November 25, 2018
Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
The Last Sunday After Pentecost
CHRIST THE KING
We come today to the Last Sunday of the Church’s Year of Grace, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. Next week when we come to Holy Mass we will see the solemn and somber color of violet reminding us that we have placed our feet once more along the path of holiness as we begin a New Year of Grace on the First Sunday in Advent. The poet T.S. Eliot wrote in his wonderful poem Ash Wednesday that the Church journeys as a ship along the violet and violet of the seas. He was referring to one Advent following another.
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King is of relatively recent origin; it was established only in 1923. At that time an unprecedented persecution of the Church had begun both in Spain and in Mexico. During the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939 over 4,000 priests were killed in Spain and more than 20,000 religious sisters and brothers. Many were killed in terrible ways. Some were clubbed into unconsciousness and fed to the wild animals of the zoos. Among the many martyred religious were a great number of members of the Marianist Order who serve St. Paul’s in such a dedicated and Christ-like way. And in Mexico, churches were burned and many were tortured in unbelievable ways. This official persecution of the Church in Mexico lasted until 1992. Blessed Miguel Pro was executed before a firing squad for Christ the King on November 23, 1927. His dying words were Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King!
At the time the Church established the Feast of Christ the King. This was to remind all the faithful that Our Lord is not only the Lord and God of individuals but also of nations and all society. As our father and patron St. Paul the Apostle reminds us, Oportet illum regnare. (He must reign). Christ is King of all the faithful but also of all the nations. Therefore all of society must be subject to his rule. When the Spanish and Mexican martyrs were being executed they cried out Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King!
May we too ever have that phrase upon our lips. May Christ reign in our hearts and souls; may Christ reign over our families; may Christ reign over our nation and all the peoples of the world!
VOLUNTEERS AND FOUNDING PARISHIONERS: Today at the 9.30am Mass we honor all the parish volunteers and bless them. It is most fitting that we do so on this Feast but also on the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day. For without our volunteers we would have no parish. Today also we honor and bless all of our Founding Parishioners. These heroic men and women founded our parish and remember Mass being celebrated even before the Church was built. They are our founders in the faith and today we recognize and honor their service. We also pray for all our former pastors: Monsignor Potterton, Father Galloway, Monsignor Eugene Murphy, Monsignor Costa and Monsignor Clerkin. May God reward and bless each of them. Finally, may I extend sincere gratitude to all of you, the parishioners of St. Paul. Your sacrificial giving allows all of the wonderful things happening at St. Paul’s to occur. I never forget you in my prayers because I realize that every crust of bread that touches my lips is your gift.
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE: December 12th is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Empress of the Americas. It is under that title, the River of Light, that Our Lady is the Protectress of all the peoples of the Americas, both North America and South America. Our Lady appeared to a humble Aztec, St. Juan Diego, on the Tepeyac Hill outside Mexico City four times between December 9, 1531 and December 12, 1531 – 487 years ago. There she said I have come to make known, to manifest, and to demonstrate my love, for all the peoples of these lands (North and South America). She asked that a Church be built on the Hill and finally she left us the miraculous image that is the most visited object on earth in the Basilica in Mexico City.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda