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Christ the King in the Catechism

{ Tags: , \ Oct14 }

I did a search on the SC Borromeo’s Catholic Catechism Search Engine for “Christ the king”. I was hoping to find more references to the idea after I found out that Quas primas is used in the Catechism only once, and this in paragraph 2105.

2105 The duty of offering God genuine worship concerns man both individually and socially. This is “the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ. (DH 1 § 3)” By constantly evangelizing men, the Church works toward enabling them “to infuse the Christian spirit into the mentality and mores, laws and structures of the communities in which [they] live.” (AA 13 § 1) The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church. (Cf. DH 1) Christians are called to be the light of the world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies. (Cf. AA 13; Leo XIII, Immortale Dei 3,17; Pius XI, Quas primas 8,20)

The last line I emboldened is the “spirit” behind the Feast of Christ the King which was instituted through Quas primas (1925) by Pius XI.

By searching through the Catechism for the words “Christ” and “king” as these appear in the same line, I was hoping to get more references for my homily for the Feast (which will fall this year on the second to last Sunday of November). The harvest was quite rich. So rich in fact that it provides me with an outline for homily and for a catechism lesson on the topic “The kingship of Christ and the Christian life.” Here is the result:

Paragraph 436 is an explanation of the word Christos and Christ’s three-fold office of priest, prophet and king while paragraph 695 deals with the symbolism of anointing and the Holy Spirit. This is interesting because of the way it explains the relationship of Confirmation to the Anointing of Jesus by the Holy Spirit as found in Scriptures (a sort of biblical theology of Confirmation). This is premised on the following closely linked and heavily referenced explanation of the Holy Spirit’s action in the Paschal Mystery:

  • An explanation of the title “Christos”.
  • An explanation of the way the Holy Spirit acted from the conception and birth of Jesus the Christ to His death and resurrection.
  • An explanation of how through the Holy Spirit, all men are gradually incorporated into the “Total Christ.”

The following paragraphs explain the way the People of God shares in the three-fold office of Christ.

Paragraph 783 talks about the Church as it shares in the three-fold office of Christ. Paragraph 1241 is about the anointing of sacred chrism in baptism. By this anointing, the Christian is
incorporated into Christ, priest, prophet and king.

In particular, paragraph 786 is on the way the Church participates in the royal office of Christ. A sermon of Leo the Great is used here to illustrate how this participation is lived by the Christian. Paragraph 1546 is about the Church’s sharing in the priestly office of Christ. Paragraph 1581 is about the ordination to the priesthood. By a special gift of the Holy Spirit, the priest is made a representative of Christ, Head of the Church, in his three-fold office as priest, prophet and king.

Four paragraphs are on the way the Church participates in the three-fold office of Christ in the Eucharist (1333), in the prayer of the Psalms (2579, 2665), and in the devotion to the “communion of saints” (957).

The last paragraph (58) is about those “who live in the Covenant of Noah” and the “heights of sanctity that can be reached” by them. Among these is Melchizedek, the king-priest,”a figure of Christ.” This paragraph should remind us that salvation for those who, even during our times live under the covenant with Noah, is a real possibility.

Search Results (by order of Relevance)

786 Finally, the People of God shares in the royal office of Christ. He exercises his kingship by drawing all men to himself through his death and Resurrection (Cf. Jn 12:32). Christ, King and Lord of the universe, made himself the servant of all, for he came “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mt 20:28)” For the Christian, “to reign is to serve him,” particularly when serving “the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder. (LG 8; cf. 36)” The People of God fulfills its royal dignity by a life in keeping with its vocation to serve with Christ.

The sign of the cross makes kings of all those reborn in Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit consecrates them as priests, so that, apart from the particular service of our ministry, all spiritual and rational Christians are recognized as members of this royal race and sharers in Christ’s priestly office. What, indeed, is as royal for a soul as to govern the body in obedience to God? And what is as priestly as to dedicate a pure conscience to the Lord and to offer the spotless offerings of devotion on the altar of the heart? (St. Leo the Great, Sermo 4,1:PL 54,149.)

783 Jesus Christ is the one whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and established as priest, prophet, and king. The whole People of God participates in these three offices of Christ and bears the responsibilities for mission and service that flow from them (Cf. John Paul II, RH 18-21).

58 The covenant with Noah remains in force during the times of the Gentiles, until the universal proclamation of the Gospel (Cf. Gen 9:16; Lk 21:24; DV 3). The Bible venerates several great figures among the Gentiles: Abel the just, the king-priest Melchisedek – a figure of Christ – and the upright “Noah, Daniel, and Job” (Cf. Gen 14:18; Heb 7:3; Ezek 14:14). Scripture thus expresses the heights of sanctity that can be reached by those who live according to the covenant of Noah, waiting for Christ to “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” (Jn 11:52).

1241 The anointing with sacred chrism, perfumed oil consecrated by the bishop, signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit to the newly baptized, who has become a Christian, that is, one “anointed” by the Holy Spirit, incorporated into Christ who is anointed priest, prophet, and king. (Cf. RBC 62)

1581 This sacrament configures the recipient to Christ by a special grace of the Holy Spirit, so that he may serve as Christ’s instrument for his Church. By ordination one is enabled to act as a representative of Christ, Head of the Church, in his triple office of priest, prophet, and king.

695 Anointing. The symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit (Cf. 1 Jn 2:20:27; 2 Cor 1:21), to the point of becoming a synonym for the Holy Spirit. In Christian initiation, anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation, called “chrismation” in the Churches of the East. Its full force can be grasped only in relation to the primary anointing accomplished by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus. Christ (in Hebrew “messiah”) means the one “anointed” by God’s Spirit. There were several anointed ones of the Lord in the Old Covenant, pre-eminently King David (31 Cf. Ex 30:22-32; 1 Sam 16:13). But Jesus is God’s Anointed in a unique way: the humanity the Son assumed was entirely anointed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit established him as “Christ. (Cf. Lk 418-19; Isa 61:1)” The Virgin Mary conceived Christ by the Holy Spirit who, through the angel, proclaimed him the Christ at his birth, and prompted Simeon to come to the temple to see the Christ of the Lord (Cf. Lk 2:11,26-27). The Spirit filled Christ and the power of the Spirit went out from him in his acts of healing and of saving (Cf. Lk 4:1; 6:19; 8:46). Finally, it was the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead (Cf. Rom 1:4; 8:11). Now, fully established as “Christ” in his humanity victorious over death, Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit abundantly until “the saints” constitute – in their union with the humanity of the Son of God – that perfect man “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13; cf. Acts 2:36)”: “the whole Christ,” in St. Augustine’s expression.

2665 The prayer of the Church, nourished by the Word of God and the celebration of the liturgy, teaches us to pray to the Lord Jesus. Even though her prayer is addressed above all to the Father, it includes in all the liturgical traditions forms of prayer addressed to Christ. Certain psalms, given their use in the Prayer of the Church, and the New Testament place on our lips and engrave in our hearts prayer to Christ in the form of invocations: Son of God, Word of God, Lord, Savior, Lamb of God, King, Beloved Son, Son of the Virgin, Good Shepherd, our Life, our Light, our Hope, our Resurrection, Friend of mankind. . . .

957 Communion with the saints. “It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself” (LG 50; cf. Eph 4:1-6):

We worship Christ as God’s Son; we love the martyrs as the Lord’s disciples and imitators, and rightly so because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also be their companions and fellow disciples! (Martyrium Polycarpi, 17:Apostolic Fathers II/3,396)

1546 Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church “a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.” (Rev 1:6; cf. Rev 5:9-10; 1 Pet 2:5,9) The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are “consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood.” (LG 10 § 1)

2579 David is par excellence the king “after God’s own heart,” the shepherd who prays for his people and prays in their name. His submission to the will of God, his praise, and his repentance, will be a model for the prayer of the people. His prayer, the prayer of God’s Anointed, is a faithful adherence to the divine promise and expresses a loving and joyful trust in God, the only King and Lord. (Cf. 2 Sam 7:18-29) In the Psalms David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is the first prophet of Jewish and Christian prayer. The prayer of Christ, the true Messiah and Son of David, will reveal and fulfill the meaning of this prayer.

436 The word “Christ” comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah, which means “anointed”. It became the name proper to Jesus only because he accomplished perfectly the divine mission that “Christ” signifies. In effect, in Israel those consecrated to God for a mission that he gave were anointed in his name. This was the case for kings, for priests and, in rare instances, for prophets (Cf. Ex 29:7; Lev 8:12; 1 Sam 9:16; 10:1; 16:1,12-13; 1 Kings 1:39; 19:16.). This had to be the case all the more so for the Messiah whom God would send to inaugurate his kingdom definitively (Cf. Ps 2:2; Acts 4:26-27). It was necessary that the Messiah be anointed by the Spirit of the Lord at once as king and priest, and also as prophet (Cf. Isa 11:2; 61:1; Zech 4:14; 6:13; Lk 4:16-21). Jesus fulfilled the messianic hope of Israel in his threefold office of priest, prophet and king.

1333 At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord’s command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: “He took bread. . . .” “He took the cup filled with wine. . . .” The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation. Thus in the Offertory we give thanks to the Creator for bread and wine (Cf. Ps 104:13-15), fruit of the “work of human hands,” but above all as “fruit of the earth” and “of the vine” – gifts of the Creator. The Church sees in the gesture of the king-priest Melchizedek, who “brought out bread and wine,” a prefiguring of her own offering. (Gen 14:18; cf. Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 95)

On the Gospel Reading for Christ the King:

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