Posted by: frroberts | November 26, 2017

A homily for Christ the King

 In 1917, after several years of civil war, a group of anti-Catholic Masons seized power in Mexico. These dictators imposed a new constitution on the overwhelmingly Catholic nation. The constitution mandated the seizure of all of the Church’s property, dissolved monasteries, made Catholic schools illegal, placed seminaries under state supervision and dramatically curtailed when and how frequently Mass could be celebrated. These anti-clerical laws, which are still on the books in Mexico, are an absolute affront to human dignity. After nearly a decade of peaceful resistance to state-sanctioned anti-Catholic violence, Catholics in Mexico had finally had enough. They took up arms in order to defend their freedom of religion.
    During this popular uprising, Catholic priests became public enemy number one in the eyes of the thugs who controlled the Mexican government. In many parts of Mexico, priests were so hunted that they could only escape the police firing squad by going into hiding. These were truly dark days in Mexican history.
    Onto this scene came Father Miguel Agustin Pro. Due to the violence against the Church, Pro’s Jesuit superiors sent him to study theology in Europe and the United States. He was ordained a priest in the US in 1925. A year later, his superiors permitted him to return to his native Mexico during the height of the anti-Catholic reign of terror.
    Father Pro wanted to bring the sacraments to his people, many of whom had not seen a priest in years because the priests had either been executed or were in hiding. For several months, he adopted clever disguises, always staying one step ahead of the government authorities. After nearly a year of clandestine priestly ministry, he was arrested on trumped up treason charges. He was sentenced to death by firing squad without a trial. The Mexican government invited the international press to Pros execution. In the eyes of Mexico and the whole world, Father Pro forgave his executioners, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. He refused the blindfold offered him and extended arms in the form of a Cross as he was being murdered and cried out Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King!
    The Mexican government, like so many governments all over the world during the 20th century, turned its back on Jesus Christ. The streets all over the country ran red with the blood of priests and nuns, public squares were filled with the hanging bodies of the faithful who refused to betray their priests and the foul stench of burning churches choked the air of Mexican cities.
Blessed Miguel Pro died out of love for Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe and Lord of all creation. He died trying to bring Jesus to his beloved flock. He died forgiving his enemies and praying for their conversion.
But of what exactly does this Kingdom of Christ consist?
    2 Samuel recounts David’s reception of kingship over Gods Chosen People. This kingship prefigures Christs kingship. Like David, Christ is anointed by God as a shepherd to defend the weak and protect the poor. When we had all gone astray in our sins and were headed toward eternal death, Christ our Good Shepherd laid His life down to save us. From the Cross, He calls each one of us by name, inviting us to let Him put us on His shoulders and bring us to safety.
We read in Scriptures that David was a King after Gods own heart. This is because David learned how to forgive others by being forgiven for his own sins. As we gaze on the Cross and see our Saviors Sacred Heart, pierced by our offenses yet overflowing with mercy, we cannot help but realize that mercy is the foundation of Christs Kingdom.
    We need this mercy!
    Every one of us is a sinner. There is not one of us who has not reviled Christ present in our brothers and sisters through our sins. Like the good thief, we know that we deserve to suffer for all eternity. But, we believe that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. All we need to do is confess ours sins: Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom.
What is Jesus’ response to this humble plea?
    “Amen, I say to you, today, you will be with me in paradise.”
    If we think for a moment about the meaning of these words, they should send chills up and down our spine. God loves us so much that He died that we might have true life in Him. In this supreme act of love, Jesus made us fit to share the inheritance of the saints in His Kingdom.
    This Kingdom is not something that will only be experience in the next world. Gods wants us to know it today. Of course, it is true that the fulfillment of the Kingdom will not come until when Jesus comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead. But, we are offered the first fruits of this Heavenly Kingdom in the Catholic Church. We can experience Gods merciful love when we receive absolution and our sins are forgiven. We experience it when we receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. We experience God’s merciful love when we hear the Word of God being faithfully transmitted by bishops and priests in the Church.
Father Miguel Pro was murdered by the Mexican government for the crime of being a Catholic priest, for being a personal representative of Christ our King. He chose to lose his natural life so that his flock could gain eternal life through fruitful reception of the Sacraments and by being taught the Catholic faith. He knew that there is nothing that brings us happiness like receiving Christs merciful love.
    Through the intercession of Blessed Miguel Pro, may we too work to build up this Kingdom of Christ in God’s Holy Church.

Responses

  1. First, I am not a blogger but I agree with your article in Crisis Magazine about Bishop Barron. Bishop Barron also says he believes very few people will go to Hell-now really, does he have a crystal ball.

    Like


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