On the feast of Christ the King, Nov. 20, Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre offered young Catholics a bit of a history and theology lesson.
About 150 students and young adults had gathered with the archbishop at the Cathedral of the Assumption for the Archdiocese of Louisville’s annual Young Adult Mass. The liturgy marked the pope’s new Global Celebration of Young People and the diocesan celebration of World Youth Day.
Preaching about the day’s feast, Archbishop Fabre explained that Jesus was called the King of the Jews, especially by the poor and the sick, because the role of a king “was not to be selfish” and was “to be certain everyone was asking after the needs of the poor.”
“Jesus Christ is the king of Israel as God understood what the king should be,” Archbishop Fabre said.
The day’s Gospel reading from the book of Luke told the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. The archbishop said it seems odd to tell the story of Jesus’ death on a day celebrating his kingship, but explained that the passage underscores “he is a king who reigns from a cross.”
“He came to save us, not himself. Jesus loves us to his own death. That was what the Israelite king was supposed to do,” the archbishop said.
Young Catholics came from around the archdiocese to attend the liturgy. Archbishop Fabre called them “an important part of the church today and the church of tomorrow.”
Following the liturgy, they were invited to the cathedral’s undercroft to share a meal and learn a different lesson from the archbishop.
Archbishop Fabre discussed the Global Celebration of Young People, which Pope Francis created in 2020. It coincides with the worldwide diocesan World Youth Day, which was moved in 2020 from Palm Sunday to the feast of Christ the King.
The theme for celebrating young people this year comes from Luke 1:39: “Mary rose and went with haste.”
The archbishop noted that another name for Mary, popular in his home state of Louisiana, is Our Lady of Prompt Succor. It means Our Lady of Quick Help.
“Mary went in haste, I would like to believe, in everything God asked of her,” the archbishop said.
And although Mary was blessed “in bringing the Messiah,” Archbishop Fabre said, she was blessed more so because she believed in him.
“In that way you and I can very much be like Mary,” he said. “In that way, the eyes through which the church sees Mary is as a disciple of Jesus Christ. … God has given to Mary nothing that he has not promised to us.”
When asked why the pope might have chosen that verse for the theme, Archbishop Fabre pondered a moment before saying, “Young people need to hear the word of God anew as Mary did.”
He also invited the young adults to consider journeying to Lisbon, Portugal, for the next global World Youth Day in the summer of 2023.
“There is something very powerful if you go to Portugal with young people from around the world,” he said. “Their presence there is because they want to be there with other young people, with other young Catholic people, and celebrate their faith.”