On the occasion of the Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov 21, 2010, Bishop Jesse E. Mercado, D.D., Bishop of Paranaque, shared this homily with all churches in his diocese. His message is very relevant to all the faithful so we reprint it here for you to savor and reflect on.
In 1925 Pope Pius XI instituted the Solemnity of Christ the King. The Great War of 1914-1917 had ended, and yet the gloom of what we now call the Second World War was already spreading. The Holy Father noted, “We saw men and nations cut off from God, stirring up strife and discord and hurrying along the road to ruin and death” because of a distorted nationalism – the glorification of one’s nation or race at the expense of others – and an absolute secularism – the glorification of this word at the expense of the world of God. Taking the forms of Nazism, Communism and Fascism, these horrible distortions of truth were slowly building a world without God – a humanity without God.
Today, we may not see so much of the clouds of world war, but we still see the gathering darkness of a world rejecting God: divorce, total population control, abortion, euthanasia, and the progressive repression of God-given freedoms. Without God, who will recoil from murder, including the killing of the unborn child? Without God, who will guarantee the freedom of speech, the freedom to profess and express one’s faith, the freedom of the press? Without God, who will affirm the ultimate horizon of human existence – eternal life?
In the Philippines today, what are we being tempted to do?
1. We are being tempted to blame widespread poverty on the proliferation of the poor.
2. We are being tempted to redefine what the family is, even presuming to dictate and “ideal family size”.
3. We are being tempted to believe that parents cannot adequately take care of their children and that therefore it is the government’s duty to take over the education of the next generation.
4. We are tempted to believe that God and religion have no place in public life, politics, business, education, etc.
What must we reaffirm?
1. We must reaffirm that we are poor because of the injustices and corruption that plague our society, not because we have too many children. Our children are God’s gifts to us. They are not just consumers, they are potential producers. They are the future of our country.
2. We must reaffirm that God made man male and female and that He bade them “go forth and multiply”. He did not intend divorce, same-sex marriage or homosexual unions and other contemporary distortions of God’s will for the human family.
3. We must reaffirm that it is the parents’ obligation, prerogative and right to educate their children. It is parents who should form their children’s consciences. No school, no government office, no NGO [non-governmental organization], no UN agency can take the place of parents.
4. We must reaffirm that in a society where God is progressively marginalized and ultimately denied, the ;poor become pawns, government becomes god, and freedom becomes a privilege granted to serfs by their masters instead of a God-given right with corresponding responsibility.
My brothers and sisters, do not presume that this cannot happen in the Philippines. If you read the various versions of the Reproductive Health Bill filed in the 15th Philippine Congress, you will realize that our natural respect for life, our traditional family values and the parents’ relationship with their children are being threatened. This is why we enjoin you to reject any form of the Reproductive Health Bill. Let us support, instead, House Bill 13 which provides for “the safety and protection of the unborn child”, and Senate Bill 2497, which seeks “to uphold the human rights and promote the welfare of the unborn child”.
On this Solemnity of Christ the King, let us renew our commitment as disciples of Jesus, people who walk the Way of Truth towards Life.
Despite any brainwashing to the contrary, it is by authentic witnessing to our Christian faith that we contribute to the stability, progress and development of our country. Pope Pius XI noted that the “manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives, that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: …as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ”.
When we say, “Christus vincit! [Christ conquers!]”, we profess that Christ has already overcome death in all its forms and won for us eternal life, which gives meaning to human life, life that begins in the womb. When we sing “Christus regnat! [Christ reigns!]”, we entrust the destiny of our nation to Him, not to our faltering wisdom nor to governments that can be controlled by corrupt people. When we sing “Christus imperat”, we renew our commitment to follow Jesus, who is the Truth that sets us free, free to live the life of God.
Let us stand up and reaffirm our faith in our Lord as together we sing and proclaim:
Jesse E. Mercado, D.D.
Bishop of Paranaque