Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The readings of this Sunday help us recognize the generous gifts we have been given and the responsibility we have to give them to others.
The first reading is from the book of the Prophet Isaiah often referred to as the Book of Comfort: “All you who are thirsty come to the water! You who have no money, come receive grain and eat; come without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk!” (Isaiah 55:1). The second reading, from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, tells us that no one and nothing can take this source of life from us: “What can separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or persecution, or nakedness, or famine or the sword?… Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-38). And from the gospel, Jesus, out of love and generosity, took five loaves and two fish and multiplied them to feed more than ten thousand people; “They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over-twelve baskets full” (Matthew 15:13-21).
The greatest happiness in God’s creation is given to us freely. But we have to come and drink, come and eat. The world and nobody will never satisfy our ultimate desire to fulfill our being. Only in Jesus we are able to find the goodness, beauty and truth we desire. So come to the Lord to eat our fill and to be satisfied.
Remember what Jesus commanded the disciples: “give the crowds some food yourselves” (Matthew 15:16). Here we recognize our responsibility to share our faith, our Christian life with others; to do so we need to be united with the Lord, the source of life. There is a Latin phrase: “You cannot give what you do not have.” We cannot provide to people what we don’t have. So come to water of the Lord, come to receive the bread of life from Jesus. God wants to give a gift that will satisfy us, a gift that will transform our life.
There are many people out there who might feel empty, hungry, and thirsty for truth and life. They need us, not only for material foods and drinks, but also something to satisfy their longing, that is the Presence of the Lord.
We do recognize our needs; and we also experience the needs of others. Let us go to the Lord, and he will give us the ability to provide. Come to the Eucharist, the source of life, to eat our fill, so that we can share the divine life we have received with our family, our children and friends. Come to the water! Come to the Lord! And we will be satisfied.
May God continue to bless and protect us!
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.