31 October 2011

Sermon for the Feast of Christ the King

Canon Michael Wiener of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest was kind enough to allow me to publish his sermon from yesterday's feast:

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,
will draw all things to myself.


“Wherefore, as there can be nothing that is not ordered to the Divine goodness as its end, so it is impossible for anything to escape from the Divine government … Foolish therefore was the opinion of those who said that the corruptible lower world, or individual things, or that even human affairs, were not subject to the Divine government.”

Saint Thomas Aquinas discusses in the 5th article of the 103rd question of the 1st part of his Summa “Whether all things are subject to the Divine government”. 

Today’s world doesn’t bother itself any more with answering this question, but is very anxious to maintain three positions:

-         It believes (in the true sense of the word) in science and holds its procedures, principles and knowledge in highest esteem, reducing almost all intellectual activity to the level of science.
-         It believes in perfect legislation and the necessity and effectiveness of universal state government.
-         And – based on the findings of science – it defends vigorously the dogma that there is a perfect anarchy in the universe and the absence of any order in the cosmos and nature as a whole.  

An English man once said: “By some mad paradox, we trace political and social ills to poor direction and government; while we trace perfection in the universe to a complete absence of government.”

This mad paradox is the fruit of our wounded nature which distorts our intellect and our will in a special manner.

“You were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled.”

God became man to allow man to submit more readily to the divine government. The incarnation of God enables the will of man to be submissive to the will of the King who is clothed with all power in heaven and on earth.

“But if we ponder on this matter more deeply,” says Pope Pius XI. in his Encyclical Quas Primas, “we cannot but see that the title and the power of King belongs to Christ as man in the strict and proper sense too. 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 one with the Father, has all things in common with him, and therefore has necessarily supreme and absolute dominion over all things created.”

What man’s fallen nature made obscure is visible and acceptable in Jesus Christ: Christ is King. Now man is united to the Godhead through the new head of humanity. God’s grace allows man to freely consent to the will of God and to embrace His goodness.

“For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.” God’s almighty power is effective in man, enlightens his mind and directs his will while giving man true freedom. 

“Christ has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence … but by essence and by nature.” 

“But a thought, says Pope Pius XI. in Quas Primas, that must give us even greater joy and consolation is this that Christ is our King by acquired, as well as by natural right, for He is our Redeemer. “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ.”

This king doesn’t ask anyone to do what He Himself hasn’t done. That is why we can entrust ourselves and all we love to the will of this king. Because He acquired His kingdom on the cross, because He purchased our citizenship by His Precious Blood, we can readily and happily acknowledge to be subject to His orders and His dominion. Christ continues to offer Himself as a victim for our sins, in each and every Mass the King and victim offers Himself for us.

And once we have acknowledged the kingship of Christ and understood the gentleness and humility with which Christ reigns, “there seems no reason why we should despair of seeing that peace which the King of Peace came to bring on earth - he who came to reconcile all things, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister.”

It is precisely in the moments when the divine sacrifice is renewed on our altars that this kingship of Christ becomes especially visible and conceivable. In the silence and the veiled mystery of the liturgy the power and majesty of Christ the King becomes most obvious. All aspects of Christ’s kingship are therefore made most obvious by the Church through the divine liturgy.

“There can be nothing that is not ordered to the Divine goodness”, teaches St. Thomas. This divine goodness is now opened and made tangible in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Church’s wisdom has constituted that today mankind should be again dedicated to the Divine Heart of the Redeemer.

Is there a better teaching which makes God’s government in the whole understandable? Can we expect a more concise and clear teaching about the character of Christ’s kingdom than that which is given us today on the feast of Christ the King?

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,
will draw all things to myself.



Geremia said...

I absolutely loved how the Gospel of this feast ended: "Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice." (St. John 18:37).

Seven of Seven said...

Beautiful sermon for a beautiful day. Thank you for posting. Is it possible to get Canon's talk at the breakfast?