Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today we enter the city of Jerusalem with Jesus. In a few days, we will witness his Last Supper and his passion and death on the cross. It is clear that the suffering of Jesus is the most prominent feature in today’s passion story. However, it is necessary to insist that this story is not primarily about suffering: it is also about love and compassion. It was Jesus’ love for us that brought him to his passion and death, and it was his love for us that opened the way for our redemption. The suffering was a consequence of his loving.
The Lord’s first words of compassion in the passion story of Luke were the establishment of the Eucharist at the last super: “This is my Body which will be given for you”, and “This is my Blood, the Blood of the new covenant.” Jesus broke himself for us, and he shed his blood for our salvation.
Next, Jesus addressed to Peter. Jesus told Peter that He had prayed for him that his faith might not fail. After that, Peter should return and strengthen his brothers. Jesus saw Peter’s weakness, and has already forgiven him. The morning of Good Friday, Peter denied the Lord three times. Then there was that moment, that moment when Jesus was led from the Sanhedrin of the Jews to Pilate. He passed by Peter. Perhaps, their eyes met. Peter recognized his weakness and began to weep bitterly.
And then Jesus addressed the women of Jerusalem on the way to Calvary, He told them that He was more concerned with what would happen to them and their children than with what that was happening to Himself.
When He was crucified, His first words were, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Jesus forgave them all. Even with the Good Thief, Jesus said: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
Jesus accepted all the sufferings and pains because he loves us; he dies for our sins so that we are able to live. He embraces the cross because he wants us to be saved; he shows us the way to salvation. The way of the cross is the way to obtain salvation.
There are many kinds of suffering, but only the suffering that comes from love and faith is redemptive. We do have different kinds of suffering in our life. Whatever pains or sufferings imposed on us, if we accept them with hope and faith in the Lord, and with love for our family and for our brothers and sisters, we are bringing the salvation of Jesus to them.
Today we enter the city of Jerusalem with our Lord; we walk with Jesus this week. To walk with him is to feel the pain that comes to the Lord. We feel his love and compassion for each of us. Let us embrace our daily cross with faith and love in order to follow Jesus.
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.