Emmitsburg Council of Churches

"Divine Disguise"
Triumph through Seeming Tragedy

Father John J. Lombardi

Whenever we undergo suffering, trials or difficulties we creatures tend to: 1) complain; 2) forget the Creator; 3) say or think, "the grass is greener on the other side…"

On this Feast Christ the King we witness Jesus Christ, on the Cross, in St. Luke's Gospel, chapter. 23, seemingly undergoing defeat and humiliation. Thru His agonies, He does not complain, He does not abandon His role by fleeing to Heaven; and He does not forget His Heavenly Father.

Each year at this time we celebrate, before Advent-the beginning of the Liturgical Year-that Christ is King, no matter what. He is King of our Hearts; King of the world; King of Heaven and Earth-even if it doesn't seem like it. This Feast originally was instituted to remind rulers and peoples that, despite all worldly and political power, Jesus Christ is the sovereign ruler of nations. When we fail to recognize Jesus Christ as King-of our hearts, the world or our lives-let us be inspired by the following:

  • Blessed Miguel Pro -was a youthful Jesuit priest in Mexico City during the oppressive communist rule there in the early 1920's. He continually brought the sacraments to the faithful when he was not allowed, when he was attacked and when many Catholics were persecuted. He would disguise himself as a trash man, a milkman or "local," so believers could receive their King and Lord. He was eventually found out and killed/murdered by the communists…The King of Kings used Fr. Miguel to reign in wanting, desirous hearts.
  • "John"--a pilgrim to our Shrine last week-was walking up to the Grotto when he asked the overloaded Chaplain if he needed some help carrying some dangling items. The Chaplin responded yes, but that he didn't want to take away from his pilgrimage and prayer time. The pilgrim enthusiastically said his immediate "prayer" and "job" was to help serve the priest, and that he would get to his formal prayers later. The pilgrim then emptied some trash, and later helped in ushering at Mass and moving a heavy table. The pilgrim was so enthusiastic in greeting other pilgrims-"Happy thanksgiving!" and "Good morning, good to see you!"--the chaplain knew the King was reigning in His heart!
  • Mother Teresa of Calcutta, following an apparent "message" regarding St. Matthew's Gospel, ch. 25, where we read of the Lord Jesus' re-appearance in the poor, the sick and dying, this holy lady found Him, Jesus-just as He said- in lepers, in sick and rejected people in the slums of Calcutta. She believed the words of Jesus in the Bible and found Him where Jesus said to look! …Mother Teresa found the King amidst humiliating and disguising poverty and became holy in the process--how about you?

THE SEVEN SORROWS OF OUR BLESSED MOTHER: Devotion to the Sorrows of Mary has always been a favorite among Catholics. It has been sanctioned by the Church and introduced into the Missal and Breviary. In order to keep before our minds the inexpressible sufferings endured for us by the Mother of God while she lived here on earth with her Divine Son, the Church observes two feasts in honor of the Seven Dolors of Mary; one on the Friday before Good Friday and the other on September 15. 

The 7 Sorrows are: 

  • the Prophecy of Simon; 
  • Flight into Egypt; 
  • Loss of Jesus in the Temple; 
  • Meeting of Jesus and Mary on Way to Calvary; 
  • the Crucifixion; 
  • Jesus taken down from Cross; 
  • Burial of Jesus. 

Meditate on these Seven Sorrows and conform your heart to Mary's-and pray for all mothers!

THE SPIRITUAL LIFE: The Catholic Church encourages these "five S's" to become holy: 

  • Sacraments
  • Scripture reading
  • Silence (prayer)
  • Service, 
  • and Saints (imitation by reading)

Practice these frequently!

QUOTE of THE WEEK: "Man reaches the fullness of prayer not when he expresses himself but when he allows God to be fully present." Pope John Paul II.

Read other Sermons by Father John J. Lombardi