- (Photo: Reuters/ )
Christians around the world gathered Sunday, Nov. 25 to honor the Feast of Christ the King, a Christian tradition celebrated on the last Sunday of the liturgical calendar to commemorate Jesus as the ruler of the universe.
Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the Feast of Christ the King at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy on Sunday, centering his homily on the origin of God's infinite power: love and truth.
"Jesus came to reveal and bring a new kingship, that of God; he came to bear witness to the truth of a God who is love, who wants to establish a kingdom of justice, love and peace," Benedict told those in attendance at Sunday's mass.
"Whoever is open to love hears this testimony and accepts it with faith, to enter the kingdom of God," he added.
In his opening prayer for Sunday's mass, Benedict stressed the importance of modern-day evangelism, a topic which the Pope has strongly emphasized over recent months.
"This Kingdom of Christ has been given to the Church, which is the seed and the beginning, and it has the task of proclaiming and spreading it among all nations by the power of the Holy Spirit," Pope Benedict told the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Additionally, thousands of Christians in Gujarat, India, partook in a public procession Sunday to commemorate the feast day.
According to the Daily News and Analysis of India (DNA), the procession consisted of a mile-long walk through the streets of Gujarat and included flower girls, Catholic bishops, and thousands of Christian devotees.
As Father Cedric Prakash, a Jesuit priest who was present at the procession, told the DNA, the importance of the feast day is to both celebrate the glory of Jesus as king of the universe, and to prove to fellow Christians that all are harmoniously connected under Jesus' reign.
"It is not about glory of being king, but about serving humanity," Prakash told the DNA.
As Rebecca Hamilton wrote on the Patheos faith blog on Nov. 25, the purpose of the feast day is to remind Christians that the summation of the Christian faith, "Jesus is Christ our King," should be a fact, rather than a hackneyed slogan.
"Jesus is Lord of our lives. This usage comes from the days when one's Lord was also his or her master; the ruling agent in a person's life to whom fealty was sworn. By saying that Jesus is Lord, people put Him above earthly rulers, saying, in effect, that they were, as St Thomas More put it, 'the king's good servant, but God's first,'" Hamilton, a17-year member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, wrote for Patheos.
"That understanding of what it really means when we say that Jesus is Lord of our lives has become watered down into a slogan. Given the serious times ahead for Christians, I think it is appropriate to go back to that original meaning and begin using it as a literal expression of fealty once again," Hamilton added.
"We must always in everything put Jesus first. If we do that, it will pit us against the world, true. But it will also enable us to become the instruments of His change by which He converts the world," she concluded.