In the Lectionary

November 22, RoC (Matthew 25:31-46)


On Christ the King Sunday, let’s disentangle Jesus from the idols of our time.

Christ the King Sunday is one of the more recent additions to the Western liturgical calendar. Pope Pius XI instituted it in 1925, when, as Silas Henderson writes, “a world that had been ravaged by the First World War . . . had begun to bow down before the ‘lords’ of exploitative consumerism, nationalism, secularism, and new forms of injustice. . . . Pope Pius envisioned a dominion by a King of Peace who came to reconcile all things, who came not to be served but to serve.”

A very quick historical survey of 1925 reveals the following events:

  • Benito Mussolini dissolved the Italian parliament and became a dictator.
  • US president Calvin Coolidge proposed phasing out the inheritance tax.
  • In Munich, Adolf Hitler resurrected his political party.
  • Teacher John T. Scopes was arrested for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in Tennessee.
  • A strike for higher wages at a Japanese-owned cotton mill in Shanghai resulted in the mill’s management committing brutalities against strike supporters.
  • Hitler’s Mein Kampf was published.
  • As many as 40,000 members of the Ku Klux Klan paraded in Washington, DC. The Klan had 5 million members, making it the largest fraternal organization in the United States.
  • Immigration to the United States from Italy dropped by nearly 90 percent. Immigration from Britain dropped by 53 percent.

And the Spanish flu pandemic had ended just seven years prior.