Son of God and King of Israel. Following the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, the multitude wanted to seize Him and make Him a king. But Jesus wanted no part in ruling an earthly kingdom. So He fled them.
On the first Palm Sunday, Jesus was hailed as a king as he rode on a donkey, the conveyance of a king, into Jerusalem. When Jesus stood in trial before Pontius Pilate, Pilate asked Him if He was a king. He affirmed it; but He refrained from telling Pilate that His kingship was not over a territory but over souls. When He was crucified, Pilate has the inscription put over His head, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” After His resurrection from the dead and before His ascension into heaven, Jesus told His disciples that His kingdom is not of this world. Rather, it is over the hearts and souls of men.
The kingship of Christ was proclaimed centuries before His birth. It was prophesied by the holy men of the Old Testament. Isaiah, Daniel, King David and many others foretold that Christ would reign as king. Thus we see that the kingship of Christ is well attested to in Sacred Scripture.
So it came as no surprise when, on December 11, 1925, Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical
Quas Primas on the subject of Christ the King. He gave many reasons for calling Christ our king. Among them he reaffirmed Christ’s right to rule all the nations of the earth. He affirmed Christ’s right to teach all the nations of the world, to make laws for them and to rule over people in regard to the things that pertain to their eternal salvation. Pius XI protested against the restrictions made by so many human rulers infringing on the rights of the Church to proclaim the religion of Christ. He protested the widespread indifference and neglect of honor shown Christ. He asserted that as king of the universe, Christ commanded the respect and obedience of all men. Pius XI was largely motivated to institute the feast of Christ the King as a means of bringing peace to the world. He had personally witnessed the death and destruction inflicted by World War I and the communist revolution in Russia. It was the hope and desire of this holy pope to establish the reign of Christ over the hearts and minds of men. He knew that if this was accomplished, Christ who is all just and all loving would bring a reign of peace upon the earth. But, unfortunately, the world, in the grip of Satan’s power, would not allow itself to be ruled by Christ—neither then, and even less today.
Christ wants His kingdom to be proclaimed by worship and prayer. He wants His kingdom to be governed by a doctrine of love and good works. He wants His kingship to hold sway in our hearts. He wants His kingdom to rule over our minds and wills. Christ rules over our minds because His doctrine is truth, which is proclaimed to us through natural law. It is proclaimed in the pages of the Bible. It is proclaimed through the voice of His Church. Christ rules over our wills because His rule is a rule of love. We proclaim ourselves to be members of His kingdom whenever we choose good over evil. When we choose honesty over dishonesty; when we choose to give rather than to receive; when we choose chastity over impurity; when we choose love of individuals over class envy; when we choose generosity over greed; when we choose industry over sloth; when we choose life over death.
Christ is our king because He is the Creator of the universe. He is the Creator who gave us life. He is the ruler who lovingly rules over us every moment of our lives. All rulers on this earth derive their power from Him, whether they care to believe it or not. This Jesus declared to Pontius Pilate, when Pilate interrogated Him during His trial. Christ can change the world much for the better, if we allow Him to by opening our hearts to Him. He told His disciples, “All power has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” Our faith in Him releases that power.
Like the rule of many earthly kings, Christ rules by right of conquest. When the devil succeeded in persuading Adam and Eve to disobey God and commit original sin, he won a temporary victory over the forces of good. Through this sin the gates of heaven were barred and closed off to men. But Christ in coming to earth won a victory over Satan. By His death on the Cross He satisfied God’s justice for the sin of man and reopened the gates of heaven. By His death and resurrection He won a great victory over Satan. He wrested control of the world from him and entrusted the spiritual rule of the world to His Church. Therefore by conquest over the power of Satan He claims to be our king.
Because of His kingship Christ is entitled to our love. Subjects love a good king. And the more perfect the king the greater the love. And the greater the love the more pleasure there is in giving than in receiving. And in perfect love all the pleasure is in giving rather than in receiving. That is why Christ wants the glory of His kingship—not for His own sake, as it is for earthly kings, but for our sakes. For our bliss in heaven, if we get there, will be in singing the praises of God’s glory. Because in our perfected love for God we will want to give Him everything we can. And the only thing we have to give Him is our love and praise. Praising God in heaven will give us perfect joy forever.
And now a word about Christ and freedom. Christ the King draws us to Him in freedom. Freedom is God’s gift to us to permit us to love Him. Christ wants us to accept Him freely. This is why He never worked a miracle without the presence of faith. First faith, then the miracle; never the miracle, then faith. This is what the kingdom of God is: People freely and joyfully putting their faith in God and loving Him. And loving God means, first of all, keeping his commandments, recognizing that His law is the highest law. No earthy kingdom can be truly peaceful and just unless it recognizes Christ’s kingship, unless it conforms its laws to His. It must not only allow but also encourage its citizens to follow the law of Christ. May our civil leaders come to appreciate that truth and stop trying to force contraception, abortion, same-sex counterfeit marriage and other evils on us through government mandates and judicial decrees. Such evils are destroying our culture, making it Godless; and so incur the wrath of Christ our King, who allows us to be punished by the terrible effects of our sins. We will never enjoy true peace and just prosperity on earth until He rules in all our hearts and in all our laws. Let us pray continually for things to turn around and for Christ the King to reign on earth as He does in heaven.
Election 2016 Considerations
Following are excerpts from a homily given by Fr. Victor of APEA before the election. Since this newsletter went to the printer before Election Day, the outcome is unknown at this writing. But the excerpts apply no matter what the outcome because the issues they treat remain important.
Be aware that our Christian ethic is under fierce attack by the Left and is being replaced by an ethic of newly-created civil rights, some gravely immoral and destructive, that are rigorously enforced by the courts. There are three issues that are especially important to us as Catholics because the Church has spoken clearly about them. First and foremost there is the issue of abortion. Our most fundamental Constitutional right is the right to life. It must be upheld through all stages of human life—from conception to natural death—if we are to have a consistent system of law. We cannot expect God to bless our country if we continue the barbaric practice of killing and even dismembering babies in the wombs of their mothers. No other right or perceived right takes precedence to the right to life. The second important issue is subsidiarity, which concerns the right ordering of society. In our country it concerns the relationships and proper functions of the individual person, the family, non-governmental associations, the local government, the state government, and the federal government. The Church in her official teaching has something very important to say about all that. The third important issue is immigration, a much debated topic. It is very important because it involves balancing being a hospitable and welcoming country with national security, national sovereignty, and national identity.
I will use the Catechism of the Catholic Church as the official guide on these issues. …
The first issue: abortion. Here are a few things that the Catechism says about abortion: “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the very first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person—among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.” (2270) The Catechism goes on to affirm in paragraph 2273 that the right to life from conception to natural death must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. The Catechism goes even so far as to make this statement: “The law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the [unborn] child’s rights.” (2273) I think it’s fair to infer from the Catechism’s strong teaching against abortion that anyone who is not willing to defend the right-to-life of the unborn child is not fit to govern.
Closely connected with abortion is contraception. It is at the root of the sex-saturated and anti-natal culture prevailing in our country today. We have gone from banning the sale of contraceptives—incidentally, banned by mostly Protestant lawmakers—to an imagined right to free contraceptives, considering them as an essential part of health care. But the truth is: contraception is not health care. Health care involves the maintenance or restoration of the functions of our bodily organs. But contraception and sterilization do just the opposite. They destroy the functions of healthy bodily organs.
The second issue: subsidiarity. Here is what the Catechism has to say about that: “Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which ‘a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.’” (1883) Briefly, for us that means that it is a violation of good order for the federal government to usurp the rights and functions of the individual states, families, and persons.
The greatest modern violator of the principle of subsidiarity is perhaps the socialist form of government. Socialism micromanages the lives of the people it governs and replaces the will of God with the will of the State and the providence of God with the handouts of the State. Pope Pius XI, a great teacher of Catholic social doctrine, wrote: “No one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true socialist."
We must seriously question whether things like education and health care are properly within the province of the federal government, or if they are best handled at lower levels of organization. With regard to education, the Church has spoken clearly. The catechism says explicitly: “Parents are the principle and first educators of their children.” (1653) And in paragraph 2372 the Catechism says that the State may not legitimately usurp that role. It follows then that the role of the State in education is to facilitate parents’ right to send their children to schools of their choice. Catholic parents must not be forced financially or legally to send their children to schools that operate according to a strictly secular agenda.
Perhaps the grossest violator of the principle of subsidiarity in our country is the federal judicial system. A state legislature can work for several years to hammer out legislation that reflects the will of the people through their elected representatives. Yet a federal judge, an unelected political appointee, can nullify the law in one fell swoop. Many judges impose their own ideology, often immoral, on the people and thwart the will of the people. This power is not granted them by the Constitution. It was not the intent of the Founding Fathers for them to have such summary powers. The federal judiciary was set up and had it powers delineated by Congress, in accord with the Constitution. [Article I, Section 8; Article III, Sections 1 and 2] Article III, Section 2 of the United States Constitution gives Congress the authority to limit the jurisdiction of the federal courts, even the Supreme Court. It can strip federal judges of the power to adjudicate on social issues like abortion, marriage, and immigration. But Congress over the years has neglected or refused—I don’t know which—to exercise its authority over the judiciary in those areas and has allowed the federal judiciary to make itself the ultimate authority, butting in where it has no business, as, for example, inventing new non-constitutional rights such as the right to abortion and the right to same-sex counterfeit marriage. We need a Congress with the will and courage to rein in judicial tyrants. And it does not need to make amendments to the Constitution to do so. It can defang the judiciary through the ordinary legislative process. But, in the meantime, until we get genuine judicial reform, we need federal judges, especially Supreme Court justices, who respect Christian values, and the Constitution which fosters and protects those values. [For a detailed discussion of this issue see
Stolen Sovereignty: How to Stop Unelected Judges from Transforming America by Daniel E. Horowitz.]
The third issue: immigration. The Catechism also gives us principles to form a correct conscience about immigration. It states: “Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.” (2241)
There are some who advocate opening up our borders, letting people from all over the world come and go at will, as we now travel from one state to another. That is a gross attack on our sovereignty; a country is defined by its borders. It follows from the teaching of the Catechism that the political authorities of a country have the duty to control its borders to protect its citizens both physically and economically, to protect them from criminal and government-dependent immigrants and from unfair trade practices. Some advocates of open borders sanctimoniously pretend that they do so for humanitarian reasons. But if we examine their motives we find many of them are self-serving and not beneficent. They are using immigrants to further their own agenda. For example, some unscrupulous business people want open borders so that they can easily hire and fire cheap labor from abroad to increase their profits. In doing so they would put citizens out of work. Others connive to bring in those kinds of immigrants who will swell the ranks of their political party. This is very dangerous because it can make one party so big , so dominant, that it swamps all others and leads the country into a one-party rule, thus destroying our representative republic system of government.
Another result of open borders would be the balkanization of our country; it would become a patchwork of ethnic groups with little in common. This is becoming a problem even now. Once, when I was on a mission in California I heard about immigrants out there who refused to learn or use English. They resisted assimilating into the country that they adopted as their new home. …
APEA Activity in 2015
the Apostolate for Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration helped start or maintain perpetual
or daily Eucharistic adoration at the following churches:
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen Creek, AZ; St. Benedict, Holmdel, NJ; Sacred Heart, Atchison, KS; St. Joseph, Atchison, KS; St. Ann, Cable, WI; Holy Family, Lewiston, ME; Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul, Lewiston, ME; St. Mary, Bath, ME; St. Charles Borromeo, Brunswick, ME; St. Peter, Deland, FL; St. Benedict, Atchison, KS; St. Peter the Apostle, Savannah, GA; St. Theresa, New Cumberland, PA; St. Germaine, Prescott Valley, AZ; St. George, St. Louis (Affton), MO; St. Charles Borromeo, Bloomington, IN; St. Joseph, Hayward, WI; Queen of Heaven, West Seneca, NY; St. Pius X, Rock Island, IL; St. Patrick, Cedar Rapids, IA; St. Patrick, Iowa City, IA; Holy Cross, Lewiston, ME; St. John the Baptist, Brunswick, ME; St. Francis of Assisi, St. Albans, WV.
Missionary Priests of the Blessed Sacrament
P.O. Box 1428 • Bensalem, Pa 19020
Tel: 215.244.9211 Fax: 215.244.9211