But the Church in her Catechism teaches that “the true meaning of Christ’s kingdom is revealed only when he is raised high on the cross” (CCC, 440). For the cross is in truth the hour of his exaltation, the proclamation of the Kingdom – not one of power and domination, but a kingdom of love – a divine love that expresses itself in the Son of God’s intimate sharing in our human suffering and in the total gift of himself. In his Angelus Address for the Feast of Christ the King in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed that “the Cross is the ‘throne’ where he manifested his sublime kingship as a God of Love: by offering himself in expiation for the sin of the world, he defeated the ‘ruler of this world’ (Jn 12: 31) and established the Kingdom of God once and for all.”
Yet, while Christ already reigns, ‘all things of this world are not yet subjected to him’ (CCC, 680). We don’t have to look very far to know this to be true. Wherever there is hatred and injustice, the kingdom of God is not there. Whenever we find that human life is not respected – where there is poverty and hunger, abortion and the destruction of human embryos, wherever human rights are not upheld and people are exploited – we know that the kingdom of God has not yet fully come. In short, as long as there is sin, God’s kingdom is frustrated. That is why the first words of Jesus in his ministry are: ‘Repent – turn away from sin – for the kingdom of God is at hand’ (Mk 1:15).
Through our Baptism we have been turned away from sin, to share in the life of Christ, to share in our King’s victory over sin. It is our Christian duty to see that the divine life which God has given us is kept safe from the poison of sin, that the life of grace grow always stronger within us (cf. Rite of Baptism). Our recourse to the Sacrament of Penance and our participation in Christ’s loving sacrifice of the Cross through the Holy Eucharist, makes real Christ’s victory over sin and proclaims his kingdom present in our midst. “Christ already reigns through the Church” (CCC, 680), not as earthly power and privilege, but as the medium, the sacrament, of God’s love. The Church, as the sacrament of communion between God and humankind, through the grace of the Sacraments and works of charity, makes present the reign of Christ’s love.
The example of Blessed Miguel Pro is given to us as one who, by his Christ-like love, gave himself totally for the sake of the Kingdom. May we in our turn, by our loving fidelity to Christ and his Church, further his kingdom of justice, love and peace. May we allow Christ’s love to reign in our hearts, to overwhelm us, and flow out of us in love for God and neighbour.
Blessed Miguel Pro was born in Guadalupe, Mexico, in 1891. He was executed in 1927, and beatified by John Paul II as a martyr in 1988. His feast day is celebrated on November 23, the day of his execution.