Our Crucified King

During Lent and especially on Good Friday we are reminded that we adore a “Crucified King.” Even though He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He is mocked, tortured and finally crucified. He does not fit our image of what a king should be. And yet, the Church continually celebrates the Feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday of the liturgical year.

The feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 after World War I because the people had “thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives” and “these had no place in public affairs or in politics.” The Pope went on to claim “that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of the Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations.” Nearly a hundred years later, the situation isn’t very different today. We are still at war with our world. God seems to be edged out of the public and private lives of individuals. As Catholics, we are often at odds with our government and with the secular society.

This Carpenter from Nazareth declared to Pilate: “Yes, I am a king but my kingdom is not of this world.” In another place He said, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” He washed the feet of His disciples. Ultimately  He laid down His life for His subjects unlike our earthly rulers who compel their subjects to lay down their lives for them.

During the numerous funeral Masses that I have celebrated, I have sat through many eulogies – some of them brilliant, some of them moving and inspiring, and a few not very memorable. I always smile when the eulogist proudly asserts that the deceased lived their life on their own terms. To add punch to their assertion, the speaker would quote Sinatra and say that the deceased did it “My way!”

Unfortunately, the secret of wisdom, the key to true spiritual life and holiness, calls for the opposite. We can’t do it our way. We have to do it His way. In his masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, Dante paves the road to serenity with these words: “Your will is my peace!” It is in seeking our own will that we bring misery upon ourselves. To be our King’s true subjects, we must let His will be done and His Kingdom come into our lives. When He becomes the King and center of our hearts, then we will owe allegiance to Him alone.

As we look at our lives we should ask ourselves, “Who holds dominion over our minds and hearts? Who influences our judgments? Whose guidance do we seek in our day-to-day decisions and dilemmas?” For the first four centuries, thousands of Christians refused to submit to the demands of the Divine Cesar and preferred to lay down their lives in allegiance to Christ the King. For almost twelve centuries the Western nations sought to live their lives embracing the Christian vision of life. Even after the period of Renaissance and Enlightenment, people turned to philosophers and thinkers to guide them in their moral and personal lives. The Christian approach to life was dominant in people’s consciousness and in the minds of people in power. Let us not forget that our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian ideals and principles. Until the last fifty years or so, the dominant voices in our society belonged to the Church, the school system, the family, and the community. And these voices spoke more or less in unison as they reinforced similar values.

Today, the situation is totally different. Movie actors and actresses, singers and musicians, media talking heads, and fashion models have claimed the position of storytellers and guides. They tell us how to think, what to think about, how to live, and what ideals to strive for. They define how to succeed in this world and how to get there. They claim to know what it means to be a man or a woman. As they remain silent about what lies beyond this life, they ignore fundamental questions about our ultimate destiny. On our part, we have gifted our time and attention to mindless media channels and their power over us grows stronger by the day.

In order to accept Christ as our King, we must open the doors of our hearts and welcome Him completely into our lives. His sway over us cannot be contained within the one hour we spend in church on Sunday. His vision must permeate our everyday decisions and desires. His life and sacrifice must enlighten our path. Martin Sheen, who returned to His Catholic Faith in later years, said these significant words:

"Religion, if it’s real, can’t be a sometime thing. It can’t be a Sunday thing… Martin Luther King said the church is the place to go forth from. Even his fellow preachers said, “Hey, man, what are you doing in the streets?” He said we’ve got to take what we believe into the streets."

Let Jesus Christ be our King! Let us live our lives for Him Who laid down His life for us! Let Him be our guiding force and our ultimate concern! He will then be our eternal destiny and our final reward!

Mission Statement: As children of God, living in a Catholic community of faith, we are united by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Aware that all we have is gift and grace from our Heavenly Father, we strive to give of our time, talent and treasure to build His kingdom on earth. We live this mission, challenged by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments, and enlivened by the Spirit, to serve our brothers and sisters in peace, justice and dignity. All are welcome on this journey.

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St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068

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Phone: (847) 825-7605

Mass Schedule

Monday - Friday

8:30 am - Upper Church


4:30 pm (vigil) - Upper Church


7:30 am - Upper Church

9:00 am - Holy Family Chapel

9:30 am - Gym

10:30 am - Upper Church

12:00 pm - Gym