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The Kingdom We Long For

The 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus mostly spoke about the Kingdom in parables, so I think when talking about the Kingdom of God it is always good to take a step back and ask ourselves what exactly we understand the Kingdom of God to be. In my mind the Kingdom of God is the original holiness that we were all created to take part in, the world of that original paradise that did not know sin. Jesus Christ came to us with that message of hope, that we would be set free from sin and death. And sure enough, by his Passion and Cross he has redeemed the world and won for us our salvation. Death no longer has power over us. The more we live as Christ showed us, the more we take up his meek and humble heart and walk in holiness, the more real and apparent the Kingdom of God becomes in our own time. That is what I understand the Kingdom of God to be, all of us with hearts completely converted to the happiness, the peace, the holiness that God planned for us in the beginning.

And so I would like to pull out for you two messages from the Scriptures that are worth keeping in our hearts as we seek that conversion. The first is sobering and serious, the second is encouraging.

First… St. Paul made it very clear what we all know: we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ and receive recompense according to whether we did good or evil. The Kingdom of God is paradise precisely because it is a world without sin. And each one of us should be eager to examine ourselves in large things and small and ask: have I done good? Is God pleased with what I offer Him? We all have a responsibility to go about this life in a way that builds the Kingdom and makes this life more like the life we await. And we should do so with desire! St. Paul also said that while we are at home in this world we would rather go to our true home in the Lord. How incredible if we had the courage he describes to long to stand before Christ in judgment. Like I said… these are serious things to consider, but we must consider them. We must choose whether we belong to this world or if we have set our sights on a grander vision of what life is supposed to be.

But what I have just told you will be misguided and misunderstood if you do not hear the rest, if you hear only about judgment and not the encouragement the precedes it. So second… for as much as we are responsible for building up the Kingdom, most of it will be built by the grace of God. In the first reading, God said that he would take the crest of a cedar tree and plant it on a high and lofty mountain, where it would grow to be majestic and tall. The height of a cedar is impressive, but God accomplishes far beyond that by putting it on a mountain. In the Gospel, the man scatters seed and he reaps the harvest, but it is God who turns the tiny seeds into large plants while the man sleeps. In other words, the grace of God will be with you to accomplish things that are beyond your power and even your imagination.

So choose to be holy. Long to be with the Lord and face your judgment. Do so knowing that if you are holy in small and little moments and God will change the world in wondrous ways you may never know.

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Homilies are meant to be heard, not read… and part of the Eucharistic liturgy, not words that stand alone. Please remember that no homily is written with this blog in mind.

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