Friday, November 23, 2012

Memorial of Blessed Miguel Pro, priest and martyr

(Revelation 10:8-11; Luke 19:45-48)

Blessed Miguel Pro was executed eighty-five years ago today by the Mexican Army for a trumped up charge of conspiracy in an assassination attempt. He was a young Jesuit priest who had recently returned to his country after formation in Belgium. At the time Mexico was in the throes of religious persecution by the state of the Catholic Church. Fr. Pro had to administer the sacraments clandestinely until he was arrested and shot. He died with the refrain “Viva Cristo Rey” (Long live Christ the King) on his lips.

Christ the King, whose feast will be celebrated on Sunday, is the hope of Christians suffering religious persecution. They know that sooner or later Christ will triumph over religious bigotry, no matter the setbacks people of faith now experience. The reading from Revelation today hints of this victory. The sweetness that John, the author, tastes comes from his narrating the ultimate triumph of Jesus. The sourness in the stomach reflects the great suffering caused in the process.

Some are predicting religious persecution in the United States soon. The Church has certainly lost its credibility among many people. The Mexican experience of the last century should advise all that harassment and suppression are possible. But whether or not there will be persecution of the Church, Catholics look to Christ the King for assurance that truth and goodness will ultimately prevail.