Icon of Christ the King Enthroned
Transcription Of Audio Coming Soon!
Translation of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians
the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ
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: aIl 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.
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 world; that I should give testimony to the truth, everyone that is of the truth, heareth My voice.
The Saving Words of the Gospel
Everyone that is of the truth, heareth My voice.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, the Holy Ghost, Amen.
Today we celebrate this great feast, the Feast of Christ the King, which is a relatively new feast instituted by Pope Pius the XI in 1925. And he placed it on the last Sunday of October because it was the closest Sunday to the Feast of All Saints. And its purpose is to underscore Christ’s universal kingship over all of this seen visible world, the invisible world, Heaven, and Purgatory. Christ is King of all the universe, and we are united, therefore, to the souls in heaven and to the souls in purgatory under this same King. The occasion of the encyclical was the world spiraling into the insanity of socialism, with the Communist Revolution in Russia spreading across Europe and into other countries, as the old political systems began to decay; nature hates a vacuum. And so Marxism encroached on those precarious situations. Certainly, the Church doesn’t present one type of government as the only one. Although Thomas Aquinas mentions that monarchy is the best form of government because it most resembles Heaven, he is not ignorant of the dangers that come along with it, but he’s also quite aware of the dangers of democracy and therefore was not a big fan of it. That same Pope who published this encyclical letter Quas primas later published Quadragesimo anno, which says that no true Catholic can be a socialist. So although the Church does not present one system of government, it does mention that there’s one that’s not up for discussion.
Well, Christ says, when Pilate interrogates Him, Everyone that is of the truth hears My voice. And it’s very important that the order of things in this declaration, and it’s not the first time and certainly not the only time that our Lord says something similar. He also says that He is the Good Shepherd, and those who belong to His flock hear His voice. So, notice that there’s a primacy of belonging. Belonging comes before believing; belonging comes before behaving. So it’s always going to be in that order, belonging – behaving; belonging – believing – behaving, that when we are claimed by Christ, happened to each one of us in baptism, we then become capable of distinguishing His voice. He speaks on our conscience. He speaks through visible creation. He speaks through the Magisterium; through Scripture; through the Natural Law.
Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice. And Pilate says, What is truth? Well, the word that John uses in his Gospel ἀλήθεια. If you remember your Greek mythology there were five rivers in the Greek underworld, one of which was called Lethe, which was the River of Forgetfulness. So ἄ, álfa when it proceeds the word in Greek means not. So not forgetfulness, that’s true. In other words, truth is so manifest so clear it imposes itself in truth; is not merely the fruit of a syllogism. It’s not something we reason towards, but rather truth is a person and Christ reveals Himself as a person. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Interesting. the word in Hebrew is emet (אֱמֶת). Emet, which is spelled with the first letter of the Hebrew “alef-bet”, the middle letter, and the last letter. In other words, it encompasses everything. Truth then encompasses everything. It’s not a part of something, it is the sum total. And in Hebrew, you know, letters have conceptual meanings, also numerical meetings. And so, when it begins with alef (א) the first letter of the Hebrew “alef-bet”, emet (אֱמֶת) then begins with alef (א) which means God, means one. Could be one like first, one as a series, one as principal, prince. Much like Greek αρχη, arche. Well, when alef (א) is taken away from the word for truth, emet (אֱמֶת), we’re left with met, (מֵת), which is the Hebrew word for death. So when we take God out of the equation, we sign up for godless death. It’s a form of self-imposed insanity.
And that’s precisely why Pius XI condemned socialism because it purported to set up a godless utopia, as if we could be happy without God, as if we could experience peace in this life without Revelation, without Natural Law, without Jesus Christ. And that is the recipe for much suffering that we saw in the last century as a result of socialism, and the collective insanity which we’re experiencing in our own world right now, especially in the West, which purports to embrace this socialism to its own undoing. But notice, our Lord says, Everyone that is of the Truth… So if we belong to the Truth, and the Truth is a Person, we hear His voice. This socialistic mentality doesn’t like the idea of belonging because it wants to impose its own plan over creation. And so there’s a conflict here. Our post-Christian culture, bristles at the notion of belonging to someone else.
I was preaching retreat in Germany 25 years ago to a bunch of school kids, and I was talking about the pride that we ought to have of belonging to Christ. And they go, We don’t want to belong to anyone, we want to be independent. Well, you can be independent of Christ and see where it gets ya. You know, the national anthem of Hell is “I Did It My Way”. In heaven, right, they all sing “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus”. We’re given a limited choice of hymns that we’re going to be singing for eternity.
So this order of belonging – believing – behaving then is what our Lord is pointing to; Everyone that belongs to the Truth, that is of the Truth, hears My voice. Cardinal Ratzinger says, Logos, that is reason, meaning, everything is there. There is a link with reason, our relationship with the meaning, since reason, the meaning, and Christ are one in the same thing. Rationality and meaning, which are there before and after Christ, adequates to Christ as the whole of the part. He is the all of what is found previously in the universe, and in separate parts. In Christ, the rational principle of the universe has revealed itself as love, as Logos. He is meaning incarnate.
And so Christ reveals the Truth. He reveals the Father, not giving us more data. He’s not giving us a syllogism or an algorithm to understand things or to come to conclusions. He is the beginning and the conclusion. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, He is unchanging. He is what gives all things meaning. As we heard in the Epistle to the Colossians everything was created in Him, through Him, and for Him. And so if there’s anything in our lives, anything in our midst, that we do not see through the prism of Jesus Christ, does not speak to us of Jesus Christ, we don’t see it properly. Christ is meaning. Christ is truth. He’s revealed that. He’s told us. The Truth cannot lie.
So even our temptations ought to be submitted to Him who is the Truth. Lord, what do you want me to do with this? And we give Him glory, by choosing Him over our passions, by choosing Him over a lie. So even when our passions, which are disordered, when our temptations, which come from the world, the flesh, and the devil, approach us, in freedom, we can turn to Him was the Truth and chose to give Him glory, with our choices. Those are things we will never regret.
We see in the lives of saints, how they had particular moments of grace, where they understood, in a very seemingly new way, their own belonging to Christ. When St. Francis was disowned by his father. He said, I’m no longer the son of Pietro Bernardone. Now, all I want to say is “Our Father, who art in heaven”. He had a profound experience of Divine Fathership, Fatherhood, in that, humanly speaking, difficult trial. When Saint Terres received a special grace she wrote in “Manuscript C” of her Story of a Soul, I no longer belong to myself, I belonged to Jesus Christ alone. And so we are not orphans. We’re not widgets. We are subjects of a King. We are children of a loving Father. We are lovers of a faithful Spouse. And in our belonging to Christ, we have a special union with the souls in heaven, our brothers and sisters who have gone before us who intercede for us as big brothers and sisters. But we also have a special relationship with the souls in purgatory, who count on our charity, on our prayers.
And with a month of the Holy Souls upon us, it would be a good time to have some homework in the month of November read the life of a saint and see what one of these great ones who’s gone before us to heaven, how that great one lived this belonging to the truth. It is very illustrative. We’re not called to imitate the saints. What the saints have in common is they all imitated Christ according to their station in life, according to their foibles and their gifts. But also, to do what we can for our brothers and sisters who are in distress and Purgatory, who count on our prayers, on our sacrifices, on our fasting. In God’s charity, He allows us to be a participant in their purification. St. Veronica Giuliani, when she experienced Purgatory, she experienced Purgatory, Hell, and Heaven while she was in mystical states in this life, she said, There is no torture in this life as painful as the pain of purgatory. There’s no joy in this life as profound as the joy of the souls in purgatory. We can be of great assistance to our brothers and sisters starting November 1. In the month of the Holy Souls, winning plenary indulgences for them, and giving God glory by showing Him our love for our suffering brothers and sisters who also belong to the Truth.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, the Holy Ghost, Amen.
— Fr. Ermatinger