This is the homily that I gave in Pecos and the surrounding communities the weekend I returned from my trip to Chiapas and Central America in the name of the Episcopal Conference of the United States. Our mission was to study the migration of unaccompanied children and youth to our country. I reflect on this experience in the light of the Feast of Christ the King.
Cristo Rey – Cycle C – November 23-24, 2013
What a surprising Gospel we have for the Feast of Christ the King! We are celebrating the King of the Universe –the One by whom the universe was created, the One who alone deserves our worship and obedience; He who has conquered sin and death!
But how do we find Christ in the Gospel today? – Naked, covered with blood and dirt, nailed to a cross, with a crown on his head – a crown of thorns.
The crowd is screaming and laughing. A criminal beside him is making fun of him. What kind of king would allow this treatment? What kind of king would want to leave his place of privilege to enter the experience of his subjects, suffering greatly at the hands of the wicked?
Only this King – Christ alone – our humble King and Savior of the world!
I think in this past week I encountered some of those who remind us most clearly for whom Christ came. I have been traveling with a team from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to Chiapas and Central America to study the experiences of migrants, particularly children and adolescents, who are traveling in numbers that have tripled within the last three years.
We heard about the violations of their basic human rights—the attacks, the rapes, kidnappings, extortion, etc., by gangs, cartels and government officials, particularly in Mexico.
The young people told us the reasons for their departures from their homes – about the threats they experienced at the hands of the gangs and cartels. They also told us of domestic violence, poverty, misery, and their desire to find their parents who came to this country many years ago.
When you hear these things it is hard to believe that a human being can treat another human being in this way. Especially the children and teens! I can’t imagine the aloneness, isolation and hopelessness they must feel in their journey. No money, no food, often without clothes and shoes that thieves have stolen. Imagine them trying to sleep in the cold desert night.
Who can comfort them but the One who has left His throne in heaven to walk with us through the passion of our lives even unto death?
That is our King!—the King who is Lord of the Universe and our meek and humble companion.
Look for him in all the trials and difficulties of life. Call him in your need and He will respond. There is no experience in life which our King cannot enter.
Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King!