Don Bosco Philippines South Province

Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippine South Province FIS

Viva Christo Rey

In the 1920’s, Mexico was under the rule of an anti-clerical and anti-catholic President Plutarco Calles. He began to fiercely persecute the Church of Mexico enforcing particularly the 1917 Constitution implementing the so-called “Calles Law.” This law imposes specific penalties for priests. For example, priests who criticize the government are given 5 years imprisonment; or wearing the soutana or clerical habit outside the churches will have P500 penalty. He closed down many churches and persecuted or threatened priests even killing many of them such that many were forced to go “underground.”
Fr. Miguel Pro, a Jesuit priest, lived in such circumstances.
He celebrated mass clandestinely and ministered the sacraments “underground” because Catholicism has been outlawed. It was a crime to be a Christian and to practice the faith. He even had many disguises and had to invent a nickname to avoid the authorities. Because of such “secret activities” he was under surveillance. He was finally given a false charge of assassination attempt of Ex-president Alvaro Obregon so that he could be arrested. On November 13, 1927 President Calles gave orders to have Fr. Miguel executed. His death sentence was made public. He was photographed and newspapers throughout the country carried them on front pages. He was to die on firing squad in the morning of November 23, 1927.
            Before the firing squad, Fr. Miguel blessed the soldiers, knelt and prayed silently. Refusing to be blindfolded, he faced his executioners with a crucifix on one hand and a rosary on the other with arms outstretched. When the shots were fired, he shouted at the top of his voice: Viva Christo Rey! (Long live Christ the King!)
            More than 60 years later, in 1988, Pope John Paul II visited Mexico and was welcomed by its President. On that occasion, he beatified this priest who died a martyr of his faith. He was not wrong in believing that Christ is the King of history.
            On this solemnity of Christ the King, the Gospel (Luke 23:35-43) presents to us Jesus as a different kind of king. He reigns not from a golden throne but from the cross. Like the “suffering servant” of Isaiah, he is despised, rejected and ridiculed. He is a crucified king. Jesus is a unique king with a unique kingdom: he wants to reign and rule in the hearts of all men and women of the world.
            As King, Jesus had 3 challenges for us:
1.      We surrender to His Rule – we allow Him to take control of our lives. He wants to be king and center of our hearts. A story is told about a mother who has a very naughty 7 year old boy. Exasperated by his mischievousness, she tells him to sit to scold him. She looks into his eyes as she tells him: “Carlo, do you know who is in-charge of this house?” And her son, without blinking an eye replies: “Yes mom, it’s Jesus. Not you!”
Yes, we know this fact. But because of our naughtiness as children of God, the fact of Jesus being “in-charge of our life” is still far from reality.
2.      We support Christ’s Message: we mirror Christ’s values. We replicate his examples. We serve and work to build a better world, a more compassionate and caring society.
3.      We stay connected with Him: as his loyal followers, we strive to imitate Christ especially His nobility of heart. A story is told about a farmer’s son who was often teased by his classmates because he was poor. To console him, his father told him the truth – that he was actually his adopted son. His real father was the king and when he is of age, he will bring him back to the palace and return him to the king. This filled the boy with amazement. He came out from that conversation changed! He still continued to do his ordinary chores but now with dignity and nobility as the son of a king. Even those who teased him noticed the difference. And when asked why, he said: “I may be poor, but there is royalty in my blood.”
            As we go home, we may continue doing our ordinary routine – at home, in school or at work. But as we live our ordinary lives, let us not forget that there is royalty in our blood. We are sons and daughters of God. We are heirs of the kingdom. We shall inherit the earth.
Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.

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