By: Rick Hernandez
During our latest family trip to Puerto Rico, we attended Mass in a humble building, the Chapel of our Lady of Mercy in San Juan. There, a Spaniard Passionist priest gifted us with one of the most amazing homilies I have ever listened to, celebrating the Feast of Christ the King. Amongst many other things, Father recited the following words:
“For you Lord have a crown that is not made of gold,
and neither are your vestments made of silk.
Your throne is the Cross,
and your castle is but the heart of man.”
And for me, these few words implanted a strong image of the majesty of our King, readily apparent for those who want to see.
Jesus himself said, “…my Kingdom does not belong to this world” (Jn 18:36). We know that His Kingdom is not based on earthly things, but… Is it just a Kingdom in Heaven? No. Father was emphatic that the Kingdom of Our Lord is here, right now, in our hearts, in our minds, in how we live and what we do.
We are called to replace the thorns of His Crown with our actions of love and compassion, to turn them into a crown of gold and jewels. We are called to tend to our brothers and sisters, the poor, to clothe them, to feed them, to care for them, thus turning His ripped linen garments into pure vestments of silk. We are called to sit at the foot of His throne, the Cross, and there receive the commission to go out into the world as apostles of Christ; commissioned to live our faith and to love others, to proclaim the Word of God by our actions, thus turning His wooden Cross into a golden throne.
We can see, that as the world tempts us to turn away from God, our hearts are to be the fortresses of the Kingdom, the strong outposts of the faith. When we stand firm in our belief, when we live the love we receive from our Lord, then we become His castles, His battlements, His outposts, the safe places for our brothers and sisters. The Mass becomes our place of gathering, our town-hall, where we are community. The Eucharist is then our sustainment, our bread and wine, the feast of the Lord where we are nourished. If we are willing to see, we are literally the Kingdom of God, here, now, loved by our King.
Oh, how Majestic a King you are my Lord! There in your Throne of Wood, with your Crown of Thorns, wearing your love, pouring out from your wounds! How can we serve you Lord? How can we learn to love the way you love us? Please, open our eyes to your World. Please increase our faith, hope and charity that we may be as you see us, your children and the princes and princesses of your Kingdom. Amen.
We are Ivonne Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.