Bishop Ricken

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The Most Rev. David L. Ricken is the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay.

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Celebrating the Solemnity of Christ the King

By Bishop David Ricken | November 2, 2021

My brothers and sisters, on Nov. 21, we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe. That day is the last Sunday of the liturgical year, with the following Sunday beginning the Season of Advent and a new year in the liturgical calendar. 

The Feast of Christ the King is a very important feast day. Traditionally, intercession to Christ the King is called upon during times of great turmoil and upheaval with pleas for his special intervention. Impassioned appeals are made to him during times like these, begging for his special intervention in the situations of the world, of families, of dioceses, of parishes and especially for civil and governmental leaders. 

In the Our Father we pray these words of Jesus: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus has directed us to pray this prayer to the Father and we do so regularly. 

So what is God’s Kingdom like? 

Scriptural references to the Kingdom of God abound. It is compared to a mustard seed, a pearl of great price and a wedding feast, and each of these images help us better understand a particular aspect of the Kingdom of God. But we must remember that, above all these images, the Kingdom of God is just what it says it is, God’s Kingdom. And that means that God is Sovereign Lord of all of creation, of the universe, of each and every nation. 

The good news is that God’s reign is not about ruling with an iron fist. No, God is the best ruler we could possibly have and, when he returns to earth, he will fully establish his Kingdom of love, respect, peace, joy and fullness of life. 

In the meantime, we must entrust ourselves to him and ask for the grace to be faithful to him in difficult times, which it seems are on the horizon more and more. We must be ready every day, brothers and sisters, for trials and sufferings and sacrifices, unlike anything we have faced in our lives previously. We must persevere through these trials and keep our eyes focused on Jesus. 

It is obvious that our nation is under great trial now with the aftereffect of the pandemic, as well as social, economic and political divisions that seem to grow each day. Countries with great antipathy to the United States are beating the drums of domination as they flex their muscles in many ways. There are even divisions in the church about fundamental moral questions, which are creating stress in the Body of Christ. In the midst of all this upheaval, brothers and sisters, we must remember that Jesus is our King. 

So, this year, on the Feast of Christ the King, at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, I will be entrusting all of you, our diocese, our state and our nation to Christ the King of All Nations. I have asked the priests and the parishes to do the same by praying a special litany prepared for this day. 

Friends, this is a time for fervent prayer and fasting, for calling one another back to Jesus, for committing or recommitting ourselves to living as disciples of Christ. Let us not delay, for we know not the day nor the hour of the Lord’s coming. I urge each of you to join me in entrusting your life to Christ the King and praying for our diocese, our state and our nation. With God as our King, we know that no evil can overcome us!

God bless each and every one of you!

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