At the Traditional Mass we sang yesterday, Fr Millar preached an excellent sermon (as he always does).
He started by reminding us of the shift in emphasis on the Feast of Christ the King, that was part of the changes when the date was changed.
In the new Calendar and new Lectionary, it is principally an eschatalogical feast: looking forward to Christ's reign at the end of time: hence its position at the end of the Church's year.
However, in the traditional calendar and lectionary, in line with the intentions of Pope Pius XI who instituted it, the focus is on the kingship of Christ now: and what we should do to be part of bringing that about. Read Quas Primas for details: 'When once men recognise, both in private and public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony.' The feast was therefore, appropriately, placed on the Sunday before the Feast of All Saints.
Father Millar went on to quote St John Paul II on the implications of this, and to recommend to us what we should do, as he generally does. As I say, his sermons are good: always instructive in both senses of the word.
So celebrating this great feast set a few thoughts going for me: one was simply how relevant a theme that was; and how curious it was that the modernisers, in their apparent pursuit of relevance, managed to make it less immediate.
The second was prompted by the Gospel, and the character of Pilate, who famously asked 'What is truth?' How much is he the spirit of our age! An age which proclaims that the humanity of an unborn child depends on whether its mother (or anyone putting pressure on her) 'wants' it; an age which proclaims a man can decide that he is really a woman, and thereby become one; an age in which even some in the Church seem to think that adultery is only a sin if you feel guilty about it, that contraception is a sin unless used 'in good conscience' and that homosexual acts can be a true and good sign of love between two people of the same sex.
Against all this stands Christ the King who declares the primacy of Truth: that is Himself.
And in the light of the Synod it is worth reminding ourselves that His Teaching and His Mercy are both facets of that Truth, which is ultimately Love Incarnate; and therefore that anyone who pursues doctrine without mercy has parted company from Christ - as has anyone who tries to separate mercy from doctrine.
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