Traditionally, from the date of the institution of this feast (and still to this day in the Extraordinary Form), the Feast of Christ the King is celebrated on the last Sunday of October. The change of the date of this feast to the last Sunday of the liturgical year has caused a subtle, or not-so-subtle, shift in emphasis of the meaning of this title of Our Lord. The act of placing this feast at the end of the year, with the natural and liturgical eschatological emphasis of this Sunday, places the focus mainly on the Kingship of Christ at the end of time, to the diminution of His Kingship right now over men. Both are realities, and are there to be contemplated in either form. But by splitting the Feast from the Last Sunday in the traditional Roman calendar, both realities get their own spotlight. I think this is just another of the many, many bad consequences of the denuding of the liturgy of the Church.
Back in October, Canon Michael Wiener, Rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, delivered the following excellent sermon on the Feast of Christ the King. I offer it for the enjoyment of readers, who might not get the same emphasis at their own Sunday Mass sermon:
We are all monarchists!
By 1925 all great monarchies had ceased to exist: The revolution in Russia in 1917 had swiped away the czar, the Great War of 1914-1918 ended the Reich and Austria and Germany lost Kaiser and Emperor. For the first time in history there was no one on earth to claim the title of “Caesar”.
“For it is only as man that he may be said to have received from the Father ‘power and glory and a kingdom,’ since the Word of God, as consubstantial with the Father, has all things in common with him, and therefore has necessarily supreme and absolute dominion over all things created.”
This power is threefold, legislative, judicial and punitive:
"For neither doth the Father judge any man; but hath given all judgment to the Son."
And Christ’s reign is universal:
“His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.”
“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.”