Liturgy Corner November 14, 2021 - The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Next Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.  It is the last Sunday of the liturgical year and was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925.  Devotion to Christ the King was particularly strong in Mexico during the time of the persecutions of the Catholic Church from about 1918 to 1940.  The battle cry of the Cristeros and of many of the Catholic martyrs there was “Viva Cristo Rey” (Long live Christ the King!).The same battle cry was also on the lips of many of the martyrs of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.  During this war, the Reds symbolically executed a statue of Christ the King.  The color for Sunday is white symbolizing our recognition of Jesus as King.  

We begin the liturgical year the next Sunday with Advent, a time of preparation for the birth of Jesus.  The liturgical year is a circle, coming to full circle next Sunday and then continuing the cycle keeping in mind that a circle has no beginning and no end.  The color for Advent is violet or purple symbolizing penance.  Christmas is always December 25.  To find the first Sunday of Advent, we count backwards four Sundays.  Because December 25 falls on a Saturday this year, the fourth week of Advent will be almost a full 7 days.  Pope St. Gregory the Great (d. 604) set the number of Sundays in Advent to 4.  Advent has a twofold significance: first it is a time of preparation for the Feast of the Lord’s Birth; second, it is a time of waiting for Jesus’ second coming.  Since the 12th century, the season has been regarded as a time of “joyful penance.”  Gay Snell