Texts for Christ the King

Fun with some texts at the last Sunday of the Roman liturgical year. I rather liked the opening prayer for this Sunday, cycle B, in MR2:

It’s a simple form.  The first sentence offers a taste of today’s New Testament reading (Revelation 1:5) as well as the pericope from Daniel 7. The three petitions of the second sentence do two things. First, they describe the nature of the rule of Jesus in the universe and among people. And two, they inspire an important Christian value: the imitation of the Lord in our lives. Also, so much for a loss of a sense of sacrifice. Here is the MR2 English translation of the preface assigned for today’s observance:

And for contrast, what you likely heard at Mass today from the MR3:

For you anointed your Only Begotten Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ, with the oil of gladness
as eternal Priest and King of all creation,
so that, by offering himself on the altar of the Cross
as a spotless sacrifice to bring us peace,
he might accomplish the mysteries of human redemption,
and, making all created things subject to his rule,
he might present to the immensity of your majesty
an eternal and universal kingdom,
a kingdom of holiness and grace,
a kingdom of justice, love and peace.

Commentary:

  • Even if the MR2 is a paraphrase, in English, it’s a superior composition. It clarifies the two important roles of Jesus Christ in two separate and distinct sentences. 
  • In contrast, the meaning in MR3, while clear to someone reading, gets muddled. The way the sentence reads in English, it is both the role as priest and king that leads to both actions–sacrifice and the presentation of his kingdom to the Father.
  • Let’s not get started on the run-on sentence: eleven lines, no period; really?
  • I think the description of the kingdoms is the highlight of the prayer for me. If I were unaware of the liturgical year and didn’t know where or when I was, when I hear that phrase, I’d know it was the observance of Christ the King.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Texts for Christ the King

  1. Devin Rice says:

    Well, as the 1998 collect, it is okay. Not sure if the Gospel requires us pray for the desire of every “privilege and power”. I mean the exercise of power in the Kingdom of Christ is different than how worldly power is exercised, but there is still power and privilege in the Kingdom. The Virgin Mary sits on Christ’s right and St. John the Baptism sits on his left. The Apostles currently sit in authority.

    As for the preface, it is a bit wordy, but an important point is made. Originally the office of priest and king/father were one. It wasn’t until Moses’ sin that that the priesthood was separated from his kingship role and given to Aaron. However these two “roles” or “powers” were restored into one in Christ as part of his healing of creation.

    A dynamic translation that respects the underlying thought process might read:

    For with the oil of gladness,
    you anointed your Only Begotten Son,
    as eternal Priest and King of all creation.
    By his self-offering on the Cross,
    he accomplishes the mysteries of human redemption,
    and makes all created things subject to his rule
    so that he might present to your infinite majesty,
    an eternal and universal kingdom,
    a kingdom of holiness and grace,
    a kingdom of justice, love and peace.

  2. Good points. I was also thinking of that threefold office into which each baptized Christian is anointed–more of a liturgical touchstone for the listener.

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