Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Today's formating is a little off  because of having to patch together
a number of weird websites for today's Martyr

St. Cristobal Magallanes Jara

St. Cristobal Magallanes Jara
St. Cristobal Magallanes Jara

Last year, the American Film ' For The Greater Glory' told the story
of a very troubled period in Mexican History, when the Church was
 persecuted rather openly. Not only was it illegal for any priests to perform \
their functions, but they could be arrested, and executed for doing so.  Fr Magallanes,
  portrayed in this move by the legendary Peter O'Toole, was one of the martyrs of the
persecution that ensued -as was an even more famous Miguel Pro (mentioned, but not
portrayed in this movie) who as he faced the firing squad, is reported to have yelled
 'Viva Christo Rey' (   Long live Christ the King)-. What makes these men stand out,
 was their perserverence. Especially in the case of St Cristobal, who was often forbidden
 to celebrate Mass and always found ways to do so.IN the end, the only way the radical
government could take action is to accuse the priests of inciting armed insurrection
 against the government. Ironically, after these executions, such an uprising did tak
e place, and would drag on for a few years until a peace was brokered  by the US
with the help of the Knights of Columbus.

The rational behind the governent's position was simple : " The Catholic
 Church in Mexico is a political movement, and must be eliminated in order 
to proceed with a Socialist 
government free of religious hypnotism which fools the people... within one year 
without the sacraments, the people will forget the faith" 

 The response of the Christo Rey was a expressed in this hymn: " 

The Virgin Mary is our protector and defender when we have to fear
She will vanquish all demons with a cry of "Long live Christ the King!" (x2)
Soldiers of Christ, let us follow this flag, for its cross points to the army of God
Let us follow the flag and declare, "Long live Christ the King!"

(Source Wikipedia)


In case it hasn't dawned on us yet, the readings today point 
to the fact that being a Christian is hard stuff. Never mind the long 
litany of martyrs for the faith that span 2000 years, never mind the 
complicated theology that has been developed over the centuries that keeps us on our toes...the fact, the raw truth about our faith, is that as servants of God, we must be 'prepared to suffer'. Jesus did it, not so that we wouldn't, but so that we could have strength and power through his own weakness and humility. That's what the reading from Sirach boils down to today.
  With that in mind, how are we to understand the Christo Rey uprisings? Should the rebels not have ' accept whatever evil was brought upon then' and suffer in silence? Did not France and England, two countries where the faith was also actively  persecuted, finally see a non violent victory of the faith in the 19th century -only to have that victory nullified as secularism has crept into both these cultures in the 20th and 21st century-? Should the Mexicans have turned the other cheek and done their best to preserve the faith underground -as happened in England during the anti catholic years of the 16th and 17th century and beyond.-? Perhaps, but they responded with righteous anger instead. It's one thing to say 'you're not allowed to celebrate Mass anymore'. It's  another to start shooting priests who are merely doing their duties as servants of God and accuse them of political activities.  The gut reaction of self preservation may have been justified, but it certainly was a very different response than the one that should be expected from our religion of peace.
 For the power that we experience, is experienced through humiliation.  Even the Apostles in today's readings have a bit of a power trip going on....and they are humbled...none of them is the greatest...but this one child, a kid who has no sense of ambitions, or lust for power, but just a genuine trust, and desire for God.
 We hear this theme echoed in the Psalm as well: Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.  In short, it is when we are humbled that we are made strong. It is when we are belittled that we are following God's path for us. Christ didn't turn away from his Calvary, and neither shall we. 
Nobody ever said being a Catholic was going to be easy!!

Sirach 2: 1 - 11

1My child, if you come forward to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for temptation.2Set your heart right and be steadfast, and do not be hasty in time of calamity.3Cleave to him and do not depart, that you may be honored at the end of your life.4Accept whatever is brought upon you, and in changes that humble you be patient.5For gold is tested in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.6Trust in him, and he will help you; make your ways straight, and hope in him.7You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy; and turn not aside, lest you fall.8You who fear the Lord, trust in him, and your reward will not fail;9you who fear the Lord, hope for good things, for everlasting joy and mercy.10Consider the ancient generations and see: who ever trusted in the Lord and was put to shame? Or who ever persevered in the fear of the Lord and was forsaken? Or who ever called upon him and was overlooked?11For the Lord is compassionate and merciful; he forgives sins and saves in time of affliction.

Psalms 37: 3 - 4, 18 - 19, 27 - 28, 39 - 40

3Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.4Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.18The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will abide for ever;19they are not put to shame in evil times, in the days of famine they have abundance.27Depart from evil, and do good; so shall you abide for ever.28For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. The righteous shall be preserved for ever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.39The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their refuge in the time of trouble.40The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in him. ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 9: 30 - 37

30They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he would not have any one know it;31for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he will rise."32But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask him.33And they came to Caper'na-um; and when he was in the house he asked them, "What were you discussing on the way?"34But they were silent; for on the way they had discussed with one another who was the greatest.35And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, "If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all."36And he took a child, and put him in the midst of them; and taking him in his arms, he said to them,37"Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me."

1 comment:

  1. excellent reflections- as a convert, Mary came to live in my heart while my head was still Protestant- talk about an inner reinactment of the war between religons- funny in hindsight, painful at the time