Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It was not easy for the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus. They must have been very confused. Actually, experience someone rising from the dead must have been very bewildering for everyone. However, Jesus appeared to them in different situations, to open their minds to understand what has happened. The disciples were indeed undergoing a learning process.
In today’s reading from Luke’s Gospel, Jesus appeared to the disciples when they were in the upper room. They were terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus said to them: “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet. It is me. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have” (Luke 24:38-39). Jesus then explained how the Scriptures reveal that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead; and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. He then added, “You are witnesses to these things” (Luke 24:48).
Yes, the Risen Lord Jesus is not a ghost. He is real. He is the Son of God becoming man, who died for us, but then rose from the dead. When the disciples saw Jesus, they did not see a ghost. They saw the risen Lord, Jesus. The Son of God has defeated the power of death. He is alive forever.
To celebrate Easter is to believe in the fact that Jesus has conquered the power of the devil, the evil one. If Jesus has triumphed over the power of evil why would people still be fearful of the forces of evil. The forces of evil suffered a devastating loss when Jesus out of love sacrificed himself on the cross. Here we need to remember that the forces of evil are not totally defeated. They are still trying to get into our lives. But they will never defeat the Lord, and they will never defeat us as long as we are united to the Lord.
People do need to know that Jesus is present for them also, not as a ghost, but as the real Risen Lord wanting to share His Life with them. And we are to bring that Good News to them. We are called to be “witnesses to these things.”
May God bless us all!
Christ the King Church was founded in 1940 to serve the African-American Catholics in High Point, and has since become a multi-ethnic parish celebrating both the diversity and unity of the Catholic faith and tradition. Then-Bishop Eugene F. McGuinness of Raleigh invited the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement of Graymoor, NY to staff the new mission in High Point in 1940. Father Bernardine Watson served as the first pastor, originally celebrating Mass in a funeral home. Through the generosity and perseverance of Father Watson and several benefactors, a clothing shop was acquired for use by the mission. While Mass continued to be celebrated there during much of 1941, the mission community members also turned their attention to building a new church and rectory on Kivett Drive. The new colonial-style church was dedicated by Bishop McGuinness Dec. 14, 1941.
During the 1940s and into the ’50s, the Christ the King parish community continued to grow. A school building and convent were built in 1949, and in 1950 the Franciscan Handmaids arrived from New York City to staff the school. The African-American communities, both Catholic and non-Catholic, of High Point, Thomasville and Greensboro were served by the new Christ the King School, which opened its doors to 50 students in September 1950. The friars continued their pastorate in High Point for the next several decades, cultivating a faith community that became continually more culturally diverse over time. A stained-glass window behind the church’s choir loft depicts that diversity, with Jesus surrounded by four individuals representing the African, Asian, European and Indian bloodlines that make up much of the parish community today.
Lowering enrollment, financial difficulties and the recalling of the sisters to New York forced Christ the King School to close in 1981. The diocesan office of education converted the school for use as a day care center, which began its operation in August 1981. That same year, Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement arrived at Christ the King Church to conduct the religious education program and other ministerial work, including assisting at the day care center. The center, still located on parish grounds, is now privately operated and continues to serve the area.
Upon the friars’ leaving High Point in 1991, Christ the King Church became a diocesan parish in December of that year. Fathers Martin Madison and John Hoover served the parish until December 1994, when Father Philip Kollithanath, was appointed to Christ the King Church. Assisting in the advancing growth of the Christ the King community have been many commissions and ministries focusing on the spiritual , educational, multicultural and evangelical dimensions of the parish. Parishioners gather to engage in Bible study , to learn English as a Second Language, to put their faith into action in the local community and to celebrate their ethnicity. A Hispanic center and bilingual religious education program provide sharing and learning opportunities for English and Spanish speaking parishioners, and the parish African-American Ministry offers outreach programs benefiting the local region. The Women’s Guild, Altar Guild, 55+ Club and Young & Spirited Group are active in parish and community services, and the evangelization commission provides for the spiritual needs of homebound parishioners through its Visitation Ministry. The community of Christ the King Church looks ahead to expansion and renovation projects that will accommodate the needs of a growing parish. One hundred and sixty-one households currently make up the parish registry.