Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies
THE COLLECTS OF THE ROMAN MISSAL: OCTOBER 29th, 2017 A.D. - CHRIST THE KING
For this week's meditation on the Collects of the Roman Missal, we consider the Collect for the Feast of Christ the King, celebrated on the last Sunday of October in the Extraordinary Form (MR '62). In the Ordinary Form (MR '70), this feast is celebrated on the last Sunday before Advent. Below is the translation of the Collect from the MR '62 in the Angelus Press edition of the Daily Roman Missal:
"Almighty and everlasting God, Who in Thy beloved Son, the King of the whole world, hast willed to restore all things, mercifully grant that all the families of nations now kept apart by the wound of sin, may be brought under the sweet yoke of His rule: Who with Thee liveth and reigneth, etc. Amen."
The ascription clause of this Collect proclaims that God has willed to restore all things in Christ the King. Today's Epistle furnishes us with a proper (and beautiful) hermeneutic of the Collect. In his Epistle to the Colossians, St. Paul reveals to his mixed audience of Jews and Gentiles the mystery of the one communion of the Church, a kingdom of which they are made citizens by Christ's redeeming Blood (St. Paul stresses this message in his Epistle to the Ephesians, as well, and in some other passages of his Epistles).
It may not be intuitive in an age that declines vigorously from organized religion, but God's the Father's plan of salvation is both offered fully and realized perfectly in the communion of his Son's Mystical Body, the Church. This has always been the teaching of the Catholic Church. This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says regarding the Church's essence and purpose in an excerpt from no. 760, as well as no. 775:
"Christians of the first centuries said, 'The world was created for the sake of the Church.' God created the world for the sake of communion with His divine life, a communion brought about by the 'convocation' of men in Christ, and this 'convocation' is the Church."
"'The Church, in Christ, is like a sacrament - a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men.' The Church's first purpose is to be the sacrament of the inner union of men with God. Because men's communion with one another is rooted in that union with God, the Church is also the sacrament of the unity of the human race. In her, this unity is already begun, since she gathers men 'from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues'; at the same time, the Church is the 'sign and instrument' of the full realization of the unity yet to come."
Thus, the Church is the means of inviting every human person into a real, visible, full, and eternal union with God, both now, and in the perfection in heaven. Consequently, the Church fosters authentic reconciliation among individuals and whole communities, a reconciliation born of that essential and prior reconciliation with God.
For St. Paul, this truth was essential for the hot-button issue of Jew and Gentile unity (a unity clearly intended by Christ Himself in the Gospels). While this particular pastoral problem may not be so pressing in our time, the truth of the Church's nature and purpose very much applies in any situation where human beings are divided from God and one another "by the wound of sin." Put plainly, you and I, and everyone else we know, needs Christ's Church and all the means of grace offered therein, because we need to be healed by the Precious Blood of Christ, to be reconciled to God, and so to receive His gift of divine life (cf. 2 Cor. 5:20; Catechism nos. 773, 1129).(David Allen)
|Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.