Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In today’s gospel, when the disciples were arguing among themselves that who would be the greatest, Jesus said to them: “If anyone wishes to be the first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Then Jesus placed a child among them and said: “Whoever receives one child like this in my name, receives me” (Mark 9:37). What does that mean to us? Let us consider two points:
First, what Jesus tried to point to his disciples when he placed his hands around the shoulders of that child is that the child had no status. In ancient times, children were simply disregarded by people-they had no opinions, they had no power or authority, they had nothing to offer. Therefore, to show favor to a child was worthless. Jesus’ purpose in this teaching is not to give innocence a high value but rather to give high value to the acceptance of those without power. When you accept someone whom everyone else considers of no account, then you are welcoming Jesus himself because Jesus made himself one among the least.
Each person is created by God and is therefore worthy of coming to the table of the Lord. The lowest, poorest, most despised human being is a true child of God and the same high price has been paid for them as for you and me-the price of the blood of Jesus, the Son of God shed on the cross. Therefore, we should recognize God’s image and respect the dignity in everyone we meet.
Second, a child is also a sign of a new life, of growth and development. To accept to be like a child is to accept to grow in our life. We are called to be children before the Lord in terms of being growing in faith, love and service to God and to others. If a young tree stops growing, it will be dead. In the same way we need to continue to grow spiritually and mentally in our life no matter how young or old we are. We invite you to come and grow in Faith with our community as we come together to worship the Lord and strengthen our fellowship in faith and hope.
Jesus invites us today to live a life of purity and virtue, a life free from moral conflicts and compromise, a life of growth in faith and service.
May the Lord bless us with his love and courage to live as children of light.
Christ the King Church was founded in 1940 to serve the African-American Catholics in High Point, and has since become a multi-ethnic parish celebrating both the diversity and unity of the Catholic faith and tradition. Then-Bishop Eugene F. McGuinness of Raleigh invited the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement of Graymoor, NY to staff the new mission in High Point in 1940. Father Bernardine Watson served as the first pastor, originally celebrating Mass in a funeral home. Through the generosity and perseverance of Father Watson and several benefactors, a clothing shop was acquired for use by the mission. While Mass continued to be celebrated there during much of 1941, the mission community members also turned their attention to building a new church and rectory on Kivett Drive. The new colonial-style church was dedicated by Bishop McGuinness Dec. 14, 1941.
During the 1940s and into the ’50s, the Christ the King parish community continued to grow. A school building and convent were built in 1949, and in 1950 the Franciscan Handmaids arrived from New York City to staff the school. The African-American communities, both Catholic and non-Catholic, of High Point, Thomasville and Greensboro were served by the new Christ the King School, which opened its doors to 50 students in September 1950. The friars continued their pastorate in High Point for the next several decades, cultivating a faith community that became continually more culturally diverse over time. A stained-glass window behind the church’s choir loft depicts that diversity, with Jesus surrounded by four individuals representing the African, Asian, European and Indian bloodlines that make up much of the parish community today.
Lowering enrollment, financial difficulties and the recalling of the sisters to New York forced Christ the King School to close in 1981. The diocesan office of education converted the school for use as a day care center, which began its operation in August 1981. That same year, Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement arrived at Christ the King Church to conduct the religious education program and other ministerial work, including assisting at the day care center. The center, still located on parish grounds, is now privately operated and continues to serve the area.
Upon the friars’ leaving High Point in 1991, Christ the King Church became a diocesan parish in December of that year. Fathers Martin Madison and John Hoover served the parish until December 1994, when Father Philip Kollithanath, was appointed to Christ the King Church. Assisting in the advancing growth of the Christ the King community have been many commissions and ministries focusing on the spiritual , educational, multicultural and evangelical dimensions of the parish. Parishioners gather to engage in Bible study , to learn English as a Second Language, to put their faith into action in the local community and to celebrate their ethnicity. A Hispanic center and bilingual religious education program provide sharing and learning opportunities for English and Spanish speaking parishioners, and the parish African-American Ministry offers outreach programs benefiting the local region. The Women’s Guild, Altar Guild, 55+ Club and Young & Spirited Group are active in parish and community services, and the evangelization commission provides for the spiritual needs of homebound parishioners through its Visitation Ministry. The community of Christ the King Church looks ahead to expansion and renovation projects that will accommodate the needs of a growing parish. One hundred and sixty-one households currently make up the parish registry.