Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The poinsettias are gone, the lights are down, Christmas season is over. Now we move on with the very beginning of Jesus’ public life, usually referred to as his ministry. In today’s gospel, we come upon John the Baptist who sees Jesus and points to him: “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). “Lamb of God”, we use that term so often in our liturgy to indicate that Jesus, the suffering Lamb who sacrifices himself for our salvation. That is great news, really the best news for all.
The question is why did the world need a Savior? Why did God’s son become a man to suffer and die for us? Well, we can’t tell God what he can and can’t do, or what is necessary or not necessary. But we can consider this: From the very beginning of the world, all creation was entrusted to human beings. But man, in his selfishness and self-centeredness, perverted the whole purpose for creation. Instead of glorifying God, man abused his freedom for his own selfish needs. But even so, God still did not take the gift of creation away from man. A man comes to restore creation to God’s original plan; that is Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Let us put this in this way: Mankind’s sin was that he was so wrapped up in himself that he had no room for God. He was concerned only of his selfish ambitions, using creation for his selfishness rather than a means of glorifying God. This is how man perverted God’s purpose for creation. As long as man lived like this, true love could not exist in the world. Without love, people could not give themselves to others because their only concept of life was to get, not to give. Life, therefore, was meaningless.
Jesus came to live as the Heavenly Father wants us all to live. He sacrificed himself completely for others so that we could experience sacrificial love. He called us to use creation as the Father meant creation to be used. God’s plan for mankind could once more be put into effect since the Son of God became a man. Still entrusted with creation, a man restores the world. That is why the world needs a Savior.
John the Baptist is the greatest of all the prophets. But we are called to be prophets too. Our task is the same, we are to invite people to look, to point out to Jesus that he is the Lamb of God, the only one who can save us and transform the world.
May God bless us all!
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.