The following is by Father Valentine Young, OFM, a faithful Catholic priest who died on 17 January 2020. It was delivered sometime between 2013 and 2020. To learn more about Father Valentine, please scroll to the bottom of the page.
Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King
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—(1962 Missal) Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
HEN POPE PIUS XI introduced this “Feast of Christ the King” into the Liturgical calendar in 1925, he explicitly stated that it should be on the Last Sunday in October. That way the Feast would always be on the Sunday before the Feast of All Saints on November 1 and the Commemoration of the Faithful departed on Nov. 2. He thereby was trying to emphasize that Christ was not only the King of the Church on earth, but also of the Kingdom of the Blessed in heaven and the souls in purgatory.
Christ’s Kingdom on earth: In our theological courses in the seminary—well over fifty, and even sixty years ago for me—we were taught that the Catholic Church was Christ’s Kingdom here on earth. And that is what we as Catholics are privileged to belong to while we are on this earth.
A consequence: A consequence of this fact is that if we abandon the Catholic Church, then we are abandoning Christ himself. Now, Our Lord Jesus Christ—in many of His parables and teachings—let us know that His Kingdom on earth was always what I am going to call “an unfinished product.” In other words, it would always be in need of improvement and growth, especially in its members.
Proof of history: The history of Christ’s Kingdom on earth has always been subject to ups and downs. And right now—at least for the Church in Europe and it seems in almost all of the Americas—we are now in a period of “downs” in many respects. I was again reminded of this this past week when I heard that the beautiful closed Saint Mark Church on Montgomery Avenue in Evanston was going to be converted into a recreation center.
Speaking in a human way: I am now going to speak in somewhat of a human way. But let me ask: “How do you think Christ the King must think when He sees this happening?” It certainly is a sign that His kingdom on earth is dwindling, at least in certain places. Now I will not point the finger at anyone to say what I think may be the cause for this decline. But I don’t think anyone can deny the fact.
Vatican II: I will go out on a limb and say that I think the misinterpretation of the Second Vatican Council is one of the main reasons why Christ’s Church or Kingdom on earth is in the state it is. Time doesn’t allow me to go into any great detail to prove or show what I mean. But when one reads the actual documents of this council, and now looks around and sees how they were implemented, one has to say that they were greatly misinterpreted and at times even contradicted.
Other developments: The same can be said about other more recent developments in the Church. In some respects we can say that Christ entrusted the Church (or “His Kingdom on earth”) to human beings with a free will. And not all human beings use their free will in the way God intended.
No excuse for leaving: But that is no excuse for leaving. In fact it is all the more reason for Christ’s faithful followers to stay within His kingdom and work all the harder. Our Faith tells us that there is a devil, and that this devil is opposed to Christ the King and His Church, and to everything that Christ stands for. And yes; in some respects the devil is stronger and smarter than we are. That is why at least in some instances it seems that the devil is winning.
Christ’s promise: But on the other hand we have Christ’s word that He would not abandon us or “leave us as orphans.” The solution to the problem is simple: Each and every one of us has to do what God puts in front of us to do. And we don’t have to worry or get upset about the possible outcome. In our own day and age, we have such a wonderful example in the (now Saint) Teresa of Calcutta. She certainly had many problems that she had to face in her life. Working for the poor is not always an easy or satisfying task. She must have been guided by the advice which she left for us, namely: “God does not expect us to be successful; He just wants us to remain faithful.” +