Christ the King

Father Shawn Hughes

November 26, 2017



Homilies are never the creative act of one person.  So as we begin to post these homilies on our website I would like to state first and foremost that there will be nothing original in the following. My homilies are a result of my prayer, reading and study as it pertains to the particular gospel of the week.  Thus, I beg, borrow and steal from the wisdom of those who have gone before me and together with the Holy Spirit acting in my own prayer considering the needs of our particular parish community here at St. Mary’s, a homily appears by the weekend. If there is something that edifies you I can take no credit for it.  ‘Tis the result of the work of the Holy Spirit and those from whom I have gleaned wisdom over time.  If there is something that you might wish to discuss I am always available and would welcome any opportunity to speak about the Scriptures.  

God bless you.

Father Shawn





     “¡Viva Cristo Rey!”–Long live Christ the King!– these were the last words Father Miguel Agustin Pro uttered before he was executed,…shot before a firing squad, in 1927 in Mexico…the crime…being a Catholic priest and serving his flock.

Father Pro was born into a prosperous, devout family in Guadalupe, Mexico, he entered the Jesuits in 1911, but three years later fled to Granada, Spain, because of religious persecution in Mexico. He was ordained in Belgium in 1925 and immediately returned to Mexico, where he served the underground Church celebrating the Eucharist and the other sacraments in secret. The government of the day, under President Calles (K-eye-ez)  was very anti-clerical and sought to suppress the practice of Catholicism, and the power of all Catholic institutions. Priests and Religious were forbidden to wear distinctive garb; forbidden to comment on politics and forbidden to celebrate the Sacraments.


In 1927, he and his brother Roberto were arrested under false charges. His brother was spared, but Father Miguel was sentenced to face a firing squad on November 23, 1927.  On that day he prayerfully walked to the site at which he was to be executed.  He blessed the members of the firing squad, stood facing them with a crucifix in one hand and a rosary in the other.  He shouted: “May God have mercy on you.  May God Bless you.  Lord you know that I am innocent.  With all my heart I forgive my enemies.”  As the firing squad was ordered to shoot he raised his arms and shouted: ““¡Viva Cristo Rey!”–Long live Christ the King!”   President Calles (K-eye-ez) had the execution photographed and splashed across the pages of the newspapers the next day in an attempt to frighten all Catholics.  It had the opposite effect.  Thousands upon thousands showed up for his funeral.


Long live Christ the King.  This King,…this King that Father Miguel, now Blessed Miguel, laid down his life for is the King we celebrate on this Solemnity of Christ the King.


Today’s gospel is very strong.   Jesus Christ portrays with prophetic certainty his own glorious return at the end of time as Judge and King. All the nations of the world will come before him to be judged; all the angels make up his royal court; he holds in his hands the eternal destiny of every man and woman of all time. This passage leaves no room for us to wonder about who Christ really is!  He is the Lord of all life and all history.  The Lord of the Universe.  He is the God of glory.


Scripture calls him the king of kings and the Lord of lords: he alone is the holy one, the most high, as we proclaim every Sunday when we sing the Gloria.   He is worthy of our complete allegiance. Yet, once again he shows that his Lordship is not only grand and majestic, but intimate and accessible. He is the king who identifies himself with each one of us, his subjects. In fact, he is present in every person.   “Whenever you did this to the least of my brothers and sisters you did it to me.”  His love is so total, so unabashed, so reckless, that it inserts his very self into every human heart. In a mysterious way: he dwells in each one of us. The revolution that this Lord,…this king…proclaims happens every time we act in accordance with this amazing truth…that every time we pour compassion upon the needy we are pouring compassion on Christ.

Christ is always the most generous of teachers.  In the gospel today he teaches that at the end of life we will all have to take a final exam, the only exam that really matters. Christ is the examiner, and in this passage he gives us ahead of time not only the questions on the exam, but also the answers.  How shall we be judged?  “Whenever you did this to these, the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it to me?”  AND “Whenever you did not do this to these, the least of my brothers and sisters, you did not do it to me.”  We will be judged not only for the good things we have done for those in need but also for when we have failed to help those in need.  In the end, all that will matter is what we have done for Christ and our neighbour.

We will not be ask how much money we made, how many awards we have won, how famous we have become, how many discoveries we made, how many achievements we accomplished, how much we enjoyed ourselves, or how many people we have working under us.


We will be asked one question: what did you do for me in your neighbour? Christ teaches us repeatedly in the gospels that the secret to happiness in this life and the life to come is self-giving, self-forgetful love, serving the spiritual and material needs of our brothers and sisters, through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ. Only self-giving, the mark of authentic love, counteracts the epidemic of self-centeredness, self-indulgence, and self-sufficiency;   only when we pour compassion on anyone in need will Christ the King, Christ the judge, pour the joy of his Kingdom into our hearts.


This scene of the Final Judgment can be seen as a dramatization of the central dogmatic truth of Christian morality as expressed unequivocally in the First Letter of St. John:

“If any one says,” I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20-21).This is strong coming from an apostle.  It becomes exponentially stronger coming from the mouth of Christ…God Himself at the critical moment of the supreme judgment.


“Lord when did we see you hungry, thirsty, naked, a stranger, sick or in prison.” Whenever you did this to these, the least of my brothers and sisters you did it to me.” In Christ’s assuming human nature God’s glory is to be found shining in the darkest places of humanity.  Fully God and Fully Man, In Jesus’ very existence, God in him is crying out:  I who am Being itself…am also the least of my brothers and sisters.

At the final Judgement our glorious king radically, graphically and realistically self-identifies with the destitute of this world.


We speak of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  And He is really present.  Jesus Christ, Fully God, fully man, fully present, Body, Mind, Soul and Divinity.  The gospel today is saying Christ, the divine King, in both the ordinary nakedness of the bread we receive in Holy Communion and the suffering nakedness of the needy will be a terrible judgment to those who deliberately blind themselves to His hidden presence;   in either…but; at the same time, it will be the source of unsurpassable joy to those who recognize and embrace it.  The vital nourishment of our souls in Holy Communion requires that we go forth from here to encounter with compassion our broken Lord out there.


You will recall I mentioned last week that Pope Benedict XVI reminded us in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love): “A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is intrinsically fragmented”


And also I mentioned in his message on the First World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis similarly reminded us:  “If we truly wish to encounter Christ, we have to touch his body in the suffering bodies of the poor, as a response to the sacramental communion bestowed in the Eucharist.”


The key message today is that Jesus equates salvation…our salvation itself…with whether or not we have actively sought out and welcomed with compassion the needy he has placed in our paths.  The demands of this gospel are very clear. This is not love in the abstract, having affection for “humanity.” It is caring for that person who is homeless, for that person who is ill, for that person who is in prison.  What is being said here is to ignore the cry of the needy is a tacit blasphemy against the mercy of God and the greatest of sins is to block God’s mercy from saving the world.


All human lack and need…the many forms which hunger, thirst, nakedness, alienation, sickness and imprisonment…All human lack and need…can be transfigured by compassion into a place where God can manifest his Glory.


Today, together with Blessed Miguel Pro we can cry out:  “Long live Christ the King”



The Chief medical Health Officer of Kingston has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
Please read and observe the six key principles outlined below.

1) The key principle is that we come to Mass to worship God. Out of justice and exercising the virtue of religion we must give God what is God’s due. That quite simply is worship, adoration and praise. Thus, the absolute essentials of Mass will be included so that the Sacramental praise of God will take place and we will be exposed to one another for as brief a time as possible.

2) The second key principle is that the health and safety of parishioners, staff and clergy here at St. Mary’s are essential and require our utmost concern and attention. Therefore, the dispensation from the obligation to come to Sunday Mass by Archbishop Mulhall continues to be in effect. Those who are sick, elderly or have other critical health concerns should not come at this time. However, that is left to your discretion. Should you make the choice to come, knowing the risks, you are most welcome.

3) The underlying principle of all of our restrictions in isolating, physically distancing, wearing masks etc. is the common good as we live out the Lord’s commission to “love one another.” We are to care for each other and at this time we are called to be as prudent and careful as we can to protect the health of everyone else and ourselves.
4) The principle for the next few weeks will be brevity. The received scientific wisdom is that the virus spreads within groups who spend a prolonged period of time together. Therefore, we will be reducing the Mass to the bare essentials.
5) Singing is considered more dangerous than speaking so you are asked to please not sing at all throughout the Mass. I will not be singing either.
6) If you have any sickness, are elderly or have a critical illness you should remain at home. The dispensation from the obligation to come to Mass continues through this time of 30% capacity. Of course, if you choose to come you will not be turned away. We will continue to live- stream the Masses until we are back to a more normal arrangement.

The Chief medical Health Officer has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
We will pray a shorter Penitential Rite.
The Gloria will be said not sung. There is to be no singing by the congregation during the Mass. Only by a cantor or as we have today a physically distanced choir in the choir loft…3 metres apart.
We will only have one reading followed by the Psalm
The second reading will be omitted.
The choir will sing the Alleluia on Sundays. During the week it will be omitted. Please do not join in.
The Gospel.
A very brief (3-4 minute) homily will follow.
The Creed will not be prayed.
There will be no petitions. Please prepare your own petitions and offer them in your heart during the Mass.
There will be no procession of the gifts.
There will be no regular collections at this time in the Masses. It will happen later. Ushers will be at the doors to receive your offering as you leave.
The Eucharistic Prayer will be prayed. This is the Most Important Part of the Mass.
The Our Father
Sign of Peace. This is a time when we won’t shake hands. Please do not wave to each other or give the two finger sign of peace. Neither of these reflect what is the intention here…You are recognizing the presence of God in the other person and praying they know God’s peace. The most appropriate gesture is a slight bow or nod of the head to the other person. You have seen me do this at the sign of peace to all of you at every Sunday Liturgy.
Please be seated.
Then the ushers will direct you to the place where you will receive Holy Communion. Please do not leave your pew until an usher has indicated you should do so.
Another usher will be close to the Communion Station to receive your Sunday Offering.
When it is your turn to receive Holy Communion. You will stand 6 feet away on the red line. The person distributing Holy Communion will say “The Body of Christ”. You will say “Amen”. Then move forward within arms length and receive the Host. Once you have received go straight out the nearest exit and make your Thanksgiving on your way home.
Aisles 1 & 5 will come forward to receive Holy Communion and leave by the side doors.
Aisles 2, 3 & 4 will go to the back to receive Holy Communion.
Aisle 2 will exit by the exit closest to the rectory.
Aisle 3 will exit out the centre door which you came in
Aisle 4 will exit out the door by the washrooms.
You are strongly encouraged to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Receiving on the tongue endangers the person giving Holy Communion and yourself, the person receiving Holy Communion. If you wish to insist on receiving on the tongue please wait until the very end as the person giving Holy Communion should sanitize their hands after each communicant. The usher will pass you by and will come back to you after everyone else has received. Please don’t leave your pew until that has taken place.