• David Carlson

978: Only the Good Thief can rightfully shout out the grito, ¡Que Viva Christo Rey!

Day 978: Saturday, November 19, 2022

Only the Good Thief can rightfully shout out the grito,

¡Que Viva Christo Rey!



Gospel 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?

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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."


¡Que Viva Christo Rey!


This is our grito. This is what we shout on the Solemnity of Christ the King. This is what we shout when we remember the blood shed by the Cristerosin defense of the faith during the persecution of the Church in the time of President Porfirio Elias Calles in Mexico.

Today, let our voices be united with the grito of the Cristeros.


But before we shout out the grito, we must stop and reflect on our faith. We must ask ourselves about our commitments as Catholics living in a world that is blinded by greed and obsessed with violence. We must not shout the grito until first we are standing with Christ the King. So, I must ask you, Where is Christ the King enthroned?

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Where is the palace of our King? Where is his throne to be found in this world?

To answer this question, look at Luke’s account of Christ’s crucifixion. It begins with those who have power and high standing in this world. The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God."


This, of course, is irony. And Luke continues his story with irony. The soldiers who do the work of Rome’sEmpire humiliate Jesus as the “king of the Jews.” 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 the head of our Lord, was an inscription that read in Latin,

Iesus Nazari, Rex Iudeorum Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews



But the Good Thief overcomes the irony with faith and, in doing so, draws near to the throne of Christ the King. "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

The Good Thief looks on Christ hanging from the cross and recognizes what is a great truth of our faith: only on the cross do we see the King on his throne.


Not the rulers. Not the soldiers. Only the Good Thief can rightfully shout out the grito,

¡Que Viva Christo Rey!

Today, let us pray in solidarity with the people of the little pueblo of Cerocaui, in the State of Chihuahua. Cerocaui’s parish is made up, mostly, of indigenous people who are very poor.

Last June, the people buried two of their priests along with two laymen of the parish.

On 20 June, a man ran into the parish church begging the priests and a lay worker to hide him. The man was the owner of a small business and was being pursued by narcotraficantes (drug gang members). I suppose that the gang members were looking for protection-money. This man hoped that he would find sanctuary in his parish church.

He was terribly mistaken.



The narcotraficantes entered the church and killed them all: the two priests, the lay worker, and the poor soul begging for sanctuary. At the funeral, the bishop of the diocese and the Jesuit superior of the two murdered priests assured the people of the parish that more priests would be sent to continue the work of the priests who had been slain.


Like the Good Thief at Golgotha, in Cerocaui, the Church is drawing near to the throne of Christ the King. For Christ is being crucified there.



Here in Sonoma, most of us have come from Jalisco and Michoacán. Now, people are arriving from Chiapas and Guatemala. You already know the story of these new members of our community. What we call “NAFTA” here in the United States, has made it almost impossible for a man to feed his family by growing corn. The great corporations in places like Kansas and Nebraska, with subsidies from the United States government, have made the old life of the ranchos impossible for many. Now thousands of young people are faced with a terrifying choice: the drug gangs or emigration.


The teaching of the Church is clear: capitalism is not king. The economic system is a human creation, a reflection of our sinfulness. It is under God’s judgment and in need of Christ’s redemption.

Let us draw near the throne of Christ the King.

Like the new priests being sent to Cerocaui and their co-workers in the parish, let us commit ourselves to those who have been marginalized by the powerful and the violent.

Like the Good Thief in Luke’s Gospel, let us recognize that our King has been enthroned on a cross. Let us draw near to the throne of Christ the King, for if we do not, our grito will mean nothing.


Hold in your hearts all those who have been displaced by the violence of the narcotranficantes and by the violence of global capitalism. Hold in your hearts all those who seek sanctuary from the insane cruelty of this world, and then, at long last, join me in the grito of the Cristeros…

¡Que Viva Cristo Rey!

¡Que Viva Cristo Rey!

¡Que Viva Cristo Rey!

Reflection by Jim Fredericks



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