Friday, November 27, 2009

In Belated Remembrance of Christ, the King

We have to remember that our concept of the Kingdom of God is, definitely, neither a concrete nor a political entity. It has this peculiar characteristic of being expected "to come into this world" yet "not of this world." As such, it is not at all to be expected to be understood by human terms of sovereignty. Pope Benedict XVI has already reiterated that the Kingdom of God is established not by coercive forces, its sovereignty and authority not maintained by subjugation but by the exemplary example and practices of virtue.

Thus, the Kingship of Christ is not at all a life of glory and dominance: in fact, the ultimate manifestation of the Kingship of Christ is in the symbol of human's perception of destruction and defeat: the Cross. Yet I remember those lines of Fr. Horacio de la Costa in his timeless piece The Two Standards (which I am pretty confident most of the "true-blue" Ateneans are aware of):

Christ ... invites all to fight under His Standard. But He offers no worldly allurement; only Himself. Only Jesus; only the Son of Man; born an outcast, raised in poverty, rejected as a teacher, betrayed by His friend, crucified as a criminal. But Jesus, the Son of Man, is also Jesus, the Son of God. And therefore His followers shall not be confounded forever; they are certain of ultimate victory; against them, the gates of Hell cannot prevail. The powers of darkness shall splinter before their splendid battalions. Battle-scarred but resplendent, they shall enter into glory with Christ, their king.

Thus is the challenge among us, we who have chosen to go through this life of pilgrimage within a world that has rejected God's call to value the things that remain when all else are ephemeral: FIDES, SPES ET CARITAS. It is that conviction that we must carry on with our lives, despite the persecution of a world too engrossed and blinded by its own constructs (as per Ecclesiastes 7:29: "Behold, only this have I found out: God made mankind straight, but men have had recourse to many calculations. "). We know we have a lot to fix when we see that those we have condemned to damnation due to being outside the Church are actually those who live out the teachings of Christ, and we who profess to be children of God are carried away by the allures and temptations of the world, no better than the Jews of old. I thus remember the poem Open Letter to Filipino Artists by an Atenean, then-leading Leftist cadre Emmanuel Lacaba:

We are tribeless and all tribes are ours.
We are homeless and all home are ours.
We are nameless and all names are ours.

The road less travelled by we've taken...
And that has made all the difference;
The barefoot army of the wilderness
We all should be in time.
Awakened the masses are messiah.
Here among workers and peasants
Our lost generation has found its true, its only home.

It was quite beautiful and nostalgic to remember, as Fr. Thomas Steinbugler, S.J. has mentioned in his homily at mass last Monday at the Gonzaga Chapel, that we commemorate the martyred Mexican Jesuit Fr. Miguel Pro at his death last November 23, 1927. When Fr. Pro was about to be executed, he shouted that defiant cry of VIVA CRISTO REY, affirming a lifetime of commitment to the faith, even to the bitter end.

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