November 21, 2023 | Source & Summit
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Christ Pantocrator from Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai. It is regarded by historians and scholars to be one of the most important and recognizable works in the study of Byzantine art as well as Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christianity. PUBLIC DOMAIN

Source & Summit: Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

(The faithful) taking part in the Eucharistic sacrifice, which is the source and summit of the whole Christian life, offer the Divine Victim to God, and themselves along with it. 

-The Second Vatican Council fathers in Lumen Gentium, #11

Source & Summit is a feature of The Western Kentucky Catholic online, celebrating the National Eucharistic Revival: Year of Parish Revival. Intended to help Catholics of our parishes to probe the riches of our liturgical year and celebrate the liturgy well, the column will always start with the Bible readings for the Mass of the Day to help us reflect on, and help to “unpack” and expand our experiences at liturgy into the domestic church (the home) and the workplace.

Sunday reflections will be based on the Lord’s Day, the Liturgy, the Eucharist, and, occasionally, community.


Sunday, November 26, 2023:

Source & Summit: Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe


Ezekiel 34:11—12, 15—17 

Psalm 23:1—3, 5—6 

Corinthians 15: 20—26, 28 

Matthew 25:31—46


Since during the American Revolution they overthrew their unjust king, Americans have had little use for kings except for our cultural fascination with gossip surrounding the current royal family in Buckingham Palace… people who have unimaginable wealth but no actual power. So, what are we to do with a Catholic feast of Christ the KING?

Pope Pius XI put this rather modern observance (“Feast of Christ the King”) on the church’s calendar in 1925 to offset the rise of communism, ultra-nationalism with resulting dictatorships, and secularism. It was originally celebrated on the last Sunday of October before the double feasts of All Saints and All Souls, thereby proclaiming Jesus as Sovereign over all the living and the dead. In 1969 St. Paul VI elevated the feast to a Solemnity, expanded the title, and moved it to its present location, the last or 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time, to enhance “the eschatological importance of this Sunday.”

Despite its recent appearance, the roots and many nuances of this feast are deep in the biblical tradition. Especially in the Psalms, “King” is a frequent image/name of God, an image conveying power and authority. Most Jews expected that the long-awaited messiah would be a political-military king. Matthew’s Infancy Narrative (2:2) proclaims the newborn Jesus as “king of the Jews.” And while we can’t know what the adult Jesus in the Gospels was thinking, he clearly rejected the popular understanding of kingship, escaping a crowd who wanted to make him king (Jn. 6:15) and answering Pilate’s question (Jn. 18:33b, 36) by affirming that his kingdom was “not from this world.” Throughout his public ministry, he sought to teach and model an alternative kind of authority, though the Twelve never seemed to catch on (Mk. 10:37–37). It is John’s Gospel that offers us the clearest expression of Jesus’ radical kingship, a king who kneels before his friends and washes their feet (Jn. 13) and who reigns from the cross (Jn. 19:21–22).

Formed by the Gospels, then, democratic Americans can honor, give allegiance to, and serve this kind of king who doesn’t incorporate us into an oppressive political system but instead offers us a pattern of service based on human dignity and freedom. Jesus’ “kingdom” or reign, far from being wrapped up in power, titles, wealth, and privilege, is — as the preface of this feast proclaims — “a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love, and peace.” How could we Catholics not want to live with this kind of leader!

-Sr. Cheryl Clemons, OSU


To learn more about the Diocese of Owensboro’s celebration of the National Eucharistic Revival, visit

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Publisher |  Bishop William F. Medley
Editor |  Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
Contributors |  Riley Greif, Rachel Hall
Layout |  Rachel Hall
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