This feast was instituted by Pope Pius XI at the close of the Holy Year, 1925. The purpose of the Holy Father was to bring home to all mankind the fact that Christ is King not merely over individuals, but over families and societies, over states and nations, over rulers and tribunals as well. The duty of Christians is to hasten the return of the world to His authority by their prayers, their influence and their actions.
They are reminded that they must courageously fight under His royal banner, with the weapons of the spirit, for the rights of God and of His Church.
The last Sunday of October was chosen for the feast, the Sunday preceding All Saints, because during this month the liturgical year draws to its close and thus the mysteries of Jesus Christ are fittingly completed and crowned by the liturgical festival of Christ, the King. On the same day also will annually take place the consecration of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Christ is proclaimed King of all mankind both in the Old and New Testament. David, Isaias, Daniel, and Zacharias in plainest terms predicted the kingship or the kingdom of the future Messias. At the coming of Christ the Angel Gabriel announced that "of His Kingdom there shall be no end." The Savior Himself declared His kingship before Pilate. But His kingdom, though in this world, was not to be of this world.
As man He is Lord over all kings and over all human possessions. Yet He is "King of kings and Lord of lords," and on the last day He will present Himself together with His kingdom to His Father, when all His enemies shall have been put under His feet.
Devotion to Christ as King is not new, but the Church has given to it a great liturgical solemnity in the present feast.
Introit. Apoc. 5, 12; 1,6
The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honor. To Him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Ps. 71,1. Give to the King Thy Judgment, O God: and to the King's Son Thy justice. Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Almighty and eternal God, Who hast wished to restore all things through Thy beloved Son, the King of the universe, graciously grant that all the families of the Gentiles separated by the wound of sin, may be subjected to His most loving dominion, Who with Thee liveth, and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Epistle. Col. 1, 12-20
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Colossians.
Brethren, we give thanks to God the Father, Who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins; Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature; for in Him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and in Him. And He is before all, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the Church, Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He may hold the primacy: because in Him, it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell; and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, making peace through the blood of His cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven, in Christ Jesus Our Lord.
Gradual. Ps. 71, 8,11
He shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. And all kings of the earth shall adore Him: all nations shall serve Him.
Alleluia, alleluia. Dan.7.14. His power is an everlasting power that shall not be taken away: and His kingdom that shall not be destroyed. Alleluia. Apoc. 19,16. He hath on His garment, and on His thigh written: King of kings, and Lord of lords, Alleluia.
Tract. Ps. 88, 27, 28, 30
He shall cry out to Me: Thou art My Father: My God, and the support of My salvation. And I will make Him My firstborn, high above the kings of the earth. And I will make His seed to endure for evermore: and His throne as the days of heaven.
Gospel. John 18, 33-37
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. John.
At that time: Pilate said to Jesus: Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered: Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have others told it thee of Me? Pilate answered: Am I a Jew? Thy own nation, and the chief priests, have delivered thee up to me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered: My Kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now My kingdom is not from hence. Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a King. For this was I born, and for this came I into the word; that I should give testimony to the truth, Everyone that is of the truth, heareth My voice.
Offertory. Ps. 2,8
Ask of Me, and I will give The Gentiles for Thy inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for Thy possession.
O Lord, we offer Thee this host for the reconciliation of humanity; grant, we beseech Thee, that Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Whom we immolate in this sacrifice, will bestow on all Gentiles the gifts of unity and peace, Who with Thee liveth, and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Communion. Ps. 28, 10, 11
The Lord shall sit King forever. The Lord will bless His people with peace.
Fed with this immortal nourishment, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we who glory to fight under the standard of Christ the King, may forever reign with Him on the heavenly throne. Who with Thee liveth, and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.