From the Holy Gospel According To Saint Luke [Lk. 23:35-43]
The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God." Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself." Above him there was an inscription that read, "This is the King of the Jews."
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us."
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
A story goes: Once, the top Brass from the Army, Navy and Marines were in the Pentagon, arguing about which of them had the bravest Troops. They decided to settle the argument with a bet, involving an Enlisted Man from each Branch of the Service, to see which one had the most guts.
The Army General went first. He called an Army Private in and ordered him to climb to the top of the Pentagon flagpole while singing "The National Anthem." Then, at the top of the flagpole, salute and jump off. The Private responded with a simple "Yes, Sir!" and he immediately followed his orders, climbed the flagpole singing, and jumped from the top of the flagpole. An ambulance came and took the Army Private away.
The Navy Admiral and the Marine Commander were not impressed. The Navy Admiral ordered a Sailor to climb the flagpole while singing "Anchors Aweigh," to polish the brass knob at the top, to salute, and then to jump off. The Sailor said, "Aye-Aye, Sir," and followed the Admiral's orders to the letter. An ambulance came and took the Sailor away.
The Marine Commander just smiled and called a Marine Private over, and started screaming orders at him. The young Marine was ordered to climb to the top of the flagpole while singing “Semper Fidelis” – wearing full battle gear, with his pack filled with 300 pounds of bricks, with one arm tied behind his back, barefoot, blindfolded – and then, at the top of the pole, salute and jump off. The Marine Private remained standing there in front of his Commanding Officer. The Commander screamed into his face: ‟You got a problem with that, Marine?” The Marine Private looked the Commander right in the eyes, and said, "Sir: Yes, Sir! You must be out of your mind, Sir!"
The Marine Commander turned to the Army General and the Navy Admiral and said proudly, "Now, gentlemen, that is guts!" No ambulance was required.
To speak the truth, and to accept and to live what we know in our hearts is right and morally justified, is to follow Christ. To follow Him even when He is walking on His Way to the Cross. It requires guts.
In your life as a Roman Catholic so far:
✠ If you have never been criticized because you are a practicing Catholic;
✠ If you have never been humiliated or cursed at for standing up for the truth or
speaking out against immorality, sin or evil;
✠ If you have never experienced prejudice and bigotry, never been hated because of
your loyalty to Christ and His Church and His Church's Teachings;
Then, consider yourself very blessed to have been spared those ordeals.
Or admit to yourself that you are cowardly and ashamed to be publicly known as a follower of Christ.
Courage, humility, selflessness, and trust are demanded of those who would pledge their allegiance to and follow the example of Christ, our Crucified King!
Annually, on the 34th and final Sunday of the Church's Liturgical Year -- The Solemnity Of Our Lord Jesus Christ The King -- Our Crucified and Risen King issues challenges to us.
✠ He challenges us to prove to Him that we fully accept, and proclaim,
and live the Truths He has taught us in His Gospel.
✠ He challenges us to continue proclaiming or to start proclaiming the Truth about
God’s unwavering Love for all men and women.
✠ He challenges us to prove that we trust and live the Truth about the
never-failing Promise that good will triumph over evil, that light will
destroy the darkness.
✠ He challenges us to fully accept and proclaim the Truth by living the
moral teachings of our Catholic Faith – teachings which have remained
and will forever remain rock-solid, relevant, and true – long after trendy fads
and self-indulgences prove to be nothing but evil and empty lies.
IT TAKES GUTS, LOYALTY, AND TRUST TO FOLLOW CHRIST OUR KING.
And, yes, it is demanding and it is difficult.
But it is not impossible, as the thousands of Saints have proven over 2000 years!
Following our Crucified and Risen King is the only path that leads us beyond our times and our world ... to live forever in the timeless, infinite vision of the glory of God in Heaven!
We all say that we want that: That we want to enter Heaven and eternal joy.
We all request from Christ Our Crucified King what Saint Dismas, the Repentant Thief, requested from Him as they were dying on crosses:
"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
We all make that request.
But, while you are requesting that from Him,
do you have the guts to follow Him?
The guts to prove how much you desire to be with Him in Heaven?