Frederich Nietzche, the German philosopher said, “God is dead.” In 1966 Time Magazine published a cover story that asked, “Is God Dead?” Is it God dead or alive for you and me? We celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King- King of the Universe, which marks the end of the Liturgical year. The only a minority will say God is dead, but lots of us live like God is dead. Our God is alive, he is with us.
November 23, 1927. The dirty walls of the place of execution resounded with the shout, “Viva Cristo Rey!” Blessed Miguel Pro of Mexico, a priest of the Society of Jesus, lived during a very trying time for the Mexican people. As he was waiting for the shots that would end his earthly life and begin a new life in the kingdom of Heaven, he forgave his executioners, and spreading out his arms in the form of a cross he cried out “Viva Cristo Rey!” “Long live Christ the King!” His cry gave courage and determination to people of Mexico, to restore the reign of Jesus the King in a place where Catholics were persecuted since the time of Elizabeth I of England.
Today in the Gospel two criminals were on the cross with Jesus. One recognizes Jesus as his King, and Jesus promises him Paradise. Everything changes because we are members of his kingdom. We have experienced the love of Jesus. We need to live for Christ. We need to spread this love to others. We cannot be vengeful. We cannot be people of hate. We cannot allow or support any form of prejudice or bigotry. We are the people of Jesus Christ. We cannot join those who live in a way that says, “We don’t need God.”
We do need God. We need to proclaim to others with our lives, “Jesus is your king too.” Jesus, remember us when you come into your kingdom.
Mother Teresa told this story in an address to the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994. “One evening several of our Sisters went out, and we picked up four people from the street. One of them was in a most terrible condition. So I told the other Sisters, ‘You take care of the other three: I will take care of this one who looks the worst.’ So I did for the woman everything that my love could do. I cleaned her and put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hands and said two words in her language, Bengali: ‘Thank you.’ Then she died. I could not help but examine my conscience. I asked myself, ‘What would I say if I were in her place?’ My answer was simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself. I would have said, ‘I am hungry, I am dying, I am in pain.’ But the woman gave me much more; she gave me grateful love, dying with a grateful smile on her face. It means that even those with nothing can give us the gift of thanks.” Happy Thanksgiving!!
I would like to take this opportunity to say “THANK YOU” to all our cluster parishioners, councils and committee members, people serving as different ministers, Cluster staff, benefactors and well-wishers…“THANK YOU!”